Guess how many people use social media? A whopping 3.1 billion folks! That's roughly one-third of the earth's population. Out of those, guess how many are addicted to it? Reportedly, 210 million folks (with most of them being young single women).
Adding to these stats, 71 percent of people sleep with their smartphone, 50 percent check their socials while driving (SMH) and 10 percent of teenagers check their cells no less than 10 times a night. I bet out of all of those findings, the main thing you're probably wondering is what constitutes a real deal Holyfield social media addiction. That's fair.
According to experts on the topic, you're leaning towards being an addict if you—check your notifications every few minutes; update your locations constantly; can't go a day without posting something (that has nothing to do with your career or platform); have to keep your phone on and close to you at night; can't go a week without taking a selfie; can't put your phone away when you're spending time with other people; check your phone while you're driving or walking; have more "friends" online than off and you internally lose it when folks don't comment on your posts. Oh, and if you can't remember the last time you went on a social media fast—if ever.
If you can check off four or more of these things, you are sho 'nuf a candidate for being a social media addict. It's problematic too, because this kind of addiction can affect your vision, give you bouts of loneliness and depression, put your productivity in jeopardy (which can put your job in jeopardy too), place a strain on your relationships and get you caught up in the illusion of the online world vs. the real one (which is offline).
I'm not sharing all of this with you so that you'll stop utilizing social media altogether. I'm simply sharing it so that you'll be intentional about protecting yourself from becoming an addict. More importantly, so that you'll take steps to protect yourself from all of the drama and negativity that is far more prevalent on social media than a lot of us realize.
And how can you do just that?
1.Go to a “Happy Place Site”—First
Before you decide to hop on to your favorite gossip blog (or vlog) or even a news outlet, how about going to a site or even someone's personal social media page that will be sure to put a smile on your face? Me? I like things like human interest stories on People, KevOnStage's YouTube channel (his semi-recent Righteous and Ratchet "Jess Hilarious + Cancel Culture" episode had some gems in it), GoodBlackNews.org, GoodNewsNetwork.org or ComedianShulerKing's page. You can also put a hashtag of a show that you missed, just to see the memes and comments so that you can get a good laugh in.
At least that way, you can start things off on a high note before all of the drama starts to creep in.
2.Remember What the Definition of Gossip Is
It tickles me whenever people tell me they hate gossip but then, not two minutes later, will go ham on some celebrity news like they know the people personally. I was an entertainment writer before I got more into the relationships and wellness lane and let me just tell you—NOTHING is what it seems. Please don't get caught up drinking so much hot tea that it burns you. Literally.
While we're on this topic, please also don't think that just because you don't listen to a lot of sensationalism or stuff that should be ran through fact-checking site at least a dozen times that it still doesn't constitute as being gossip. Although a lot of us only like to define gossip as being drama and rumors, it also means idle talk about people's private affairs, period.
An English philologist by the name of Robert Forby once said, "A dog that will fetch a bone, will carry a bone." If you add to that, grandmama's saying "Hit dog will holla" well…just be careful what you take in and what you do with it. Gossip may be entertaining, but it can also be quite destructive too (check out "Rumors, Gossip and Your Health").
3.Be Cautious in Giving (and Accepting) Unsolicited Advice
I don't know what makes so many of us think that people need our opinion and perspective on just about everything, but clearly, with currently 321 million monthly users on Twitter alone, we do. And while I'll be the first to say that Black Twitter must be protected at all costs, I'll also say that social media has turned a lot of people into either big bullies or big babies; if not a hybrid of the two.
It's very fascinating to me that someone will share their thoughts on their page and then here people come telling them how wrong and ridiculous they are. Then, when those same people receive the treatment they dished out to someone else, they want to get all salty or sensitive about it.
No one is going to like everything you post or say. You aren't gonna like everyone else's profiles either. AND THAT IS OK. Just accepting these two facts alone should make for a more peaceful social media world. But if you don't want to get constantly caught up in wasting more time than you've got, all because you decided to dish out advice/insight that wasn't asked for or because you got hyper-sensitive about what someone said to you, maybe you should think long and hard about if social media is the space for you. Or—and better still—you should be mindful about how you respond/react to something before you actually do it.
This brings me to the next point...
4.Be Honest (with Yourself) About Your Posts (BEFORE Posting)
A few months ago, I was having a conversation with someone who told me that they were going to get off of Instagram because they weren't getting as many likes on their posts as they wanted and it was pissing them off.
