May 18th, 2024

2021 social media resolutions

By Lethbridge Herald Opinion on December 31, 2020.

Some 4,000 years ago, the ancient Babylonians were the first to make New Year’s resolutions, though, for them, the year began in mid-March when crops were planted. Being someone who doesn’t mess with tradition, I’ve made a few New Year’s resolutions regarding my social media. So you can hold me accountable, I’m sharing them with you.
1. I’ll be giving out more praise and love. 
Unfortunately, much of social media has become toxic – engagement has become tricky. However, you can’t go wrong by giving praise, a sincere thank you, posting appreciation for providing excellent service, or a simple shoutout. Throughout 2021 I’ll be using my social media to add more much-needed love to the world.
2. I’ll stop checking my social media before bed and upon waking up. 
For the good of my mental health – and my insomnia – I’ll stop checking my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram before calling it a day. It’s unhealthy falling asleep to people arguing and tweets evangelizing the latest conspiracy theory. In 2021, instead of stressing myself out at night, I’ll be putting down my phone at least two hours before climbing into bed. 
Come morning, I’ll stop my habit of automatically reaching for my phone when my alarm goes off. I tell myself I’m catching up on current events but is it healthy to start my day stressing about the world’s state, much of which I can’t do anything about? In 2021 I’ll be starting my days drinking warm water with lemon while reciting all I have to be grateful for. Then I’ll do a series of stretches, followed by eating a healthy breakfast BEFORE “maybe” picking up my phone. Whatever wrongs throughout the world people are pointing out can wait.  
3. I’ll stop obsessively checking my posts for number of views and likes.
Ahh, to be loved in the moment – to have approval from strangers – that’s social media’s dopamine. In 2021, I shall post and move on. You’ll notice none of my resolutions have “social media metrics,” such as number of followers, number of retweets or likes. Using numbers to gauge your social media success often leads to narcissism, which I don’t want. Of course, there’ll be the times I’ll post what I deem is a quality meme, and I’ll be curious to see how much love it generated. 
4. I’ll ease up on long posts.
Nobody willingly watches an entire two-minute video of a wind-up chattering teeth or reads a 325-word rant on Facebook that bagels in Toronto are a crime (I grew up in Montreal.). In 2021 I’ll keep in mind: Social media is designed to get to the message faster.
5. I’ll be taking breaks.
Social media being “24×7” or “always open” now dominates pretty much every aspect of our life. This is creating a mental state known as FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), which induces stress. Throughout 2021, whenever I feel it’s necessary, I’ll be stepping back to take mental health breaks – a form of digital detox.
6. I’ll stop wasting time watching YouTube compilations.
This one will be tough. Who doesn’t find it relaxing watching 35 minutes of stupid stunts compilations? I get a few laughs watching a four-minute clip of George Carlin’s routine on airlines and flying. I’ve lost count of how many times I try to get the gist of a movie by watching four to five clips of a movie while telling myself I’m saving time by not watching the two-hour movie.
YouTube has become my time management Achilles heel – in 2021, this needs to stop.
7. I’ll be using less emojis.
I’m addicted to emojis – there I said it. Emojis are easy to use. They efficiently convey an emotion (heart, smiley face, thumbs up). However, some emojis can mean different things to different people. The clown emoji is probably funny to most people. Yet, it can be creepy to anyone who still has nightmares of Stephen King’s “It.”
2021 will see me using emojis sparingly. For the most part, I’ll be communicating textually.
Will I, who lives and breathes social media, be able to follow through with these New Year’s resolutions? It’s possible. I know it won’t happen overnight. After all, Babylon wasn’t built in a day.
Nick Kossovan is the Social Media Co-ordinator for 5n2, a non-profit organization serving over 1,500 free and healthy meals every week throughout Toronto’s east end. You can follow Nick on Instagram and Twitter @NKossovan.

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