Managing your social media is an important skill in the world we now live in. The easiest way to look well, crazy is to manage it badly.
No-one ever gets it right all of the time, not even politicians. Managing your social media can be like trying to navigate a pathway through Donald Trump’s phone records with the Russians – overwhelming, confusing and full of duplicities, and possibly even lies. But how do you pick which is which?
And by the way, Trump claims to be managing his own social media accounts, and given the debacle he is making of them a lot of the time, it seems he hasn’t yet got it right either.
Being a blogger and former journalist, social media is the most popular topic I find myself being asked about at dinner parties everywhere from Chelsea, to Santiago, The South Of France or Sydney. Everyone has an inner fear of social media and of looking bad.
See it for what it is: Firstly recognise your social media platforms are actually an extension of your own thoughts and ego. A study about Facebook (by Mehdizadeh in Poland), showed that both narcissism and low self-esteem are related to greater Facebook use. In other words people at both end of the psychological scale gravitate to it to feel better about themselves.
You can easily see this if you think about someone who is obsessed with working out and loves their body – click on their instagram, and there will be images of themselves flexing, in a swimsuit and so on. When people have babies it’s even more pronounced, let alone dogs, new partners and so on. So don’t kid yourself, social media makes you MORE transparent than ever.
Don’t EVER shut down your account. Whenever a friend is going through a crisis, they jump on the phone and ask me if they should shut down their facebook or instagram account invariably siting it’s “too much.” My advice is always – don’t.
A much better approach is to delete the app off your phone, and stay off social media yourself, but there is no need to be dramatic and shut it down. You might as well wear a t-shirt saying “I am feeling vunerable and out of control of my own feelings” as that is the message you are sending. No-one needs to know that. Just take a quite step back by disengaging from it all. Much like any detox, it might be hard initially but it wont be long before you are comfortable living without it – for now.
Filter the personal stuff you put on any social media. I never think it is a good idea to put your new car, or house you are selling on you personal social media accounts. Many people will perceive it as showing off, and it makes people aware of your financial status, which is never a good idea, particularly if you are single.
Make sure your posts are balanced and reflect a lot of different elements of your life. Again, it just makes good sense. So if you’e just bought a new dog, sure, some images are fine, but unless you have opened the dog their own account, keep things balanced and have other images from your there too.
Why have a private instagram or snapchat? Unless you are Victoria Beckham and genuinely need privacy, don’t have a private account. It can make you look insecure and unsure of yourself. If you don’t want people to see you on social media, don’t open an account. If you do have accounts, make them and keep them public and do not flip between private and public as this sends one clear message; UNSTABLE.
Don’t Drink & Post: It is important to limit the times of day you post. I never recommend posting after 10pm at night, as often you’ve had a few drinks, or you’re out partying and your judgement will not be its usual balanced self. It sounds obvious but at midnight whilst attending the party of your life on a rooftop in London in the height of summer, all of this rational flies quickly out of the window. Wait until the morning.
Limit the number of images of yourself with a glass of alcohol in your hand. This is just good common sense. No-one looks good with a succession of champagne shots time after time on Facebook.
Limit the number of selfies you post: The results from several studies into narcissim and selfies are mixed. A study as far back as 2008 published in Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin found in general, people are pretty good at detecting narcissists from their social media profiles. Don’t accidentally be one of them.
Don’t block people unless it is absolutely critical, and think it through before you do.
Blocking someone is a pretty major thing to do, and in most cases, it hurts the other person. If it is an ex-partner, that is possibly the only reason to do it, other than harassment from someone, but don’t rush into it.
My rule after a break up is to wait at least 7 days after breaking up, preferably 14 days. Just give it all some breathing space. For friends you’ve fallen out with? It is unnecessary and mean to block them and it will inevitably have repercussions on you you have not yet thought about. There are so many ways on Facebook especially to limit your views of that person’s feed. The bottom line here is when you block someone, you look like the problem, not them.
When you have a crisis of any kind, do not allude to it on social media, and if you do wait until you are truly on top of it and have accepted what is happening so that your posts are then balanced.
No nudity: You’d think this would be obvious, but everyone has down days, and more often than not, if it happens when you’re on holidays and in a bikini, you could be tempted to put an image of your great butt in that new g-string bikini. Don’t! Stay classy, and stay balanced.
Remember everyone can see social media – your boss, your mum, your cousins, your children if you have them. And once that image is in cyberspace, it is there forever, so take care.