Best Practices for Communicating on Social Media

October 20, 2016

How many times have you heard someone say “technology is ruining communication?” The idea that technology could be communication’s kiss of death has sparked numerous debates. Opponents say technology and social media have made communication impersonal while supporters argue that a constant stream of information from their friends via cyber space keeps each other updated on their lives. Technology has indisputably changed the way we communicate and these changes are here to stay. So let’s talk about some best practices to make your time online purposeful.

 While a platform for creating and consuming media instantaneously like Twitter or Facebook can be efficient and useful, it can also hinder the communication it means to facilitate. It’s easy to become so comfortable with social media that the lines between meaningful and arbitrary connections on social media begin to blur. Remember social media is not meant to completely replace face-to-face communication, but to enhance it.

Evaluate how you use social media. Ask yourself how long you spend on each site, and what you are spending your time doing. Is the time spent helping you achieve your goals? If not, ask how you can change these behaviors. For instance, if you find yourself spending more time on Facebook connecting with people you would never meet in person, start directing that energy towards the connections you want to build or foster your meaningful relationships.

Social media can feed into a sense of self-importance for many users, causing them to fixate on their social reach (likes, comments etc.) and overshare private details. Some psychologists believe these tendencies lead to emotionally detached communication. Be mindful of what information you’re posting and how the information will be received by your readers. As a rule of thumb, private matters that only affect you and a handful of others are best handled offline or in a direct message.

In the technological age we have the entire world at our fingertips. This accessibility grants us the freedom to connect anytime and can streamline your productivity. The downside to this much accessibility? We are constantly connected to a screen. This type of overstimulation is tiring and doesn’t give your brain a chance to rest. In fact, constantly being plugged in can decrease one’s quality of communication simply because it’s impossible to be 100% on all of the time. Give your brain a break. Try making a conscious effort to unplug for an hour a day and shift your attention towards what’s happening in the physical world around you.

The internet and social media have become the place for personal communications, breaking news, and social revolutions because it’s a powerful tool that connects the world. But like all other tools, it relies on users to make it effective. Decide what you want to gain from the Internet/social media, and then make a game plan to help you achieve your goals and avoid the Internet’s black hole.