• Arianna M.

Consuming social media - toxic or incredibly valuable?

Updated: May 3, 2020

Did I think social media was a waste of time?

Yes, I had my doubts.

But it's all about how we are using it.

Social media is a pot of gold right in front of our eyes.

We just have to take back the control of it and use it in our favour.

Social media impacts us.

One way or another, it does.

Some of us might resist acknowledging its impact on our individual as well as on the collective experience of the world. I know I was. I did not want to admit that social media is part of my everyday life because it felt like a waste of time > An addictive waste of time.

I reached a point when I was seeing too much content that did not interest me.

It seemed useless, and not worthy of my time.

At that point, I realised; I expect social platforms to curate my content for me when I can actually take the control of it myself. And, in fact, this is a big deal; I am actually able to customise the content I see everyday so that I stop seeing what does not interest me. It is up to me what content I want to consume as well what content I want to provide. When, how much and how. It does not control me, I control it. I choose who to follow, what I search for, with whom I engage with. There are many settings I can do to to make my social media feeds be as relevant and valuable as possible to me.

You don't want to see the content that somebody is posting, but you don't want to unfriend them... Why not mute them? Do you know it is also possible to stop seeing ads you don't want to? Check out my article about how to Customise your Facebook to filter out unwanted content. Keep posted for an article about how to customise your Instagram feed.

In the end, I realised that the impact that social media has in my life depends on the way that I choose to use it. Used in the right way and with the right intentions, social media is an immense source of value. Social media is an environment built by people like all of us. It's filled with user-generated content and that is a much more valuable source of information to me than being limited to the information in the mass media. Take the television as an example. When that was our only option, we would just turn on the TV, with almost no control of choosing what we want to see and how we want to spend that time of the day when we just want to sit back, relax and be lightly entertained. We did not have the choice to add an additional sense to our relax time and entertain ourselves purposefully, by watching or reading something specific that we want to learn something about. When it came to commercials, we would just watch what a brand would say about themselves but we had no idea what others users were experiencing choosing that brand. We had no other source of information to weigh and form our own attempt at opinion.

Social Media is a big go-to for finding inspiration, for discovering things you resonate with, for supporting your favourite artists or projects, even for learning. Ideas can spark from the content we see. Ideas that can even change your life. I have found new hobbies, new interests, new activities to do, new passions, new project ideas, all via inspiration I found via social platforms. By being open to see what I was not seeing before. By being more curious. By being more aware of the content that speaks to me. I simply had to limit the amount of unwanted content showing up in my news feeds and allow only the interesting information to come through.

I made a good part of my dreams happen, many thanks to information I found out through social media. Does not seem like a waste of time anymore. It seems like an open door for new possibilities, we just have to be there to open the right doors and exploring what's worthy to us. See what we were not seeing before. Giving ourselves access to this infinite pool of artists, writers, thinkers, designers, travellers and people we know personally whose content can spark new ideas for us, brings us new interesting perspective and boost our creativity.

This tool is part of my life and it can bring so much value if I only decide to use it in my favour. It can even be life-changing. For the good. There are no borders to what you can do these days and social media can be both the place where you get your inspiration, but also the place where you can get started and become the one to inspire others.

So, dear fellow social media consumer, remember you have a big chunk of the control of what you want to see. Social Media can be toxic if you let it, but incredibly valuable if you allow it and take back the control of it.

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