No matter how stressful or tiresome social media is to many of us, we just can’t seem to break the habit.

There are plenty of people who have deleted their social media accounts only to come crawling back to the precious source of headaches mixed with some news and entertainment. Some people find deciding what to post anxiety-inducing. Often our self-consciousness kicks in, and we worry: “What are people going to think of this?”

Social media is a platform where we can share and talk about our interests. We can spread our favorite songs, films and books. We can repost important breaking news to keep others informed. We can reconnect with a friend or family member we haven’t spoken with in years. Or we can add people we’re friends with now who we won’t see as often in the future because they or you are graduating.

There’s much offered by social media sites, yet they’ve caught a bad rap. Mainly because good can’t exist without bad, and places like Twitter truly offer the good, the bad and the ugly.

Because social media is a reliable source of information about the world and our friends, it’s alluring.

How else are you going to receive that information without actually checking the sites?

So, throughout the day, at any moment, we’re doing just that. Often times, we aren’t even enjoying ourselves. For every minute spent on Facebook, there is 10 seconds of head shaking left to right. A main purpose of the site is for people to stay connected. Although, Twitter is infinitely better for keeping up with what’s happening both while it’s happening and after it’s happened.

Picture and video based sites like Snapchat and Instagram aren’t safe from these issues either. In fact, they present new problems. What we see of other people’s lives through images can very easily cause us to question our own.

Quite often, I think people are trying to sell others on their happiness. If they were really having such a great time, why would they practically make a documentary out of it on their Snapchat?

If you find something cool or interesting, share it. If you just want to prove something or seem cool, then remind yourself how trivial that is. Stop trying to act like something you’re not in an attempt to impress others. In the end, you won’t be happy and social media will be a chore to you. Your postings should simply reflect your character and interests.

Now, onto the most intolerable part of social media — fellow users. You see, anyone can say anything without putting very much thought into it. The phrase “Think before you speak” isn’t usually considered by most Twitter and Facebook users. People love firing away any old half-thought that crosses their mind.

Exercising the unfollow and block buttons is one solution but has repercussions. Electing not to see the thoughts and opinions of everyone creates a false reality where you see only what you want to see.

Because we get to choose who we follow, we may end up with different facts. We can actually create a constant supply of thoughts and statements from others who agree with everything we believe in, further reinforcing our values.

It’s exhausting just discussing the perils that come attached with social media, let alone dealing with them on a daily basis, as many of us do. Though unfortunately for many of us, social media is a source of valuable information and satisfaction that also has almost unavoidable consequences.

Social media is still fairly new and has room to improve. Whether these issues persist is really up to how we view ourselves and how we behave and interact with one another. Don’t be so self-conscious about posting what you personally care about. And don’t be so quick to post before thinking.

Email Steve Levy at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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