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Motivations for using social media

Recommendations for detoxing from social media use are beyond prevalent these days and ideas for distancing from social media at times are widely known. The more pertinent question is what motivates your personal use of social media?  

Whiting and Williams (2013) identified 10 motivations for using social media: 

  • Social interaction
  • Information seeking 
  • Passing time 
  • Entertainment 
  • Relaxation
  • Communicatory utility
  • Convenience utility 
  • Expression of opinion 
  • Information sharing  
  • Surveillance or knowledge about others

Do you identify with one or more of these motivations for using social media? 

Can you see how your motivations may have changed over the last decade?

Which social media platforms are your go-tos and what makes them so appealing to you?

Which ones are you hanging on to yet don’t feel so good about anymore? 

Check-in Time

  • Test your enjoyment of your personal social media platforms using a simple ratings system. How do you feel before and after social media use? Use a rating out of 10; 1 being very bored/frustrated/stressed/undeserving and 10 being very energised/joyful/inspired. 

Take this test a step further by evaluating what type of content energises and lifts you up, informs you, meets a need in a healthy way. On the flip side, what type of content drags you down or causes deflation, anger or upset? In this context, content relates to the essence of the content as well as who is posting it. 

  • Test your reflexes. Have your phone on the table in front of you whilst watching something, reading, etc. It’s best to do this when you’re not expecting communication from anyone in particular. When an audible or visual notification shows up; what’s your habitual reflex? Does your hand twitch ready to reach for your phone? Do your eyes immediately go there? Slow down the whole process to notice your decision making at this point: Are you checking to see who it is and whether you want to respond? Are you curious to know what’s going on in a group or forum? Did you not put your phone on the table at all?  

Is it a habit that’s driving this reflex, and if it is; are you okay with that?


  • Clarifying the WHY behind your social media use, specifically for each platform you use.  What are you getting out of it that is supporting and uplifting an aspect of your life?  If it’s not feeling healthy, maybe it’s time for a break. 
  • Limiting your time on social media based on getting the most value out of it for you. 
  • Evaluating how accessible you want each platform to be. Do they all need to be mobile apps or could you access some via PC only? Are ALL the notifications needed?
  • Curating your feeds, settings and platform usage to maximise how you want to use social media. 
  • Which motivations for your social media use can be prioritised via IRL experiences? 

Taking the time to reflect on what’s motivating your social media use brings in fresh perspectives which can help you get back time, space and enjoyment. 


Chatelle Jeram is our Wellbeing Co-ordinator and has been a full time member of our people team since 2020. In her role, she supports our teams by helping us implement well-being strategies with a focus on accountability, self-care, accessibility and being proactive. Chatelle is qualified in Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT or ‘tapping’), Talk-therapy and coaching, Intentional Creativity processes and Meditation and mindfulness practices.

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