How to bring more emotional intelligence to social media and virtual communities

A woman sits on a coach holding a game console and wearing a 3D virtual reality headset.

We are becoming more reliant on the internet and social media for our daily lives. Whether we use it for personal reasons (i.e checking out the latest vacation pictures posted by your highschool friends on Facebook) or detailing the progression of your career and the great professional accomplishments you’ve had on LinkedIn, it’s undeniable that social media has us hooked. As a matter of fact, there are 34.27 million users of social media in Canada this year, and this number is projected to increase to 28.93 million by 2027.1

Seeing that the majority of us spend time daily interacting on at least one of the social media platforms, how can we best utilize the platforms for their intended use without feeling overwhelmed?

You may be surprised to learn there’s an emotionally intelligent way to  conduct oneself when utilizing social media platforms. Below are 5 tips on how emotional intelligence skills can help you the next time you engage online.2

Self Regard

Self Regard is the ability to respect and accept yourself the way you are. To have a healthy self-regard is to appreciate the positive aspects of yourself as well as accept the negative aspects and limitations you have, and still feel good about yourself.

  • Tip: “Comparison is the thief of joy” The next time you begin to think that someone else’s work or life seems better than your own, realize that they’re only showing you the ‘good stuff’ and that we all have our own shares of ups and downs. No one has the ‘perfect life’. 

Emotional Expression

Emotional Expression is openly expressing feelings both verbally and non-verbally in our interactions with others.

  • Tip: Try to share more of who you are by sharing how you feel about the topic at hand. When we do we open ourselves up to really connect with others and others can get to know and trust us. 

Interpersonal Relationship

Interpersonal Relationship skills include the ability to establish and maintain mutually beneficial and satisfying relationships characterized by trust and compassion. 

  • Tip: Be more interested in others (their passions, hobbies, life stories, etc.) and ask them meaningful and engaging questions when communicating online.  Also nurture relationships by sending them a message on their birthday, anniversary, or career change. Facebook and LinkedIn do a great job of reminding you when it’s someone’s birthday, so a short message goes a long way to tell them you are thinking about them.

Social Responsibility

Social Responsibility is the desire and ability to contribute to society, your social group, and to the welfare of others.

  • Tip: We are all in this together. Be mindful of the type of content you share online. Posting positive and uplifting content is better than spreading negativity. Also if you witness hateful posts or messages, speak up and do what is right.

Impulse Control

Impulse Control is the ability to resist or delay an impulse, drive or temptation to act.

  • Tip: Avoid reacting hastily after reading a post that upsets you. Take some time to think about how you want to respond in a thoughtful constructive way or maybe you don’t respond at all.

Footnotes

  1. See stats here: https://www.statista.com/topics/2729/social-networking-in-canada/.
  2. Stein, Steven J., and Howard E. Book. The EQ Edge: Emotional Intelligence and Your Success. Jossey-Bass, 2011.

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