Here’s a truth: social media is a job. For some it’s light freelance work, just a few hours a month. For others, it’s part-time, an hour or two every day. For many, it’s a full-time gig, taking up lots of time every day. And for the rest, it’s a full-time job plus overtime–social media is a job that demands hours and hours of attention daily.
And it feels like a job, doesn’t it? All the logging on and checking in and liking and commenting and scrolling and posting and editing and responding? Maybe not in the moment, but when you look back on the HOURS. So much time. Such demand for attention. Such high standards to meet. Work.
All this work is work but you get to choose what kind of role social media has in your life. If you’re employed full-time by social media, you have the power to take it back to part-time or even light freelance work. You have the power to quit altogether. It’s your choice.
You’re the boss. You decide how much attention you’re going to pay to each post. You decide how much importance you’ll assign to the opinions of your online community. You decide how insecure, ugly, unworthy, or inferior you are going to allow yourself to feel in light of looking at other peoples’ highlight reels.
Your social media is your job and you’re the boss.
I think the internet is fun. I love to online shop, I like to keep in touch with friends, I’m fascinated by the way the world shrinks when people get online. I’ve made a career out of the internet, in fact. I don’t think Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or Snapchat or any of the rest of it is bad. I do think, however, that we sometimes do a really bad job at being our own social media bosses.
When you’re following a woman whose Instagram posts are always pretty and perfect and you feel sad and inferior when you see them? You need to unfollow her. When you become angry and enraged at a Facebook friend’s constant political commentary, you need to unfollow him. If you spend hours every day scrolling through Twitter, and your mind is going numb and you hate what a waste of time it is? Delete it from your phone. If you close your Snapchat app feeling like you’re never having as much fun as anyone else, stop using the app altogether.
You need to be a good social media boss for yourself. No one else will do this for you.
Especially now that I’m blogging full-time (which involves quite a bit of social media usage), I’ve had to become a no-nonsense social media boss for myself. I’ve unfollowed (not necessarily unfriended) literally hundreds of people on Facebook who trigger anger or sadness or insecurity or annoyance. (Namely people with strong and frequent political commentary–I am adamantly adverse to Facebook politics–but I won’t get on that soapbox today!) I’ve unfriended the people who should no longer have access to my posts, like ex-boyfriends (more about that here). I don’t like Twitter very much, so I’ve deleted it from my phone and only use it every once in a while instead of wasting time scrolling through it each day. I absolutely love Instagram, but I do not love feeling inferior or insecure or even just annoyed because I don’t care what a particular person (who I usually don’t know) had for breakfast. Because of this, I have unfollowed dozens of Instagram accounts lately. I see all of this as self-care. I need to be in charge of what content is in front of me because no one else will be!
I’ve also worked toward creating healthy social media boundaries in my life. You wouldn’t work 24/7/365, would you? Treat social media like a job. Some days, post nothing. Some days, comment on nothing. Some days, don’t check your notifications. Every day, set aside a period of time when you won’t check social media. Remember, you’re the boss! You probably don’t have enough self control for this. I don’t either. That’s why I often keep my phone in the next room over when I need a break or leave it at home altogether when I’m out with my husband.
You should be running your social media, not the other way around. You should be bossing around your social media, not the other way around. You should be deciding when you’ll engage on social media, not the other way around.
Your social media is your job and you’re the boss. Be a good boss. Get back in control.
// How are you a good social media boss? What can you do to set healthier boundaries?
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This is so true! I’m a food blogger and promoting myself on social media takes so much time, but I know how important it is. Thanks for saying this!
Ali A says
I’m such a big fan of social media, and I agree with you – you NEED to unfollow and hide the people that are causing adverse reactions like sadness, jealousy, guilt, aggravation, etc. You ARE in control of that! I think you also have the right to post as much as you please – that’s something I used to struggle with. I tweet a lot, I post a new pic on IG almost daily, I’m promoting my blog on FB – and guess what? If that annoys anyone they can unfollow me, too! Social media and word of mouth are the reasons my blog has grown the way it has. I’m totally grateful for it and think there are really nice perks and friendships that come out of it. Great post!
Blair Lamb says
AMEN & AMEN.
I’ve just been thinking of this! I’m in charge of social media for my college’s Student Government, but I spend so much extra time on my own social media pages, and I never come out of my time on social media feeling refreshed or enlightened. :/ Thanks for the extra encouragement to be intentional about social media. 🙂
Blair Lamb says
Aw, I’m so glad you were encouraged! Hugs!
Cynthia McIntyre says
You made some very great points in the article. You are so very right- it is work and can really make a big difference in some businesses and careers. Thanks for putting it in perspective.
Something that has helped me greatly has been turning off the push notifications for Facebook on my smartphone! Now, instead of receiving a little alert every time I get a new notification, I have to actually open the app and check it. It has really helped me avoid overusing it.
Blair Lamb says
I’ve done the same thing. It’s definitely SO helpful! 🙂