Today I woke up to an alarm on my phone that goes off every weekday morning. I got out of bed and, without a thought, opened the Facebook notifications I’d accumulated overnight. Before I made coffee or brushed my teeth, I had checked my email, Instagram, and Twitter.
This is what people mean when they say that our generation is always online. It’s not something we can avoid, really; technology is woven into our lives. The question, then, is not if we should use the online world that is so readily available to us. The question is how should we use it?
It’s funny, but some of the best advice I ever heard about social media came from a tweet. Essentially, the author who posted it wanted to give a general reminder that it is your choice whether or not social media will be life-giving or life-taking. After reading that tweet, I became friends with the unfollow button. Before you can see the good in the world that comes from technology, you need to be comfortable with removing the not-so-good. This means not only unfollowing negative or unnecessary pages, but also learning to log off once in awhile.
It’s easy to welcome distractions into our lives, but there are still a lot of important things happening outside of our phones. It’s important to learn the discipline of leaving your phone in another room or turning it off sometimes so that you can really focus. Whether you’re working in an office, studying in your dorm room, or spending time with your family, there are some things in life that are better accomplished without a newsfeed in front of you.
The most important thing, the thing that allows us to use the internet for good, is remembering that behind every Twitter handle or Instagram name is a person. The power of social media is its ability to bring together individuals who otherwise would never have shared the same space. That’s a privilege, and we should honor it by speaking life and spreading messages of hope online.
There are a lot of ways to do that, and a lot of great people are using social media to do great things. Artists and writers have opportunities like never before to share their gifts with the world. News sources make it possible to be aware of what’s going on in the world and how you can affect change. On Instagram and Facebook, people’s stories are being told that otherwise would never have seen the light of day. Organizations are posting positive messages and spreading the word about causes that make the world better.
You can do that too.
Send an encouraging message.
Follow a cause you care about.
Put your phone away and have an unplugged conversation.
Clear your newsfeeds of negativity.
Share a story that’s important to you.
Today, Do One Thing to make technology a power for good in your life and in the world.
I'm Alexa Jenkins, the Dot Social Media & Operations Intern!
I'll be sharing on the blog for the next few weeks about different areas of life where we can Do One Thing to make the world a better place.
I think that small things like who we follow on Instagram and where we buy our coffee can have a big impact, and I hope these posts are an encouraging reminder that your choices are important.