How to navigate social media with so much to choose from

How to navigate social media with so much to choose from
New social media app Threads released

Just as you thought social media platforms had all corners of the internet covered, along comes Threads, created by Facebook and Instagram owners Meta.

In what has been described as a rival to Twitter, Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg has already had over 10 million people signed up in the first few hours of launching.

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For some, it’s a matter of jumping in with both feet and navigating the waters from there. Others will sit back and take a little more cautious approach.

Either way, learning how to navigate the social media jungle using these few simple tips will be invaluable...

Take a social media detox

It’s easy to use social media compulsively and excessively. You can become so accustomed to scrolling through posts, laughing at videos and liking images that it can take over.

According to data found by audience insights platform GWI, 29 per cent of people across Britain use more than five social media apps, with 54 per cent of 16-24-year-olds doing the same.

“There has been a substantial surge in social media consumption over the past decade. What initially began as occasional Facebook ‘check-ins’ has now evolved into spending six to eight hours per day on various social media platforms such as TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and now, Threads,” said Marvin Winkelmann, the managing director of AFK Digital.

That’s why he says moderation is key.

“I strongly advocate for individuals to not only take periodic breaks from social media to rejuvenate their wellbeing but also to consider reducing their engagement before bedtime and during meals. By doing so, we can prioritise face-to-face interactions, which hold even greater significance than merely keeping up with the seemingly idealised virtual world.”

Practise the right social media etiquette

Winkelmann highlights that different platforms have different niches in terms of how people generally interact. “But a rule of thumb should always be to treat other users with respect.”

It’s also why Chris Hackett, the founder of Face Digital, an SEO advisory firm, believes we all need to learn the right social media etiquette, which dictates how people should behave around others online.

“Always be yourself,” he said. “Whether you’re using social media for personal or professional reasons, people connect with authenticity. This doesn’t mean you should be airing out your personal details, but you don’t have to hide behind an online persona.

“Be careful with what you say. It may feel like a safe space, but using social media to vent or voice controversial opinions can come back to haunt you in the future.

“And don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want an employer to see. Social media is, for the most part, public. Before you fire off that tweet, imagine a potential employer reading it and what they may think.”

Be careful of negativity

Hackett advised against getting into arguments on social media. “There are a lot of keyboard warriors around, and there is nothing to gain by arguing with them. If you don’t like something, scroll past it.”

Plus, some of the negativity on social media could have an impact on your mental health – which is why it’s important to look after yourself.

“Social media has become a constant figure in everyone’s lives, to the point where it can be detrimental to our mental health. The best way to deal with negativity is to take time away from toxic online environments,” said Hackett.

Winkelmann added: “It is crucial to acknowledge that social media platforms tend to accentuate negativity due to the provocative nature of negative content. People love to disagree and share their opinions online.

“As a result, the algorithms used by these platforms are designed to amplify such content. It is important for individuals to remain aware of this fact, bearing in mind that much of what is observed online is often an embellished representation of reality anyway.”

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