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How to stave off social media pitfalls.

The fact that we are in the digital age where information is gathered and shared in seconds across the globe cannot be embellished.  My generation grew up socializing in football pitches, cinema halls, village hang-outs and all. Not so with this generation. The advance of social media has heralded many opportunities and on the downside – as with anything else- brought with it its own pains. Social media is so ingrained in our daily lives that research studies have shown that participants checked their phones an average of 85 times each day and spent 5.05 hours per day using their smartphone. Studies have indicated an overwhelming majority check on their social media pages the first thing on waking up.  This is concerning because several studies and researchers have associated social media with several psychiatric disorders, including depressive symptoms, anxiety and low self-esteem.

Take it or leave it, social media is the in-thing of our age. You can disseminate important information in seconds to a wide audience without incurring a dime, you can meet new friends, start enduring relationships and yet engage others for business opportunities, meet and collaborate with others in focused interest groups, learn and be inspired from people with diverse cultural, religious and educational backgrounds.

On the flipside of the coin, social media has been known to cause addiction. More people and in dizzying proportions are spending the majority of their waking hours compulsively using social media, they are getting hooked, neglecting face-to-face interactions and other responsibilities. Internet addiction has negative effects on people’s health and well-being. Besides that, social media is driving people into personal insecurities, as we scroll through the pages we will find people posting glitzy lifestyles; their home, travels, relationships and outlook. You may feel that your own life pales in comparison to theirs. This causes stress and insecurities especially to the youths. Exposing one’s personal life to the public can be injurious to physical securities, frauds and blackmail as well.

Some of the tips you can use to keep you top of your game in the unmerciful arena full of predators are;-

  1. Cultivating strong authentic value and belief system as a human being. Values such as truthfulness and honesty will ensure that trolls will have no space for blackmail. Common decency and respect for self and others will leave little room for vile, malicious and denigrating comments.

  2. Being a responsible net citizen behooves us to ensure that we can defend what we post. Before you post something ensure its factual, worthy, informative, objective and inoffensive. Many employers nowadays are resulting to social media to determine the suitability of potential employees. Woe to the one that is careless in his engagements.

  3. Be intentional. As a rule of thumb if you want to create a brand you have to know what you to sell to make capital of it. So identify the product –be it yourself or a service – and run with it. In this way you will not be swayed by information over load and other influences on social media. Even at a personal level one you have to be intentional of the information you want to consume; positive, scandalous, knowledgeable, and etcetera.

  4. Be vigilant of suspicious requests and pop-up adverts. Harmless as they maybe at the outset they could lay grounds for extortion and privacy infringement. If you have to post private and personal details in public on social media be seized of the dangers that come with it.

  5. Schedule and limit your time on social media. Allocate sometime during the day for your engagements. Social media is known for inordinate time wastage resulting to unproductiveness.  Without proper time slots, one be easily be carried away by posts of interest. Create time slots and adhere to it.

    To a happy and fruitful social media interactions.

By Murithi MAGIRI

Lead IT consultant at Magtech Solutions,
Email: magtech@magtech.co.ke

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