Social Media you vs IRL you: My thoughts on online self-care.

I believe my attitudes to online self-care can be summed as such: I practice self care online simply by watching my online consumption habits and remaining critical of information presented to me through online platforms.

As I have touched on in previous blogs, my own self care started with a conscious effort to have influence from as many circles on the internet as possible. After the Trump election and with the universal discussion regarding filter bubbles emerging, I decided to change my social media timelines to include conversation from both sides. I was frustrated with their standing as my feeds consisted mainly of liberal media sources which I find are still more accessible, frequent, and popular. The result was a change in attitudes towards my online consumption as I effectively practiced online self-care after becoming frustrated in having a one-sided view.

I don’t consider myself a typical social media user. I don’t post frequently and when I do I feel it is almost parody. I try as best as I can when I post to make the post an event, something that has occurred to me, or just a cool picture. I understand the idea of the glamorous picture social media paints of our lives and when I post I usually and step back and say look .. is this something I would share with a close friend? Is it authentic and is it coming from a genuine place in myself? Those are typically my criteria for a post and is another way in which I believe I practice online self care.

So far I've discussed how managing my influences and creating posts are aspects where I've practiced online self care, but I believe the most important thing regarding online self-care refers to how I interact with others posts. Again, a step-back approach is what is most effective for me. I ask questions in regards to others posts. Is this something they would share with me personally? Am I being included in this online post or excluded? Do I feel part of the person’s social media influences or not? If the answers are negative, an unfollow or delete is perhaps warranted.

Sharing on social media is relatively easy, discussing person-to-person the same thing you posted on social media can be much more difficult for people. Even when sharing with friends, there’s a sense of anonymity to posting online in general. I find attitudes towards a person’s own individual post are often diluted in nature. If you are to mention someone’s facebook post to them there’s almost a standoffish nature to the conversation. “Oh, that was just a facebook post” why are you talking to me “irl” about it? Often times, it feels as though people have molded two separate worlds and identities for themselves to exist in. What they share online and what they share in person are separate entities. To practice online self-care, unblurring these lines of social media vs the real world is an incredibly effective step to online self-care.

Perhaps I should consider my stance unique, but I don’t. In a world like social media that is jammed with information and interaction, it can be said that no two people experience social alike. With that in mind, no two people can practice online self-care alike. It is about recognizing your attitudes, shifting them towards a healthier norm and continuing to practice online self-care. I hope I've shared how online self-care has worked effectively for me.

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