Gee, we've got a ranting Cheeto in human form for a president and hate crimes are reportedly up 17 percent since he's been in office, but someone is mad because their beach selfies aren't receiving rave reviews? With attitudes like that, it's no wonder that there are articles like "Social Media Has Created a Generation of Self-Obsessed Narcissists", "Excessive Posting of Photos on Social Media Is Associated with Increase in Narcissism" and "Is Social Media to Blame for the Rise In Narcissism?"
There's nothing wrong with selfies or basically anything else you want to post on your profile pages. After all, they're your pages. But posting really should be more about sharing your personality or brand, regardless of how others choose to respond to it; if at all.
Bottom line, if your motive for posting ANYTHING is so people can tell you how awesome you are all of the time, 1) you're setting yourself up to be just as pissed off as the person I just mentioned and 2) you're really setting yourself up to become a raging narcissist someday whether you realize it or not. And narcissists are full of drama and negativity—whether they are too arrogant to recognize it or not (again, "45" is a great reminder of this).
5.Count to 10 Before Responding—to ANYTHING
I've got a girlfriend (who shall remain nameless) who stays in some foolishness on social media. Why? Because let someone say something—anything—she doesn't like and she's letting them get at least a full paragraph's worth of her mind. All that does is get the initial poster or commenter all in a tizzy and, if her comment is buck enough, it brings others in on it too.
Listen, if y'all got time for that, have at it. But I'm willing to bet that if you've got a job (or you run a business), you're in a relationship and/or you're a mom, you don't have as much time as you think. For this reason alone, if someone triggers you online, do the same thing that you (hopefully) would if you were within earshot of them. Pause, count to 10, ask yourself if what you're about to say, you're prepared to go down in history (because on the internet, nothing ever gets truly deleted)—and then say it.
The drama on social media would drop at least 60 percent if folks put this into practice. I'd put some good money on that.
6.Don’t Get Attached to TrollsGiphy
Sometimes, the best thing about a post are the comments, that's for sure. But you can bet that there are some people who live to do nothing more than troll others (like the commenters on TMZ's page— SMH). If you're not exactly sure whether or not you're dealing with a highly-opinionated individual or an actual troll here are some signs of the latter—they usually have wack profiles (ones that make you wonder if a real person is running the account); they're going to want to argue about any and everything you have to say; they have nothing short of tunnel-vision when it comes to the way they see things; they live to bait you in, then tear you down while they rarely saying anything that's truly beneficial.
Sometimes trolls are so good at pushing buttons that you can get more invested than you ever should. If you know this is you, remember that you can always A) ignore them; B) delete their comments (when they are on your page) or C) block them altogether. (Watch how much freer you'll feel when you do!)
7.Insert the Golden RuleGiphy
Something that I find to be both fascinating and unfortunate is how much of a bulldozer so many people online are. Before you're like "Yeah!", it should go on record that less and less is it coming from just one side. Christians want non-Christians to shut up just as much as non-Christians want Christians to. If someone doesn't share a person's view on politics, sexuality, pop culture or any other hot topic, there is a campaign to immediately get them "cancelled". Ugh. It's dangerous to not let someone's voice be heard. It's equally as dangerous to try and silence it if it doesn't agree with your own.
Mama told us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Father MC put it this way—treat them like they want to be treated. I have pretty strong views on, well, just about anything. But I am confident enough in those views to hear other people out and to not feel attacked just because they may not agree with me.
It's a very insecure person who feels the need to force others to think/live as they do, and a ton of those people exist on social media. Try and avoid being one of them.
8.Offer a Silver Lining Perspective
One of my other girlfriends, I call her "glass half full" because she can see the upswing for just about anything. There's something really refreshing about that. It's like being a beacon of light in what can sometimes be a very dark place—or, as it relates to social media specifically, space.
One way that you can lighten things up a bit is to provide a silver lining to some of the news or gossip that is shared. I'm not saying be unrealistic or act like you live in a world filled with nothing but unicorns and rainbows. I'm just saying that sometimes all it takes is one positive point to totally shift the atmosphere of 20 negative statements.
9.Take Regular Breaks
I already know that some of y'all are NOT gonna receive this point, but I'm still gonna put it out there. It can never hurt to take a break from social media every few months. How much of a break? According to a lot of mental health experts, 30 full days. That means no logging on, no receiving notifications, no commenting—nothing.
If the thought of doing that already has you breathing through a brown paper bag, you should be the first in line to take it! It's proven that social media breaks can do everything from help you to realign boundaries and make you more productive to reduce your stress levels and give you a better night's rest.
