If you are anything like me, you have probably seen your phone data usage soar and battery life plummet since classes ended. Although I do read The New York Times and other online news outlets on my phone, I will guiltily admit that most of the time I spend on social media is soul-sucking, wasted time. The next time you are bored and reach for your phone or laptop to scroll, think about these more “productive” things you can do with your spare time and social media accounts.
1. Unfriend & Unfollow
Remember the old days when you could not go through a lunch period without someone bragging about the precisely 364 followers they had on Instagram? We all realize by now that it is about quality over quantity when it comes to friends, and it is time to fix the mistakes made by your eighth grade self. I do not mean to sound like your mom, but being careful about who can see your stuff (especially those pictures from last weekend’s party… yikes!) is never a bad thing. If I had a dollar for every time I thought “Who the hell is that?” when scrolling through my friends list during my freshman year of college social media purge, I would have had enough to pay for my chemistry textbook. And if you do not think that is a lot of friends or money, please ask a STEM major — oh, and bring a box of tissues.
2. Delete Embarrassment Before it Happens
Going off of #1, those of us who have had social media accounts since middle school probably have a lot of posts and pictures… many of which we do not even remember. Taking a brief glance through your “Pictures of Me” folder may save you from feeling blind-sided when a friend sends you a picture of yourself in all of your braces and acne, pink puffy dress-wearing, middle school dance glory.
This does not have to be a complete business-minded endeavor either. Looking through old photos can be a warming and nostalgic experience, just like flipping through a physical photo album.
3. Reconnect with Old Friends
After clearing out embarrassing posts and dwindling down your friends list, you may find yourself missing the company of old friends or just wondering how they are doing. Messenger functions of social media give a way to interact very casually with those who you do not feel close enough to text, but email is too formal. Commenting on their posts is also a way to remind them that you still want to keep in touch.
4. Let Teachers Know How You Are Doing
No matter what you are doing after high school, there is no way that you got there alone. High school teachers are always curious to see where their students have gone, and they can pass on your post-graduation wisdom to their current students. I would definitely let the teachers or coaches that wrote your recommendation letters know how you are doing, since they took time out of their day to help you (hopefully) get accepted to your dream school, or get the job you have. Some of my high school teachers were totally okay with "friending" their students once they graduated, but email may be the best or most appropriate way to get in touch with them.
5. Create a LinkedIn
Although LinkedIn is not the first place you think of when I say “social media,” it is a legitimate social media platform, specifically for professionals. If you do not know already, LinkedIn is pretty much an adults-only Facebook, but instead of “friends” you have a “network,” and your profile is equivalent to a resume. Potential employers scout the site, especially looking for college students for internships and job opportunities. It is never too late to start!
6. Create Your Own Blog or Photo Series
Fun fact: being “overly active” is one of the biggest reasons that people get "unfollowed" on social media. If you find yourself constantly having something to say, especially if you feel it is important, you should think about starting a blog (or maybe creating for the Odyssey!). Besides it being something to put on your resume, running a blog or your own website is definitely a cool adventure into independent writing. And although it has a bad reputation, anonymity on the internet can allow you to get whatever you want to say off of your chest without feeling judged. We have all been in a situation where we have wanted to say something but are worried our great-aunt (that we are obligated to be friends with) might be offended.
Starting a separate Instagram account or making a Pinterest can allow those of you who love photography to share your work without clogging up your personal accounts.