Instagram feeds – those treasure troves of personal photo galleries, sumptuous meals on Greek islands, sunsets over tropical seas. These images may be moments of others lives but they are certainly not a reflection of our daily lives. Our Instagram feeds can say more about our selves than we realise. Being mindful of how we present our selves — and creating a more authentic portrayal of ourselves online can make a feel more content, more aligned with our public and private persona.
I think of my blog and my social media platforms as a form of digital scrapbooking. We are not likely to put photographs into a photo album that we do not like.
Some simple tips and suggestions;
Use it as inspiration
A lot of my posts become similar to an idea board. I am provided with an opportunity to explore ideas, designs that I like. I view them as a way of self-exploration. I feel it is important that I keep abreast of my industry so while I do this I share photos, designers, typography that provide a source of inspiration for me.
Create feeds with an application such as Feedly, control the content that you receive. Actively seek content that inspires you, like a sunrise in your neighbourhood or stunning nature photos. The content that inspires you is certainly going to inspire others to share it.
Use it to boost your self-image
Posting images of yourself at your best can have a positive psychological effect on your mood. Most people (normally narcissistic) will take a selfie because they really like something about themselves. For me, it is photos with my dog Toby, or me or my Wife doing sport or achieving something. They allow us document and record our lives. Think of your posts as a gratitude journal, “What are those things that I am grateful for?” Now, post them.
Use it as a map for the future
The things that we are reading on social media can be things we should incorporate into our lives. I am drawn to images of Iceland and Norway and nature. This may mean that I go on holiday to these places or start to watch documentaries on them. It may be a clue that I need to get out into nature more often.
Use it as motivation
Sometimes when we look at other peoples social media it makes a feel inadequate, “How come I do not have a life like that?” If I see something online that you wish you were doing then use it as a catalyst for action. Write it down as a goal, work towards making it happen. Plan a holiday, learn a new skill, see an exhibit. The envy that you may feel could be replaced with more constructive and positive emotions.
Use if to reinforce positive emotions
Make sure that whatever social media platform you are visiting — whether it is Facebook, Twitter or Instagram — you are visiting a positive and aspirational environment. What motivates one person may depress another. If you are having financial issues it is probably best not to visit all the wonderful holiday posts your friends are creating.
It is important to remember that social media life’s most fulfilling and happiest moments occur away from the screen.
Simon is a Sydney based digital designer. He is the Director of a boutique digital design studio, Bailey Street Design located in the vibrant inner west suburb of Newtown. Simon studied graphic design at Shillington College and specialises in web design for small and medium size businesses. Simon and his team (Toby the studio dog) are passionate about visual communication in the digital environment