Sadly, a lot of us stay irritable, not because of what's happening offline but what we're doing while we're on it. And since most of us are "plugged in" 11 hours a day…with all of the info and opinions that are constantly inundating our psyches, can't you see how your mind, body and spirit could benefit from reading a book or taking a stroll in the park? Without your phone?
10. Try to Mind Your Own Business
Did you know that there is even a Scripture in the Bible that co-signs on staying in your own backyard? I Thessalonians 4:11(NKJV) says, "that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you".
I'll be the first to say that things people don't want to receive comments on, they shouldn't post them. But that doesn't mean that we should feel the need to comment on EVERYTHING. If you try and focus on what you've got going on in your world, even the part of the world that is your own social media profiles, you'll realize that you don't have the time or energy to always be up in other people's stuff.
If you don't have personal drama and negativity, the less you'll want to get caught up in someone else's. Especially people you barely even know. Feel me?
Featured image by Getty Images.
What I Learned From My Two-Month Social Media Fast - Read More
Why Taking A Break From Social Media Is Critical For My Self-Care Routine - Read More
How to Shoot Your Friend Shot in the Social Media Era – Read More
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
What would you do if you just got laid off from your corporate job and you had a serendipitous encounter with someone who gave you the opportunity of a lifetime? Tamara Taylor was faced with that decision in 2013 after she was let go from her sales profit and operations coach job in the restaurant industry and met a then-up-and-coming stylist, Law Roach, on a flight to L.A. She and Roach struck up a conversation, and he shared how he was looking for someone to run his business and was impressed by her skills. While she took his business card, she was unsure if it would lead to anything. But, boy, was she wrong. Two weeks later, after packing up her home to move back to her hometown of Chicago, she called Roach; he asked if they could meet the following day, and the rest is herstory.
Taylor founded Mastermind MGMT, an agency that represents some of Hollywood’s best “image architects” like Roach, Kellon Deryck, and Kollin Carter, who are responsible for creating unforgettable style and beauty moments for celebrities like Zendaya, Megan Thee Stallion, Taraji P. Henson, and more. Taylor and her company possess an array of functions, but her biggest role is to be her client’s advocate. We hear endless stories about how creatives aren’t paid or underpaid in the entertainment industry, but Taylor ensures that her clients get their piece of the pie. The entrepreneur opened up about her company and her non-profit, Mastermind Matters, in an exclusive interview with xoNecole.
“I always say that I'm an artist advocate first, deal closer second. So my primary focus is to just make sure that the artist is getting everything that they deserve, whether it's compensation or, you know, certain accommodations, but just making sure that they have everything that they need to be able to show up and provide the best service that they're hired for,” she explained.
“So you know, in the beginning, it was hard because I didn't have any experience, and the artists who I was working with at the time–we were learning together, meaning neither of us had assisted anyone. We didn't have mentors in our specific fields. So every deal was like a new learning experience for us from the styling side and also from the business side, and so it took, you know, doing some research, using some very creative tactics, to find out information in the industry and just starting to request accommodations that I knew other artists were granted, who maybe didn't look like my artists.”
Photo by Christopher Marrs
Ten years later, there’s still not many people who are doing what Taylor is doing. However, things have gotten easier thanks to the research and connections she made in the beginning. During Mastermind MGMT’s ten-year anniversary celebration, she announced her non-profit, Mastermind Matters, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that focuses on helping young entrepreneurs through a 12-week program. The program is divided into “two routes.” The first route is for aspiring creative artists who want to start a business from their talent and all the things they need to learn about business, such as taxes, life insurance, etc. The second route is for practicing creative artists who are already in the industry but need resources such as how to plan for retirement or how to sustain themselves if they can’t work for a short amount of time, i.e., the pandemic.
“I just feel that I'm able to have a business and be successful because of their art as well. And so there are things that I know, I tried to teach it to them but understanding that I can only do so much because I'm not a subject matter expert in those fields,” she said. “So I at least want to be able to provide the resources, and then if they make their grown decision not to do it, then that's on them. But you know, I could be guilt-free and taking advantage of the resources that I'm also providing to them.”
Taylor continues to be an innovator in her industry by always pushing the boundaries of creativity and thinking one step ahead of everyone else. The Chicago-bred businesswoman is moving into the tech space thanks to a new invention created with her clients in mind, and she is looking forward to bigger collaborations in the future. Follow Mastermind MGMT on Instagram @mastermind_mgmt for more information.
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Feature image by Christopher Marrs