Threads – a welcome relief or added stress?

Instagram’s rival to Twitter launched this week. My initial thought was “Do we need it?” It can easily feel like another distraction for us but might some good come out of it?  After being on it for about 24 hours, I’m noticing:

The positives

  • Quick & simple – It’s practically all done for you in terms of starting the account as all the information from your instagram account is pulled over in seconds – so it’s quick and simple to start.

  • Authenticity– A lot of people are appearing to show up more authentically on the app. A lot of Instagram and Tiktok experts are happy to state that they don’t know what they are doing in terms of how to use the app and are happy to learn as they go – I love this message of being present without being perfect and taking a step away from polished Instagram profiles.

  • Real connection – So far connection seems more important than expert knowledge sharing. It is as though users are ready to be seen and see each other as they are. It’s almost as though people needed this.
  • It’s refreshing – A lot of people are referring to it as having the first day at school vibe – not the anxious one, the excited one. It feels like a refreshing way to communicate, creating an enjoyable space to connect.

It is however early days and inevitably there will be drawbacks…So here are some other things to think about:

The potential drawbacks

  • Self-doubt – Is it simply another thing we have to do. Increased discussions about social media platforms can lead to FOMO. Jumping onto yet another social media app because we feel like we should can divide attention and focus further and lead to exhaustion and burnout. Another social pressure that can easily fuel self-doubt and self-criticism and easily lead to not good-enough narratives through  comparison to peers.
  • Lack of likes – Another app that might depend on likes! Conversations on the app are fragmented so it can be harder to follow the main topic and keep track of responses. It is easy for people to miss posts and the lack of attention from others can further confirm negative beliefs about self-worth. Another platform we are not good enough on!
  • Info overload – Scrolling and scanning multiple written posts and digesting that information can feel overwhelming. Sifting through posts can feel more effortful than fun. Time spent on the app can feel numbing if we are not careful.
  • Loneliness – Watching others communicate and form relationships or engage in light banter can feel isolating and exacerbate feelings of loneliness. Friendships are brought over from instagram but it’s easy to perceive these as new relationships showing how easily people can bond. 

So what can we do about it?

  • Do you want to be there? Think about whether you even want to be on the app – just because it exists does NOT mean you have to be there. A word of warning – apparently deleting the app also deletes your Instagram profile so if you want to step away from it after checking it out, deactivation rather than deletion may be the way forward…make sure you know before you do anything!
  • Who thinks like you? If you decide the app is not for you, it might be worth reading some posts from like-minded people – it’s always good to know you are not alone in how you think. I’m sure there will be plenty of people sharing their distain of Threads on twitter.
  • Why are you there? Why you are using it and how do you want to show up there. Are you just curious? Do you feel like you should be there? Is there a part of you feeling like you need to keep up with what everyone is doing? Is this another business promoting exercise? Perhaps you’re just on it for fun…whatever your reason be clear about your why to help you pull yourself back into place if you find yourself getting side tracked.
  • Set clear intentions and time limits: Before logging in, set a clear intention for your social media use. Ask yourself why you’re using it, what you hope to gain from the experience and how long you roughly intend to be there. Avoiding mindless scrolling helps build your sense of control.
  • Curate your feed: Be mindful of who you follow and the content you consume. Follow accounts that inspire and uplift you and unfollow or mute those that bring negativity or cause stress. You can follow Dr Kaur at @Drkaurtherapy for reflective posts. Or not! The chose is yours. Enhance your  social media experience by setting boundaries.
  • Practice self-awareness: Be aware of how social media affects your emotions and mental state. Notice any negative emotions or comparison traps that arise while scrolling through your feed. If you find yourself feeling down or anxious, take a break and engage in activities that make you feel good! You might want to reflect on what the trigger is related to.
  • Engage consciously: When you post or comment, do so with intention. Engaging mindfully will foster more meaningful interactions and connections.
  • Be mindful of comparisons: social media often portrays curated and idealized versions of people’s lives. Remember that what you see is only a glimpse, and it may not reflect the full reality. Avoid comparing yourself to others and focus on your own journey and personal growth.
  • Practice awareness: this is just another social media feed and not one that must lead to feelings of lack. No matter how authentic people seem, most people will still be curating an image of themselves as we all function with certain personas. Be aware of that no matter how someone presents, you won’t really know how they feel or what they think.

If this platform or any other social media platform has been making you aware of how you feel less-than or inadequate you may benefit from taking some time away to focus more on your, your interests, your values, social connections and your mindfulness.

If, however you are noticing that you keep being triggered on social media and you are not sure how to work through it, you may want to talk to someone. You can work with Dr Kaur or her team to work through how you feel. Just get in touch here.  Remember to take time to think about how the activities you spend time on make you feel. 

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Dr Gurpreet Kaur, Chartered Clinical Psychologist & EMDR Practitioner

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