Social media is a convenient tool for bullies: anonymous, private – or public if it suits them. Users can personalize their feeds and ignore differing perspectives or critical conversation. Beautiful home decor photos, food blogs, and selfies contribute to overwhelming feelings of inadequacy. However, there is a healthier, happier way to navigate the [online] social sphere.
Positive thinking is extremely powerful. Sometimes internal musings are the only factors you can control in terms of your own happiness. If you exude positivity, you will attract positivity. If you visualize your wants and needs, you will have a more concrete outcome to work towards. Social media is actually a great tool for internal reflection, goal setting, and dream achieving.
I lust over a spotless home with natural light and delicate bouquets of peonies that the new family puppy somehow doesn’t disturb. I want my baked goods to crumble perfectly and effortlessly across a handmade ceramic platter. So, I set out to find little corners of beauty and peace and perfection in my own life that fit into a square frame. Then I post them on Instagram. My childhood home was always messy and chaotic, so it feels good to build a life of simple pleasures that I am proud to share with others.
The people, brands, and products we idolize detail our personalities. An artist notices something beautiful and calls attention to it, prolonging a stunning sunset or cozy moment of stillness. Instead of comparing yourself, describe yourself. Reflect on your own likes and dislikes. Use social media as a tool for self-discovery.
Kate Arends of Wit & Delight cites Pinterest as the digital reincarnation of the magazine collages of our youth. It’s a place to collect and catalogue ideas and images from various content producers, filtering out negative or unattractive (to you) ideas. Think of social media as another source of inspiration, not a rulebook. Platforms like Pinterest can help you organize your ambitions and envision an outcome that is personally satisfying.
Likes are nice, but as in real life, authenticity trumps cool. I’d much prefer validation from my high school best friend’s mom (or favorite local celebrity) to a sea of anonymous followers. Ignore mean comments and focus on the words of encouragement, just as you do in school or at work.
Conduct yourself online the way you would conduct yourself offline.
Sometimes it’s hard to be who I want to be, because of money or awkwardness or timing, but I have a little bit of room to edit when I’m alone, introspective, and… online.
To learn about Constructing Digital Images (in a positive, real-life environment!), sign up for local artist Mike Hazard’s workshop at WAM on October 23rd.