While social media may be the bearer of bad news nowadays, it still can be a beacon of hope for many people.
We have to remember that social media is not a news outlet for a pandemic. Before the current global crisis, everyone used social media to connect with friends, to share memes and indulge in every silly little thing that the internet has to offer. Many have lost sight of this and now only use platforms to view the number of positive Coronavirus cases around the world, or even share the news themselves.
City subreddits are riddled with daily posts on the rising number of cases and death tolls – making it seem like there isn’t anything else to talk about. Instagram and Twitter are full of two groups of people; the Coronavirus naysayers and the people who desperately plead others to practice social distancing.
But what did we all do before the Coronavirus outbreak? Right now, we can’t seem to imagine what life was like before we were asked to stay at home indefinitely. The memories of sharing funny cat videos on your group chat seem distant, as though they happened years ago even though it’s only been a matter of a few months.
How can you use social media now to lift spirits?
I’m happy to inform you that funny cat videos still do exist! YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime – these websites are still running and have a plethora of feel-good videos, TV shows and movies that we can consume. If there’s a specific genre you like, watch it. Watch something that you know will make you feel good and will help you ease your mind of all the stress. Binge watch that comedy show you’ve been meaning to. Re-watch The Office if you need to. You have to find a way to distract yourself from constantly reading negative news.
Most social media platforms have been around for many years. If you’ve been on these platforms since the beginning, chances are that your old photos and videos are still there – unless you’ve gone back and deleted them all. Now is truly the best time to relive old, good memories. We need to cling onto hope and happiness as much as we can so that we do not spiral.
Facebook is useful in this way for many people since we all eagerly made Facebook accounts at the age of 13. Go back and relive those memories with your friends and family. It will help you have positive thoughts amidst a global pandemic and may even help you cope with the stress. Social media was meant to help you be social. You are connected with people all over the world and a pandemic isn’t the only thing you need to talk about! Share music with your community. Ask for recommendations for new music for yourself to check out. Music itself is a universal language that appeals to the majority of people. Some use music as an escape as it helps them cope with stressful situations more than other entertainment. It’s a great time to explore different genres and become a part of newer communities.
Instagram is a great platform to share old memories with your friends, or maybe just to share your own animal videos. Now more than ever, people really do appreciate light-hearted videos that feature furry friends. You could make someone’s day just by posting a photo or video of your pet and you wouldn’t even be aware of it. The power of social media is truly underrated in that you never know whose life you could improve.
On Twitter, you’re able to mute certain words that you do not want to see. Doing this allows you to control the amount of Coronavirus news you see on a daily basis. Some users will use this feature to block out politics from their timeline, but it’s helpful to use this to block triggering information as well. How many words you choose to mute is ultimately your decision, but keep in mind that when you’re in control of how much negative news you come across, you are helping your own mental health reach a better place. No matter what, you will still hear about the daily figures, but if you control how often you see it, it will help you focus on more positive things.
You can use social media to help others in need. Many users will silently suffer because they believe that there’s worse things to happen. They invalidate their own feelings out of fear of judgment. I’ve found that when you try to be positive and share good stories yourself, it helps your followers and friends smile. Share encouraging words from time to time. Like John Krasinski, you too can share some good news with your community.
A few last words
Social media, in general, has a huge impact on mental health. It is a well-known fact for sure, but in times like these, it’s hard to stay positive. There’s only so much you can do when you’re confined to your home, but we have a powerful tool such as social media that can be used for good.
Control the media you consume and you can help yourself deal with stressful situations. Remember that the good news will always outweigh the bad and we’re lucky to live in the age of technology where we can always find the good in life.
Further reading: Psychology You Need to Know to Improve Your Social Media Engagement