Social media is the enemy of motivation, right? I mean, that’s what everybody keeps saying. It’s become a bit of a knee-jerk reaction really. Just like they say computer games are bad for you. And when that happens warning bells should start ringing.
For as Mark Twain reputedly said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority it’s time to pause and reflect.” He’s right. For one thing, computer games can be quite good for you. And so, perhaps social media can be used as a source of motivation?
You might as well remove the question mark. Because it can. And here’s how.
You can connect with your niche
In the days before social media if you have a particular interest that was a little off the beaten track – say quilting by moonlight or listening only to the third album of every artist – then it was going to be hard for you to find people in your vicinity who shared that passion. Social media has changed that. It’s easy to reach out and find people who share our views and to share our ideas with them.
And in that way, it offers the slightly strange and kooky among us (I included) an opportunity to find people like us, who share our interests and make us feel welcome despite our need to lunar quilt. Often all we’re looking for is acceptance. Without it we feel lonely – and that is immensely unhealthy for us. With it we feel loved – and that is incredibly motivating.
You can connect with your Network when you need to
Your mother was right. If you hang with a bad crowd you’re going to end up being bad. That’s just how it is. If you hang with a good crowd, however, then they can be immensely helpful in supporting you, keeping you going and – yes, there’s that word – motivating you.
It’s not the fault of your social media what crowd you have on there. That’s something you have to determine. And we all know we have to avoid the bad people. So, make certain that you throw off those people in your social network that are negative, distract you, or tempt you into doing what you shouldn’t do and embrace those people who give you good advice and post useful resources.
Because if you can make sure your social media network is loaded with good people, then it can be immensely beneficial. It can even be better than having people physically around you, in fact. Because your social media network doesn’t go out of town, visiting other countries, or go fishing. It is there wherever you go.
You can find information you otherwise wouldn’t have
Don’t like searching for articles, reading every newspaper, or scanning all the health sites for the latest findings? If you have the right social media you don’t need to. Being attached to the right groups is like having a thousand extra eyes looking out for information for you. And the thing is, some of them are bound to like doing that searching (and getting the kudos they do for finding something meaningful).
In this way, social media can keep you in the loop and well informed about the latest findings in whatever area you work in. And having your curiosity constantly satisfied and tweaked by your social network is something that is immensely motivating.
They can support you when times are dark
You have your ups, you have your down. That’s life. The thing is, our down are much less likely to be severe when we have people around us that can support us, help us and offer us guidance. And often that’s exactly what we need when we’ve just hit one of the life’s speed bumps – people who are there for us and ready to help us.
In that way social media doesn’t just motivate us and keep us going, it also protects us from ending up demotivated and depressed. And sometimes that’s just as valuable. In fact, often it is even more so.
They are full of inspirational stories
One of the great ways that social media helps us is by providing us with stories that get under out skin and make us appreciate our life, our ambition, and our friends. In fact, there is no better tool that I can think of for spreading inspirational quotes, ideas, stories, and articles than social media.
Feeling a little bit down? Then all you need to do is go onto social media for an hour and read the stories about other people and other lives. Within no time you’ll find some person who you can emulate, or who has things worse than you, or who awakens your empathy. And with that in your head and heart, you can once again find the energy to keep going.
You can get answers to your questions
Sometimes when you’re working on a project, you need to find something out and despite several tries at Google, you just can’t get the bots there to understand what it is you’re looking for. That can be immensely frustrating as you either have to find a way around this impasse, which might require you to redo a whole chunk of what you’re working on. Or you’ve got to find some other way to get the information.
Social media can most certainly help with the latter. Human intelligence still outstrips that of bots and so if you ask your question there, people will often be able to give you the information you need and away by the impasse.
In fact, quite often people will volunteer information that you didn’t even know was out there and you can turn what you were doing something good into something great, just by making little tweaks. That wasn’t possible before social media and that can be immensely motivating.
You can post your goals
Making your goals public is a fantastic way to make it more likely that you’ll live up to them, as now you’re using not just your own desire to accomplish your goals, but also your own embarrassment if you don’t succeed as motivation to get them done.
And since we all have negative emotions, why not use them to push us to do something positive?
So publicize your goals on social media and discuss them with your friends. You might get motivated in your private life you might get motivated at work. Heck, you might even end up inspiring other people to pursue their own goals and end up thanking you for it. And there is probably no better way to become motivated than to feel that you’re an inspiration to other people.
You can use it to recharge
And finally, it can help you keep going by distracting you. What did I just say? Yes, I just said that distractions are good for motivations. Don’t listen to people that tell you otherwise. The reason is simple. We’re not machines. We all need to allow our brains to drift off topic occasionally so that our batteries can recharge.
In this way, the research has shown, our mental stamina lasts a great deal longer. And that means that at the end of the day we’ll have gotten more done, will still have energy left to stay active in our private life and aren’t at a constant risk of burnout.
Nobody can stay on target for 24 hours a day, despite what they may tell you. Sometimes you have to drift off topic in order to be able to remain on topic for longer. Only in that way can you get through the day.
So ignore that majority and their hissing at social media and how it’s dumbing down society. Social media is a tool and just like any other tool, it can be used for good and for bad. It’s just a matter of how you use it. You can use it keep yourself from doing what you’re supposed to, or you can use to motivate yourself to accomplish even more.
The choice is yours.
Janet Anthony is a blogger from Kansas city who has been writing professionally for five years now. She mostly writes about digital marketing, SEO, blogging, and social media. Her motto is “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows”. Find Janet here: twitter, facebook, LinkedIn.