Yesterday, my husband asked me what my New Year’s resolution was going to be. He was pretty surprised when I told him I didn’t plan on making one. Statistically speaking, only 8% of people who take the time to make a New Year’s resolution actually end up keeping it, so I figured, “why bother?”
Still. I’m a big fan of personal improvement and fresh starts, so I’ve decided to make some social media resolutions for 2017. As a parent, I struggle to find that right balance for my teen with social media: too much social media feels like bad parenting, too little feels like I’m ruining my child’s social life.
It’s a tough balance to strike.
As a user of social media, I enjoy having instant access to information, news and gossip. And as someone who has relocated a lot and relies on social media to bridge the miles between visits, it’s addictive to watch friend’s children grow, change and celebrate milestones.
But social media can have its downsides too: it’s time consuming, it can be depressing, and sometimes (especially where breaking news is concerned) it can be a major distraction.
I view social media as both a gift and a curse. With this in mind, I want to become more mindful of its intended purpose in my life–as a tool to learn, share and maintain important connections across the miles. To that end, I’m resolving to incorporate three behaviors into my life to enhance my experience with social media in 2017.
3 Social Media Resolutions for 2017
1. Embrace quality over quanity.
I use different social media channels for different purposes. Twitter is my go-to channel for news. Instagram is where I shop and check to see what positive updates my friends are sharing. Facebook is where I go to hear friends rant (I don’t visit this channel as often).
But let’s face it: life as a mother, daughter and friend is hectic. And, social media channels change their algorithims so frequenty that it’s hard to keep up. Often the information I’m most interested in ends up at the bottom of my feed. I’ve found that by following a lot of people that I don’t know or don’t care about, I’m taking energy and effort from those I’m actually interested in engaging with.
This week, I’m going through my friends and follow lists and eliminating people and accounts that drain energy and attention from things I care about like cute babies, weekends at the cabin, and anything animal related!
2.Implement Device-Free Dinners
A few days ago we ate a dinner that took several hours to make. As I looked to my left and right, I saw, two people with phones in their hands. I too, had my phone at the table, beside my plate.
It seems, we are so busy, and so used to being connected, we’re sometimes forgetting to connect.
Apparently, I’m not alone in my conflict and confusion about what to do about technology at the table. Common Sense, an advocacy and education group for parents, conducted a survey and discovered that 35 percent of parents said they’d had an argument about using devices at the dinner table, and 47 percent said that they or a family member had recently taken a device with them to dinner. Citing these statistics, they launched a campaign challenging families to put the devices away at dinner, stay off their phones and talk to one another.
Common Sense has a pledge that you can take, and materials you can download in a toolkit. These material provide a simple starting point if you’re struggling to decide who technology and devices might be regulated during meals.
Last night, we had our first device-free dinner. To my surprise, the no-device policy was strictly enforced by our teenager, who not only policed us on the first day, but the second night as well. The person I anticipated the most resistance from has embraced the policy most vigorously.
It makes me wonder why I didn’t think of this idea sooner–and more empowered to try other things I worry will create conflict or chaos!
3. Learn from others.
Over the last few months, I’ve deveoped a deep passion for podcasts. One of my favorites (no surprise, I’m sure), is my BFF’s podcast. Available on iTunes, her weekly broadcast shares inspirational stories and encourages me to think bigger, dream harder and consider the journeys of others, as I navigate this crazy world.
I’ve also found a great online community of women who encourage and inspire me. Their intelligence, kindness and words of inspiration have encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone. They encourage me to think about issues that are important to me (like education) and consider what I might do to create actionable change in my community–and do something about it.
Having an online community of women who are truly interested in my passions and potential has encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and also try things that aren’t a “sure-thing”. My interactions with them are inspirational and I’m excited about what will continue to unfold because of them!
These three social media committments are exactly what I believe a New Year’s resolution should be: something that helps you become a better version of yourself. I’m looking forward to prioritizing people who are important in my feeds, connecting with my family at dinner–IRL and using the internet and its communities to support my personal and professional goals.
I’ll keep you in the loop as I resolve to improve!