17 December 2019

TEDxBristol: the impact of social media on wellbeing

Last month, a few of the Synergy team headed to TEDxBristol to listen to a host of speakers talk on different subjects, from education, to the importance of fun, to rebooting retirement.

The day was split into three themes: reflect, rethink and reboot, and all of the talks were centred around these areas. With an impressive speaker list that included a scientist, a young entrepreneur and even a clown, our Client Services Director, Emma, jumped at the chance to go along, soak up the day and learn more on a range of interesting topics. Here are her thoughts… 


It’s always a great opportunity for learning when TEDx rolls into town, so I was thrilled to be able to go along to the Rethink session at TEDxBristol. One talk in particular, which really resonated with our line of work, was Drew Benvie‘s session on the impact social networks are having on our lives and how we can rethink our relationship with them. 


Bots, trolls and the dreaded ‘fake news’

Social media has received a lot of negative press in recent years, with numerous reports suggesting that it can have a detrimental impact on mental health being published each year. Drew wanted to highlight the ways in which social media can be a positive thing and how to make experiences with social media beneficial and enjoyable. 

Drew spoke of the fact that it can be increasingly difficult to trust what we see on social media. With trolls and bots rife, and 1 million fake Facebook accounts deleted per hour, it can be a minefield of social anxiety and pressure, political disinformation and constant ‘fake news’. 


Creating positive experiences online

But it’s not all bad news. Social media platforms are working to clean things up. Instagram has now banned self-harm imagery, and is trialling the removal of ‘likes’ in some places to try and improve user wellbeing and mental health.  

Drew encouraged us all to ‘exercise the power of positivity’ online and suggested 3 helpful tips for avoiding online harms: 

  • Recognise trolls and bots for what they are – trolls shout divisive, often negative things and bots are used to amplify the message (they’re not real people or real supporters of what’s being said).
  • Avoid following celebrities – pressure and anxiety from social media often stems from following accounts that promote a lifestyle that is unattainable for most people. Unfollowing any accounts that make your experience on social media a negative one can be a great place to start.
  • Following positive influencers – National Geographic, inspiring sportspeople, artists and body-positive influencers – is one way of curating your feed to suit you. Avoid divisive content in favour of positive posts and see the shift in your feed.

With wellbeing such a huge trend in employee engagement at the moment, Drew’s talk was a great opportunity to rethink how we approach social media and how we can make it work better for us and our mental health. 


If you’d like to hear more on Emma’s time at TEDxBristol, or information on how we can help with your organisation’s wellbeing to create happier workplaces, get in touch with the team today

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