By Isabelle Laureta
“I don’t check Facebook anymore,” one of my friends told me recently. It’s because over the past few months, it has seemed like most of what people post on our newsfeed just adds to our stress, instead of relieving it. Much has been said about what not to do on social media, but nothing seems to control whatever it is that’s going on, so I’m trying a new approach. Here are things we should do more of to make our online experience a little bit more bearable.
- Compliment your friends
Or, in social media terms, “pusuan mo.” A wise man once said, “Open your mouth only if what you’re about to say is more beautiful than silence.” If you see a post about something you don’t like, leave it. But if you see a friend post a cute selfie, tell them how beautiful they are in the comments. See a funny status? Hit the “Haha” button and validate your friend’s sense of humor—you never know how much they need it. Spot a friend’s beautiful artwork? Tell them how extremely talented you think they are. It only takes that much to make someone’s day a little bit better. Last week, a person I look up to commented on one of my works and said, “I really love how smart, funny, and sharp your work has been.” It was amazing how that simple gesture made my entire week.
- Make friends
After all, isn’t the primary purpose of social media to connect you to people? The great thing about social media is that it allows you to explore and surround yourself with people who inspire you and share your interests. Your social media feed is only as good as you allow it to be. So instead of trying to debunk a person’s status update, why don’t you discuss your favorite movie with someone who posted about it? Instead of wasting your energy trying to take down a page that doesn’t share your own perception of truth, why not reconnect with high school friends you haven’t talked to in a while?
If you really can’t stand looking at posts you don’t like, don’t go into the dark side and start an online war—that’ll bring you into a downward spiral of pointless name-calling where nobody’s willing to back down. I know I said to make friends in the previous item, but you know what they say, inhale the good sh*t, exhale the bad. See that unfollow button on the profile of your social media “enemies”? Click that instead and save yourselves some unnecessary drama.
- Be smart about what you share
Social media is a mixed bag of practically anything relatable in the world. The universe, rather. But that doesn’t mean you should share anything and everything you see. Before you hit share on that “Top 5 Names Ng Magaganda,” think about what it would contribute to your online presence. Before sharing that “100k likes, 100k shares” posts, think about whether you’re doing a good thing, or just tolerating a freeloader. What you want to share, instead, is posts that would simply make people feel good, amazed, or well-informed. Like a really cute video of a cat, a hilarious meme, a useful infographic, or a really brilliant think piece.
- Create a positive environment
My Psychology professor, who’s also one of the best mentors I’ve had in college strongly, believes in the law of attraction. No, that’s not the law about how badly you want to hold your crush’s face. It’s a law that says “like attracts like.” So if you’re pessimistic and think of only negative things, then most likely, only bad things will happen to you.
And so, the more you focus on positive thoughts, the more you share positive things, and the more you practically create a positive online presence, then the more likely for positive things to find their way to you and the more bearable your social media experience will be. So go ahead, share that beautiful sunset, that pretty flower you saw this morning, or that funny anecdote you found on your way to work. For the past few days, Metro Manila’s sky at dusk has been really beautiful—gradients of purples, pinks, oranges, and blues made up the late afternoon sky. I’m in the province but its beauty and the positivity it created reached me. How? Well, that just goes to show how social media can still be used as a powerful good vibes factory. So let’s.