Achieving Zen in the Social Media World

I was recently curious about any guidelines for posting status updates in today’s social media world.

In particular, the use of #hashtags. But also, posting with mindfulness and sincerity.

I came upon this one Mashable article, An Unofficial Guide for #ThrowbackThursday Etiquette.

Another area of posting in the Social Media World is the concept of the Humblebrag, defined below…

Humblebrag: An ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.Oxford Dictionary

And with these couple of things in mind, I wanted to convey my personal thoughts on being mindful in a social media driven society:

  • Personal Intent: It’s important to address your personal intent whenever posting a status update. Where is your post coming from? Are you bragging about something you’re proud of? Are you aware that your post might actually bring about negative feelings in others?
  • Posting Frequency: I confess, I’ve been guilty of this one, but only because, in my excitement to share a bit of myself online, I get carried away and post a bit much. Especially on News Feeds and your Timeline on Facebook, being aware that you might be posting too much of yourself is something to analyze and reconsider. Basically, don’t post too much so that you don’t inundate others’ News Feeds with your updates, so much so that they become another form of SPAM.
  • Quality Over Quantity: This might go hand-in-hand with posting frequency, but it’s important to post quality content to your followers. For instance, posting that you’re going to eat breakfast right now (or any other mundane activity) could turn people off. They don’t want to know your every move, and quite possibly, you shouldn’t give away your every move. But if you are going to post something about breakfast then share a photo of your meal. Tell us a story about why this activity is meaningful.
  • Humbleshare Instead of Humblebrag: I think I may have been guilty of this without entirely being aware of it. But, that is the point… Awareness about what you say online and how it will affect others. No one likes a bragger, and those who humblebrag are actually proud or wish to brag, yet they try to mask it. The problem is, people tend to see right through that. So, don’t underestimate the intelligence of your readership. Don’t brag, and be sincere when you post something.
  • Don’t Just Post The Good Stuff: I noticed that a lot of people only post the good aspects of their lives, which can create an illusion that all is well and nothing can go wrong. In other words, people just want to look good. The fact is, our lives are less than perfect and we are not telling the whole story. And thinking in a more mindful, compassionate way, it can make others feel that their lives are inadequate and less meaningful. I just think that it’s important to keep this in mind. Social media allows us to not tell the whole story, to only post the good things happening in our lives which sends a not-so-accurate account to others. Absolutely no one has a perfect life in which nothing goes wrong. It’s just important to be aware of that and what you’re posting to the social media world. It ultimately becomes a mask where the truth is hidden. If you’re going to share your Life on social media, then one should share the good as well as the bad.
  • Cultivate the Storyteller Within: The power of social media is that we all become writers in a sense. We become storytellers. And we should use this to our advantage. Give what you are about to post some serious thought. In other words, social media gives us a potential Zen moment. Becoming a true storyteller who captivates an audience while send a thought provoking message would be a nice goal to achieve. This sort of covers the quality over quantity aspect, but actually goes further. How much are you actually thinking through what you are about to say. Many of us are implusive and post things off the tops of our heads, so to speak. The challenge is to impart some wisdom to others, to share a meaningful message that isn’t self-serving. To be more responsible with the content that you share.
  • Be Of Service To Others: And ultimately, whatever you post should educate, instill positive feelings, inspire or help others in some way. Why do you post what you post if it doesn’t connect to your audience? It goes back to being mindful about what you post, but also has to do with being selfless. How will your status update come across to your readers? In essence, we need to put ourselves in their position as someone coming across your status update.
  • Respect Yourself and Your Privacy: And finally, we live in a world in which we have less privacy. In other words, privacy is becoming a rare and valued commodity. Our own personal privacy is very important, and we should respect it by not throwing ever detail of our lives on to social media. We don’t really have to post anything about ourselves… we can remain more elusive and mysterious. In a book by Carlos Castaneda, there was something called “erasing personal history”. In a world in which social media has made our lives so open and public, perhaps we should start erasing our personal history instead. Something to think about…

More Social Media Etiquette.



Carlos Rull

Carlos Rull is a musician living in the San Diego area. His interests include Yoga, Eastern Philosophy, Zen Buddhism, and Gardening. He plays drums, piano, and composes New Age & Ambient music, and his albums are available on iTunes and

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