The year 2022 is here and with it comes the sweet promise of a fresh start. COVID-19 largely caught the entire world by surprise when it first entered the scene roughly two years ago, disrupting our daily routine with continuous shutdowns and widespread fear of infection. But despite the grim realities of post-corona society, our yearly need for reinvention and the undeniable utility of social media persists. So how can social media and self-improvement best conjoin for the new year?

Social media has become somewhat of a double-edged sword in recent times. Equal parts, impactful and destructive, the time we spend online may be more detrimental to our mental well-being than we first realize. Addictive, damaging, and toxic to the point that many experts call for a reevaluation of the time spent scrolling through carefully curated Instagram feeds, social media has undoubtedly transcended the moniker of mindless pastime and cemented its crucial role in modern society. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of what and how big of a part, social media plays in our daily life.

Despite its proven negative effects, it is obvious that social media is a valuable contender in the overall enhancement of our life quality. But like so many other things it requires hard work and determination to avoid the lure of common social media traps. Skillful use of social media has been deemed a great help in alleviating the stress of the still ongoing cycle of isolation we’ve all been witness to over the past few years. Revising our approach might be all we need to make social media a positive force in our lives. Below are five solid ways in which social media can be utilized to abide by your goal of self-improvement:

1. Find a community.

Not all new year’s resolutions are equally enjoyable. If you’re angling for weight loss or an undertaking of regular exercise you might feel discouraged by the initial lack of progress. This is where a community could prove itself vital. Much like how gym buddies can make even the most grueling of workouts more fun, social networks can make exercising alone better. So do take the time necessary to explore online communities that align with your interests.

2. Stay aware of what is going on in the world.

With our lives only getting busier, it is easy to miss out on important information now and again. Everyone’s going a mile a minute and the news is chockfull of sensationalized junk and fake news. So, if one of your resolutions for the new year is to stay on top of the tidings, finding and keeping up with reliable news sources is a decisive first step. One of the greatest downsides of social media is how everyone seems to have become an expert on issues they know next to nothing about, so remain vigilant.

3. Learn a new skill or pick up a new hobby.

Is there a specific skill you’ve always wanted to learn? Or have you perhaps developed an interest in something new? For most, the first stop is a quick google search. This way you’re far more likely to gain much-needed knowledge on the subject before you dive into the deep end and risk ruining the experience for yourself. Developing a new skill is a great thing, but it doesn’t always come easy to everyone. Go ahead and seek out those with more experience than yourself. Utilize the boundless resources of the online world to learn and grow.

4. Make new friends.

On the internet, there is something for almost everyone with unique or popular interests. This in turn spawns an endless number of interest-based communities and subcultures. So, if you need new friends this year, downloading an app or two to put yourself out there couldn’t hurt. Especially if you find one that is more fitting to your values and engrossments. Furthermore, you might even find yourself randomly stumbling upon a few interesting people on your journey towards self-fulfillment. Like in a weight loss forum or an online book club. And though it might not have been your intent to pick up a new friend. Don’t shy away from these opportunities.

5. Stick to the apps/platforms that bring you joy or insight.

Despite the usefulness of social media, one of your goals for this year could be to limit the amount of time you spend on your phone every day. Or at the very least, reprioritizing what applications you use and why. In that case, take a good hard look at the colorful widgets on your screen and remove those for which you have no longer have any use. This will surely help combat our oftentimes distractive need to switch between different apps. And you may be better able to refocus your energy on potential self-improvement and stress-management efforts. Social media and self-improvement can definitely co-exist in the new year, but moderation is key.

Social media is what you make of it at the end of the day. So don’t lose yourself to negative online habits and make our increasingly digital existence work to your benefit.

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An avid reader and freelance writer with a passion for intercultural communication and cultural analysis. A twenty-something social media newbie exploring the good, the bad and the ugly of the many platforms that make up our current worldview.