Episode 59: How Social Media Has Changed the Lives of Millenials

In this episode of The Family Couch, we talk with Autumn Collier about social media and millenials, and how it has changed the societal aspect of their lives.

We jump right in and discuss what kind of concerns or symptoms Collier’s patients share with her regarding social media.  She often hears about the overall idea that the patient feels that everyone else is enjoying life but them. This often stems from seeing pictures people post from their best moments.  Individuals will wonder what is wrong with them or why their life isn’t “great.” Collier also provides that many patients share that they feel anxiety just from scrolling through on social media.  This is often still caused by comparison and feeling like you should be doing certain things as a result of what you see in others’ posts.

There are various levels of posting.  Where some people post only the positive highlight moments, others post the good, bad and ugly, which can be viewed as oversharing.  Collier feels that social media is addictive because it’s glamorous. It’s a nice distraction from real life, which people are often looking for.  Collier suggests posting the great things, but also maybe posting to discuss real-life events that are happening. Posts online are just a snapshot of someone’s life.  This is a small piece of who a person is, but we are often reduced down to just what we post online.

We next discuss what millennials can do to navigate social media when they need to use it for work.  Collier’s first suggestion is setting screen time limits and boundaries. You should not be on social media all day.  It can be as simple as checking in after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Collier will sometimes suggest to clients that they remove the app from their phone so that if they want to check, they have to go the extra step and do it on the computer.  She also suggest setting boundaries, such as putting the phone down when you have a human in front of you or when you’re at the dinner table. Social media cannot replace real-life relationships.

We change gears and talk about how millennials can navigate their social media presence in terms of what potential employers have access to when looking for job candidates.  Collier provides that some of her younger clients are more free with their posting. She has them contemplate how certain posts might be received by others. Collier will scroll through clients’ social media profiles to see their posts and find out more about them.  If you post something that isn’t that great, Collier reminds that people have a short memory. You may have to put yourself in a “time out” if this is an issue for you.

Collier provides that when she goes through clients’ past posts with them, they sometimes realize things about themselves, like that they were being impulsive at that time in their life.  She can help them identify patterns in their behavior. She may suggest a skill they need to interject before they post anything, whether it’s taking a time out, doing some deep breathing, or talking it out with someone.  If there is a conflict, you can try to actually resolve it with the person instead of posting about it. Things can be easily misinterpreted on social media, and there is a great amount of impulsivity online. People will often say things online that they would never say to a person’s face.  Collier advises sometimes just sitting with a feeling instead of reacting right away.

There are also great benefits of social media.  You can connect with people you haven’t spoken with in years, including maybe finding family members online.  Humor is another benefit that is fun. Collier also mentions the support that can be available through social media.

Collier provides tips for millenials to navigate social media in a healthy way for themselves.  She recommends being present in the moment and sitting with feelings. Social media is a distraction from what is really going on in your life.  If you are talking with someone, talk with that person. She also says to get back to reality and realize that even when you see someone’s glamorous posts, you understand that this person also has bad moments, too.  Collier hears people say that if they are in a public setting and start feeling anxious, they pull out their phone as a distraction or a way to not have to deal with anyone. These individuals are using this as a coping skill, but they are missing out on actual coping skills because of this distraction.  Collier feels that it is very important to make sure that we have relationships that are real. Real life is happening all around us, and we need to be more engaged in real life. Collier mentions that 80/20 rule that is often associated with our diets. She recommends using this rule for social interaction–aiming for 80% of interactions in-person and around 20% for social media.  If a person is getting distracted by their social media time, they are on it for hours with time just passing by, or they are starting to feel antsy because they feel they need it, they may need to reevaluate their social media time. To get back on track, Collier recommends understanding your own intent for being online.

We finally discuss what last tips Collier would share regarding social media for millennials.  She reminds that once you post something, it’s there. Also, less is more. She provides that if you expose too much, people lose their curiosity.  Share a little of this and that–no one needs to know your whole life and have access to you at all times. Collier provides a quote she likes, which is, “Don’t put too much stock in anyone’s praise or criticism.”  She recommends being intentional and purposeful with every post you write.



Autumn Collier is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and psychotherapist.  She has a private practice in Atlanta, GA, and primarily sees individuals in their 20’s and 30’s dealing with anxiety and depression.



WEBSITE: http://www.colliercounselingllc.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/colliercounselingllc/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/colliercounsel

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