I have a seeeeeerious love/hate relationship with social media. And lately, I’ve been a hater.
I KNOW. It feels a bit taboo to actually say it. Out loud.
Plus, you might be reading this post because you came across me through social media. I use it often to promote and share blog posts, so it does make me sound like a bit of a hypocrite when I say I’m hating on it, right?
I don’t want to be a hater… in fact, I wholeheartedly discourage the act of “hating” anything, really. It’s a strong word and I have never used it loosely. But some of this stuff is really getting to me, and I feel compelled to find out why.
Social media can be great and fun and wonderful and powerful. I’ve made some really great real life friendships through original connections on social media. People I probably never would have crossed paths with if we didn’t stumble across one-another online. That’s cool.
I’ve used it to grow my blog over the past year; to find new readers, to share my content, and to start building an itty-bitty community of like-minded friends who might be interested in what perspectives I have to offer. That’s cool too. It can be a very useful platform.
It can also make you doubt yourself. Or at least, that’s how I’ve been feeling lately. It can be a deadly combination of initiating feelings of FOMO, thinking you aren’t as good as somebody else, comparing your success (or lack-thereof) with others, making you feel like everything you’re doing has already been done, and instilling negative emotions about how you don’t “measure up” in some way. It can accomplish all these things, but the most annoying part is, it’s everybody else’s “best” and “perfect” parts, compared to your real life, which obviously includes messy and imperfect bits. (This is not a new revelation, there have been all kinds of studies about how mental health is declining because of social media highlight reels vs. our actual real lives. Thanks a lot Zuckerberg. Just kidding, Facebook can be hella useful and cool.)
I’ve been kinda feeling all of the above lately. Feeeeels.
And I don’t like it.
And it’s making me re-think the amount of my valuable time I’ve been investing there.
Now, don’t start getting all judge-y. I didn’t say I was going to delete any and all social media forms and disappear from the scene never to be heard from again. That would be silly. And unrealistic. Social media is everywhere. And, if I want to continue blogging, it would be kind of a dumb idea to just disappear altogether. A social media “presence” is sort of an integral component to the blogging puzzle these days. This is something I’d never even considered when starting my blog… or when I first started using Instagram. It’s a strange term. So I’ve got to figure out a way to integrate it well without mustering up these negative feelings.
I’ve been finding that lately, I’m not being productive on these platforms, and instead I’m often getting caught looking at what everybody else is doing and feeling like I suck ass in comparison. Pardon my language.
It could be anything.
She’s in better shape than me.
He gets to do cooler things than I do.
I didn’t get invited to that.
Her pictures are way better than mine.
I wish I’d thought of that.
He has more followers than me.
Look at her house, it’s so clean and perfect!
Aw man, I can’t afford that.
I should be working harder.
I should be doing something else.
My content isn’t good enough.
I’m not posting enough.
I’m not commenting enough.
I’m not getting enough likes.
I’ve just had enough. And the thing is, it’s totally my OWN fault, but to be fair, it is a black hole that anybody can get sucked into. It just takes a large amount of willpower and self-awareness to combat, and I don’t think I’ve had enough of either of those things to cohesively balance my real life and the social media world lately. (And this applies to everybody else too, blog or no blog, but it really hit me hard when I started utilizing my Instagram as a way to build my blog presence. So that’s why I’m comparing the two.)
But you know what? It really doesn’t matter all that much at all.
I mean yes, it does matter in the scope of “influence” – if your following is large, you’ll likely get more opportunities for partnerships and collaborations with big and well-known brands. So there’s that. And that’s a valid reason to be working on your social platform growth.
But me? Right now, I don’t really care about sponsored posts. I think those come naturally once you’ve had years of experience blogging. And I’ve done some already that felt totally unnatural. I didn’t like that feeling. If I really think about it, I’m not really sure why I’m worried about growing my “following” so much, and so I think I’m just not going to care about it any more. POOF!
(Easier said than done. It’s a work in progress.)
For now, what I’ve noticed, is that I’m happier and more content and less stressed if I just spend less time on social media altogether. Less aimless scrolling that ends with me comparing myself to everything and everybody else, which is just a waste of time.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve gone days, and even a full week without logging into Instagram or Facebook. I’ve been posting and browsing less, which means sure, I could be missing out on some stuff in some people’s lives… but after a day or two, I spent more time worrying about what was happening IN REAL LIFE than what’s happening on the social (er, UNsocial) scene.
I don’t have all the answers, but I know what’s worked for me the past month.
So currently, I’m ghosting social media.
Bad decision? I dunno, maybe. You’re reading this because it was posted on Facebook, right? So yeah, being quiet on social media may be kinda dumb. Whatever. I think my mental wellness is more important, and the fact is, it suffers when I waste my time thumbing my social feeds. I could be doing something much more productive.
So… that’s what I’ll do I guess.
I hope I’m not the only one who feels so confused and overwhelmed by my fixation on this topic. It’s a double-edged sword that I’ve yet to conquer.
Maybe I will one day.
If you’re with (or against) me, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Post them below.
And hey, thanks for reading this mish-mash post all the way to the end… I don’t really know what the point of all this was. But writing is what allows me to work things out.
So, I’ll write.
Happy weekend, friends.
*Title image courtesy of pexels.com