If you've ever wondered about the goings on when it comes to social media activity, I've got a little bit of data that you might find interesting. As far as Facebook goes, on average, people log onto the platform about eight times a day. The topic of love drives the most responses (46 percent) and, if you're trying to create a brand, between 9-11pm(EST) is the best time to post stuff. When it comes to Instagram, 95 percent of its users are under the age of 35, a whopping 500 million individuals use Instagram stories on a daily basis and, if you use a handle with your post, there's a 56 percent chance that you'll get a lot more engagement. On Twitter, there are 500 million tweets that are sent every day, 12 percent of people use Twitter as their main news source and, if you post with an image, there's a 150 percent increased chance that what you said will get retweeted (if you use a hashtag, there's a 69 percent increase of you getting a RT too). Pinterest ain't nothin' to dismiss either. 50 percent of millennials use it quite a bit, they spend about 14 minutes every time that they do and, 87 percent of people who buy a product, do so because of something that they saw on the site.
What all of this boils down to is social media has the kind of impact and influence that packs a pretty powerful punch. That's why, it's really important that, whether you are using it for personal or professional reasons, you are careful with and intentional about what you say. Because, just like you can never really take back the words that you speak once you say them, you can never fully take back the words that you write on your social media platforms once you write them.
Which is why it's always a good idea to take a moment to ask yourself the following seven questions before logging onto your accounts every day.
1. Are You Aware That NOTHING Is Ever Really Deleted?
Just recently, I changed my cell phone number. The reason why is because I have a landline and, honestly, I'm even picky about who gets those digits. But my cell phone is really more for the purpose of calling out while I'm out, so it's not uncommon for me to block my number when I hit someone up. Recently though, while catching up with an ex (per his request), even though I blocked my number while giving him a ring, when we accidentally got connected, he hit me back. When I asked him how he was able to do that, he said, "It's weird. Your number didn't show up when you called me, but it just did when I tried to call you back." Yeah, I changed my number the next day, but the reason why I'm sharing all of this is because it's a reminder that while you think technology is doing one thing, oftentimes, it's doing something else.
If you're someone who "posts off the cuff" or worse, has "trigger fingers" and, in your mind, you think that it's not a problem because you can simply delete what you said—yeeeeah…you might want to rethink that. With articles like "Facebook launches 'clear history' tool – but it won't delete anything", "Why Your Data Will Never Be Deleted" and "The story behind 'nothing ever gets deleted from the internet'" that are out in cyberspace to remind us that cookies, caches and screenshots make it pretty much impossible for data to be completely erased, it's important that, when it comes to whatever you share, you always approach your post like it is written in pen, not pencil.
2. Are You Cool with Your Boss (or Prospective Boss) Seeing It?
We're living in some pretty interesting times; times when keeping—or getting—a job is more important than ever. That said, one thing that can cause you to get a pink slip or a "Don't call us, we'll call you" response from prospective employer is how you act on your social media accounts.
In fact, one article I read said that more than half of employers have taken a pass on a potential employee simply because of something that they saw on that individual's social media. Not only that but, 48 percent of employers do "check ins" on the people who work for them, via their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
I grew up in a house where, once I became a sophomore in high school, I was able to have a phone in my bedroom. Still, my mom was on some, "I'm paying for it, so I can pick it up at any time." (And she would.) It's called monitoring. Yes, your social media accounts are yours. But if you think that your employers aren't monitoring you too, you are sadly mistaken. Post wisely. It could cost you, very dearly, if you don't.
3. Are You About to Post Something That Is Truly Beneficial?
Let me be clear. There are a lot of ways to benefit someone via what you post. The reason why I think it's important to make that distinction is because, I'm not saying that you should only post what you think others will like or agree with; no one really grows that way. All I'm saying is it's always a good idea to keep words like "helpful", "advantageous" and "constructive" in mind, whether you're sharing your opinion, an article, a resource or anything else.
Some folks on social media are nothing more than toxic gaslighters and drama starters. That helps absolutely no one. Meanwhile, some folks do nothing but pedestal themselves; I'm not really sure how that is advantageous for others either. But if what you're seeking to do is make people think, to share something that will inform or challenge them (in a good way) or point them to something that will help them to become their own best self—that is only to their benefit. That is something that is worth making the time to make a post about. Do it.
