5 Hacks for Cyberspace Expression and Self-Esteem

Making the internet a positive place to be.

GenZ friends posting on social media.

(PeopleImages.com - Yuri A / Shutterstock.com)

Until 2022, when footballer Lionel Messi broke the record by posting about his World Cup win, the Instagram post with the most number of likes worldwide was held by the account @world_record_egg. Reuters reports that the account posted a photo of a simple brown egg on a white background. That post managed to receive more than 60 million upvotes from users around the world, marking it the “most-liked Instagram post” from 2019 until 2022.

 And, while it might seem strange that this little egg could hold such a big record, this type of whimsical and simple content accurately reflects the taste of young social media users. GenZ, the generation born between 1997 and 2012 came of age during the era of the internet. These users are now forging a new and more positive online landscape, according to the Muse by CLIO blog. 

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A post shared by Egg Gang ???? (@world_record_egg)

GenZ users are attracted to online content that is encouraging and authentic. A report from Snap software found that 69 percent of GenZ internet users actively sought out platforms that fostered more positive environments, ditching apps that were less likely to have content that boosted happiness and mental health.

Another way GenZers seek to promote self esteem through online behavior is by seeking out authentic, “anti-perfection” content, according to Muse by CLIO. Bucking the trend of picture-perfect models posing on Instagram, GenZers look for spontaneity, originality, and user-generated content (as opposed to promoted and campaign content). In other words, brands can pour millions of dollars into scripted ad campaigns with famous influencers, only to be beat out 60 million times over by a little brown egg.

Both online and offline, GenZers are heavily focused on mental health, relationships, friendships, and being themselves. This reflects in their choice of social media and the way they interact with others online.

Taking a leaf out of GenZ’s book, here are five ways to make online interactions more positive for yourself and for others.

Take the time to 'touch grass'
“Touching grass” has become a slang expression that means to disconnect from the web, go outside, and experience the real world. According to HealthNews, creating an online-offline balance is key to staying mentally healthy in cyberspace. Setting limits, like times that you will be offline, and turning off the phone during time with family and friends, as well as taking digital breaks, can make the time spent online more positive and wholesome and contribute to mental health.

Curate your experience
On social media, the user is the one who trains the algorithm as to what content they want to see. By following accounts that are in line with your values and interests and by not interacting with negative content, one’s feed will become more motivating, uplifting, and personal. If negative content does pop up, blocking, unfollowing, or muting it, can prevent it from taking over the feed, or ruining one’s day.

Stay positive, stay authentic
GenZers understand that authenticity and spontaneity can help celebrate your uniqueness and individuality and boost self-esteem. When it comes to online usage, it’s important to stay away from the herd, and continue to create and consume content that is true to your own interests, rather than what’s popular or trending.

You are worth more than a like
The positive and negative of social media is that content has the chance to reach tens of thousands to millions of viewers worldwide.That means, among the people who enjoy one’s content, there will always be trolls and critics.

Online, try not to put too much thought into negative trolling comments, and also don’t get swept away by the upvotes and positive comments. Remember, your self-worth goes beyond your online portfolio, so it’s important not to start judging yourself only by how one is perceived on mass media.

Do unto others…
Anyone online understands the impact of cyberbullying and harassment. In your social media forays, you should be mindful of how their comments and content impacts other users. Keep it positive, spread joy and compassion, and use online platforms to build others, not break them down. 

By incorporating these tips into our online behavior, you can contribute to making cyberspace a more positive and enjoyable environment for yourself and others. 

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