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Intentional Social Media Use

Being intentional about your social media engagement does not mean giving it up.

I often see and hear about people, myself included, scrolling through some social media platform while watching TV or talking to a friend that is in person. Our brains are not meant to multi-task in that fashion. We can quickly switch our focus between tasks, so switching between the TV show and between whatever app you have open, but we can not pay attention to both at the same time. When we are switching out focus like that we miss out on the context to the information we are absorbing and we miss opportunities to challenge thoughts and feelings that develop in reaction to what we take in. If we are paying attention to our social media input, we give ourselves time to notice a feeling of jealousy, sadness, or anger that comes in reaction to a post or picture. If we are paying attention we can address that feeling in the then and there rather than letting that feeling linger all day. If we let it linger we may notice it later in the day, out of context, and mis-attribute it to another situation. When we notice it in real time we can use coping techniques, soothing techniques, or decide that is enough of being on FB, twitter, Instagram, etc.

Being intentional with your social media usage can also leads to being more productive at all the other things you are doing in your life. Your conversations with friends, family, and loved ones can become deeper and more meaningful as your devote your full attention to them. Homework and work tasks could be finished more efficiently without stopping to scrolling through your phone. Paying attention to one thing at time allows you to fully enjoy that activity more than only half enjoying a couple of activities at the same time.