Whether Snapchat, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter is your social media of choice, it's easy to come off conceited, angry, or just plain shallow. Compiled from Reader’s Digest, here's how to stay in line.
1. Don't over-selfie
With (super fun!) filters on Snapchat, you might pass time or kill boredom by taking quick shots with puppy ears or hearts around your noggin. While sending those funny photos to your friends that disappear within five seconds is probably okay, psychologist Sarah Schewitz, PsyD, says that if you're posting these me-and-only-me photos on Facebook or Twitter, you might give people the idea that you're full of yourself – which won’t go too well with say, future employers!
2. Your tone matters
It's not always easy to read between the thin lines of text on Facebook or to express how you really feel (with proper punctuation) in 140 characters. Because of this, commenting can be tricky, as you can inadvertently come across as snippy just by using a period instead of an exclamation mark.
One way to change your social media tone is to say it out loud first, before you type it out and make it public, "I have seen a trend of people being much more cruel and rude over social media than they ever would be in person. This can give us a view of someone that is not actually accurate," Schewitz notes.
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3. Take time to celebrate others
The biggest keyword in social media is "social"—meaning you should always make an effort to interact, and not just post ramblings or vacation photos.
If the only way you interact with other people is to "like" when they comment on your post or to get into arguments with content you don't agree with, psychologist Nikki Martinez urges people to make more of an effort to congratulate others or offer encouragement. "It is wonderful if you are someone ready to share in someone else's joy and good news, or offer a word of encouragement," she says.
4. Don't be a sad sack
Even if you're rockin' it at your job, in a loving, fulfilling relationship and your friend group is basically #goals, everyone has days where they feel like they're being rained on, with no umbrella in sight. But if you find yourself complaining, moaning, and using that hysterical emoji more often than you're posting about the good stuff in your life, you might be signaling to others that you're borderline depressed. A recent study shows that frequent Facebook updates could signify low self-esteem.
5. Say what you actually mean
One foolproof way to make sure you're sending the right message to your followers, friends, and fans is to be very direct about how you feel, what you think and what matters to you. This might be easier said than done, but as psychologist Yvonne Thomas explains, it's less likely someone will misinterpret if everything is easy to understand.
6. Try to only engage a few times a day
Keep yourself accountable for what you post by doing an audit of how much time you currently spend on social platforms. Because even if you're spreading "likes" and hearts, you can have too much of a good thing.
"Don't comment or post to the point that it takes over your life. Social media is a place to share and recount what you've been doing and how you've been feeling, rather than where it becomes your life," Thomas says. "So, choose to post or comment just two to three times per day so you have more time to be living Iife rather than reporting on it."
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7. You paint an inaccurate photo of your life
Just like you can't read your best friend's or your partner's mind (no matter how hard you try!), there's no way to know how someone is going to react to what you post. But one surefire way to make people roll their eyes (or maybe even chat about you to their co-workers) is if you paint your life to be perfect. Everyone has struggles, and it's often comforting to know your friends also had a bad day at work, got a speeding ticket, spilled coffee down their shirt, or didn't lose those last five pounds as planned.
"You are always posting the things you are doing right, the things that are being done for you, and all the ways your life is amazing. It's as if you are painting a picture of how wonderful you and your life are, when it is probably as average as the rest of ours. This is something that comes up a lot in therapy. People tell me how great everyone else is doing based on what they post on social media, and I have to explain they are only posting the good, and not the whole reality of their lives," Martinez says.
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