Reading this title your mouth might be on the ground – what did she say? (Well, write..)
I said, take a social media break. Soon. Very soon. And for as long as you can.
Here’s the deal – I love social media and the power it holds to turn a business into a brand, to connect people, and how it offers a way to interact like we’ve never known before.
But we need to keep social media in its place.
This probably sounds crazy considering I am the CEO of a social media agency (that RrrrrOCKS) and social media is my bread & butter, but that doesn’t change what I know and believe.
People are always cautious when telling me they don’t have a Facebook account or aren’t into social media. They shuffle their feet and speak in a quiet voice like someone may come rushing out and clobber them over the head. Or I get the defiant “I DON’T DO THAT,” which is also comical.
But I understand why people want to keep a safe distance from social media or why they prefer to not be involved at all. I get that it’s not for everyone – nothing is for everyone. And if you’re reading this and nodding your head in agreement, sweet!
However for most of us, we can’t disconnect. We love social media on such a deep level that we lose sleep over it, Tweets and messages beckon us when the sun comes up, and we simply can’t wait to get online.
Either way, for we social media lovers, it’s time to learn to keep it in its place. And by that, I mean we need to learn how to use social media for our benefit and not let it use us for its benefit. That may twist your mind up, but all I’m trying to say is that we need to be purposeful with our social media usage.
Do you know, like reallyyyyyy know why you use social media? Or what your purpose or goal is with it? Or are you simply doing it because everyone else is?
Last month I ran away for a weekend at a monastery, and took the first social media break since I started my business in 2012. Crazy, right? Well (BIG surprise), it was life changing. Not only because I broke a few habits during those quiet days, but also renewed my perspective on how much time we spend online.
I left this quiet cove to return to a loud world that’s walking around with an electronic piece in front of its face. I saw families in restaurants where everyone is online instead of talking to one another. I saw people walking the aisles of a grocery store while perusing Facebook. And I saw a video of someone on a carousel ride with his friends who was filming the activity, but everyone was on their cell phone!!
What. the. heck.
But maybe you don’t see it this way. Maybe you think I’m a little crazy, and that’s okay. I’m going to break it down for you with my top reasons why a social media break should be in your near future.
1. FOMO isn’t cool.
If you’re aren’t familiar with the acronym FOMO, it means Fear Of Missing Out.
Everyone has experienced this in life, especially in our younger years. Remember being home when your friends were out or having to do homework in college during a major rivalry game? We’ve all experienced it.
But lately I’ve seen this craze for FOMO with social media like it’s a cool thing. And it’s not!
This whole FOMO feeling in relation to social media creates additional chaos. It causes us to lose sleep, to miss out on precious moments with family and friends, to stay connected to a lit screen that has zero love for us, and begins playing havoc with our self esteem.
I’m guilty of it, too! I don’t know how many nights I needed to get to bed early and my phone starts blowing up with online notifications, and I can’t. walk. away. Gah!
We need to learn to be okay with missing out. We need to learn to place boundaries for ourselves in terms of when we are online and when we aren’t.
FOMO is a hyped up heart attack waiting to happen and it needs to be extinguished. Not being able to disconnect for fear of missing out says more about our self esteem than our cool factor.
2. Breaks down productivity.
Let’s be honest – are you more or less productive since social media has taken over?
I can guarantee you that I’m less productive. Right this minute, I’m trying to knock out this blog, and I’ve got notifications on my cell phone popping up, and the Facebook tab telling me I have things to check.
And it’s SO hard not to look! Isn’t that ridiculous?
To get a blog written these days, I have to minimize my browser, hide my cellphone, and use TextEdit so I’m not distracted. This coming from a girl who’s had a journal since she was 7. I love to write, but it’s hard to let go and get knee deep with words when there’s notifications going off.
The downfall of productivity is so bad there’s ALL kinds of apps and plugins available to prevent us from seeing notifications or automatically shuts down parts of our computer so we can focus on our tasks.
Wouldn’t you like to regain control over your productivity and stop feeling like a slave to notifications?
3. Increases depression and comparison.
For me, this is one of the biggest reasons we need to take social media breaks – social media can deplete our self-esteem and increase our competitive spirit (NOT in a good way).
Have you ever been trying to lose weight, attain a goal or grow your business, and then you see a friend or colleague who’s KILLING it in that area? How does it make you feel? Do you feel down?
A lot of people do. I certainly have. And I think that’s pretty normal. We naturally compare ourselves to others – not that it’s a good thing because I don’t believe it is. But we do. And although we strive to not compare ourselves, social media has a way of making it more difficult because we see the accomplishments of others everyday.
We see the pretty pictures, the goals made, the big smiles, and if we’re having a tough day, it can can feel like we’re drowning or make us question what we’re doing wrong.
I’ll be honest, there are days I purposefully stay away from social media perusing because I’m not feeling so great about myself. Call it what you will, but I know these feelings are irrational, so I choose to not play with fire.
There’s no shortage of articles these days about how social media is making us more depressed, and that’s because we see all the glory and not enough of the struggle.
I’ve counseled new business owners, and the one thing I always advise is to find a community of entrepreneurs to share their journey and pain with because there’s so much we miss by only viewing what’s online.
A wise person once said, Comparison is the thief of joy, and that’s the truth.
But when we step away from social media and realign ourself with who we really are, we are capable of seeing it for what it is, and we can focus on OUR journey.
4. Social media isn’t everything.
Bottom line, social media isn’t everything. It’s not our everyday life, it’s not a real world, it’s simply where we hang out or market our businesses. We can’t tie our self-esteem to it’s tail or allow it to control our lives.
Social media is an awesomeeee way for businesses to develop relationships with their customers and prospects, it’s a place to share photos and exchange with our loved ones we don’t get to see enough, and it’s a place for us all to learn more about the world we live in.
But it’s not what rules the world, it’s not a popularity contest, AND we only see what others allow us to see, i.e. the pretty sides of life.
We rarely see the struggles, work, tired faces, and morning dreads – and that’s important to remember.
I didn’t write this article to bum you out on social media because I LOVEEE social media! It’s a beautiful tool to change the world, to educate, to sell, and to connect people, but it’s just that – a tool.
And we must do our best to keep it in it’s place.
So log off the computer or get off your cellphone and go enjoy life! Be present with your friends and family, smell your food, enjoy a movie or go for a walk!
REAL life isn’t lived on social media – it just looks like it is.