4. If You Just Got Triggered, Did You Take 5-10 Minutes to Process Your Response?
Although I'm personally not on any social media platform, when I tiptoe out into Twitter World to see what folks are talking about, I'll tell you what—all I have to do is put "Black women" or "Black men" in the search field (because those are two topics that interest me a lot) and I will see the walking definition of triggered, each and every time. Sometimes, people are so quick to "clapback" at what someone else has said that I say to myself, "I wonder if they took a moment to think about what they just said and who might see it". Because, again, nothing on the internet is ever really deleted. Not too long ago, when I wrote the article, "Should You Really Not Care About What Other People Think?", I shared that there are some people whose insights (even on us) we should care about. But trolls and people who don't invest in our lives whatsoever? Why even give them the power to get all stressed out and frazzled?
There are some individuals I know who are always stirring up stuff online because that's how they are offline as well. It's like being combative and a know-it-all are their love languages or something. But spending—or is it wasting?—precious time that you'll never get back letting people piss you off and then going back and forth with them—is it really worth it? If you're like some folks and you're constantly looking for a fight—hey, have at it…I guess. But if you're not, I promise you that taking out some time to deep breathe and process before replying to someone who triggers you could, quite possibly, change your approach in how you respond or…bring you to the conclusion that they don't deserve one at all.
5. Are You About to Totally Contradict Yourself?
Folks are a trip. Whenever I see a headline about someone who said something 10 years ago that gets everyone in cyberspace all up in a tizzy, 7 times out of 10, what I tend to be like is, "Wow. So, a person can't evolve in an entire decade?" If all of us were only held to what we said or did when we were 10 years younger, I'd venture to say that most of us would have days when we wouldn't want to come out of the house. But that's what growth and evolution are all about.
Unfortunately, social media isn't nearly as empathetic to this point, let alone forgiving. So, another thing to ask yourself is if you are about to post something that totally contradicts something else that you have already said. Hey, I'm not saying that if that is indeed the case that you should say nothing at all. All I'm saying is if one day, you've got one perspective and, three months later, that perspective has changed (even a little bit), don't be shocked in the least if someone is more than happy to pull up the receipts that you have changed your mind as they challenge you on it. It happens ALL of the time. Just ask that so-called president of ours.
6. Are You Aware That a Publication Could Possibly Pick “It” Up?
I ain't gonna name no names, but there are certain websites out here that, quite frankly, I don't think would exist if they weren't constantly going to Black Twitter for content. And who's getting paid for what they write? Them not the original creator of the content. That's why I think it's so important for folks to read articles like "Social Media's New Intellectual Property Challenges" and "Intellectual Property Law in the Age of Social Media" because, while social media can be hella convenient, don't think that you're not the media's—and data collectors'—dream when it comes to content that they can draw from.
A woman by the name of Erin Bury once said, "Don't say anything online that you wouldn't want plastered on a billboard with your face on it." Indeed. I'll add to that and say, "Also, don't post anything that could end up making a company thousands of dollars and you nothing if revenue for your pure genius is what you're ultimately after."
Intellectual property is something that a lot of people don't know nearly enough about; especially when it comes to what they put online. It can only benefit you to do a little research before you start hacking away on your own social media accounts. Never say that a sistah didn't warn you.
7. Why Are You Posting What You’re About to Post?
A woman by the name of Adrie Peterson once said, "If you can't say it to their face, don't post it." Say a word, say a word. One day, we'll have to get into all of the ridiculous passive aggressiveness that happens on social media that is actually pretty toxic behavior. So, why do a lot of people do it? Personally, I think that it is cowardly behavior. They don't have the balls to approach someone directly so they will be vague online. It's a twisted motive.
I think this is a good place to end this particular piece. Motive speaks to what causes us to do the things that we do, along with what we are looking to get out of it. Before you make your very next online post, take a moment to really ponder what your underlying reason is. Is it to encourage others? It is to draw attention to yourself? Is it to "start something" with some random person? Is it to give others something to think about? Is it because you can't seem to go a day without saying something? The reasons can run the gamut. All I'm advising is to be clear on what your true agenda is. If you do that, whatever reactions you receive afterwards, you will be better prepared for, all because you know why you are doing what you do. Be wise out in cyberspace, y'all. It's literally a world—and jungle—of its own.
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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. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masterdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masterdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masterdating All About?
Masterdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masterdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masterdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masterdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masterdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masterdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masterdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masterdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masterdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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