Me, thinking to myself earlier this week: “What’s the one thing I want to leave the Ask Trish community with in 2021?”
It’s a question I spent a lot of time thinking about, because, well, we’ve talked about a lot this year. I racked my brain, thinking: was there one message, one theme, or even one action I wanted to share as folks thought ahead to the New Year? And that’s when it hit me: I knew what I wanted to share – a powerful digital practice that I engage in every year around the holiday season. As you all saw in this week’s Mariah Carey-themed TikTok (she’s the best!), that practice is called a digital resolution.
Let’s start with the basics: what’s a digital resolution? As I explain in the TikTok, a digital resolution is a commitment about the way you’ll engage with the internet the following year (in this case, in 2022). But that actually simplifies things a bit, because a digital resolution actually consists of three parts: 1) reflection, 2) affirmation, and 3) resolution. The reflection stage is, as you might guess, all about honest reflection on your behavior in the digital world this year. Maybe there’s nothing overt that you were proud of or would change (or maybe there is), but I often find that by thinking back to some of the time I spent on social media or texting friends, little things jump out to me, like Ooh; I wish I had made that post private or Friends-only…or I’m so glad that I created a system for approving Friends! That really helped reduce my stress on social media. It’s important to note that reflection should never be a shameful experience or cause feelings of guilt – the goal is not to “punish yourself” or “feel bad” about your digital experiences this year (though perhaps there are maybe moments you regret). The goal is to create space to think about those moments, so, in the following stages, you can grow from them.
That brings us right along to the second stage, affirmation. That’s right: give yourself a pat on the back for the things you did right online this year. Whether it’s that rude comment you really wanted to post on your crazy uncle’s Facebook page – but didn’t, or the fact that you were more careful about including location info. in your posts, be proud of yourself for what you’re doing right. It’s important to do this because…well, the Internet can be super hard to navigate. We’re often made to think that it’s easy, but as you all know, that’s far from the truth. Affirming your success isn’t just a great pep talk, it’s a reminder that responsible behavior takes work, is intentional, and can be incredibly powerful.
Finally, there’s your resolution. Given the reflection and affirmation you’ve completed, what’s the one thing that you hope to change in 2022? Do you want to ensure you read any article you see before you share it on social media? Do you resolve to finally check out those privacy settings on Facebook (and your other social media)? Whatever it is, I’d encourage you to make sure your digital resolution is both 1) specific – so there’s a clear way to measure whether or not you’re making progress (for example, “I promise to be more kind online” likely isn’t good enough) and 2) in an area that you’ve yet to successfully tackle (e.g. an area that wasn’t a part of your affirmations). Needless to say, once you’ve thought of your resolution, stick with it…you will feel so good this time next year, as you repeat the process!
I hope you found this year’s Ask Trish content impactful, helpful, empowering, and above all, supportive. Speaking for myself, being able to build this community – and make some pretty fun TikToks along the way – has been an incredible experience. We’ve tackled a lot of issues, from those that are light-hearted, to those that are gut-wrenching, and in doing so, we’ve raised a lot of awareness, tackled plenty of stigma, and hopefully, reminded a lot of folks that they are never alone online.
And it doesn’t end this year, of course! Ask Trish will be back in the New Year on Tuesday, January 4th! Whether you’re an #AskTrish fan who wants more content or a newcomer that’s interested in another Internet-related issue, don’t forget to share your note, question, or thought here. Your topic might be featured in an upcoming TikTok/blog post! Remember, anything goes: so whether serious, funny, or somewhere-in-between, don’t hesitate to share. I definitely can’t wait to hear from you all.
Oh, and one last thing — this Christmas, give me the gift of your #AskTrishsupport! Anytime you see Ask Trish content you like, hit the like and share buttons! Thank you in advance for making it the #bestChristmasever.
I’ll see you all in 2022! Until then, with immense gratitude for each and every one of you,