Using Social Media Responsibly

Social media is a fun tool and a great way to connect with friends, family and others across the world-when it’s in the best form. But, like anything, there are drawbacks to using social media that span from small things to serious (even reputation-damaging) ones.

As you prepare for life after high school, it’s important to be aware of some ways you can use social media more responsibly. Below are five tips for staying on top of your social media use.

Share Mindfully

In a world where you can share anything …

Your profile information-including your age, where you live, even who you’re friends with can all be used to find out even more information about you-information you may not have planned on sharing with the social world.

Make good use of the privacy settings available on most social media platforms. It’s also an option (and not the worst one!) on platforms like Instagram and TikTok to keep a profile entirely private.

Keep Your Emotions In Check

“The greatest remedy for anger is delay.” – Seneca

It’s easy in the moment to comment back to that post, retweet something you know you shouldn’t have, or post a photo that should have stayed in your camera roll. Of course, there’s always the option to go back and delete, but as we all know – the Internet is forever.

Once posted, what you’ve said or done can be found somehow, someway, in some corner of the Internet. All this to say, be sure to think through what you’re about to post before you do so. If you would be embarrassed for your parents or teachers or even a future employer to see it, it’s best to leave it out.

Be Selective About Who You Follow

Don’t feed the trolls.

Who you follow (and who you allow to follow you) are public – so this is something you should be mindful of. As mentioned previously, privacy settings allow you to keep your profile void of personal information that is visible to those you haven’t ‘friended.’

It’s also important to remember that a post is just that-a post. The beauty of social media is that there will soon be another post-and then another-and you get to choose what you engage with. Don’t be afraid to unfollow or mute conversations, people or posts that don’t make you feel good.

Turn Your Profile Into A Portfolio

Talk yourself up.

Oftentimes, social media profiles are used as the ‘highlight reel’ to depict the always-perfect Instagram-worthy lifestyle. We all know that’s not usually the case, but there is something to be said for mindfully sharing accomplishments to your social media profiles.

Earned an award? Scored the game-winning point? Volunteered at a local organization? These are all great things that would make any college recruiter (or future employer) happy to see.

Limit Screen Time

There’s more to see …

Not only can staring at a phone or computer screen be a strain on your eyes, but spending too much time on social media can be a real brain drain. Many phones track screen time and can even tell you what apps are taking up the most of your online activity.

Be mindful of how much time you’re spending on social media and the effect it may be having on your performance in school, work or even how it’s affecting your mood.