Lessons Learned from a Social Media Break

I accidentally took a 6 week break from social media. It wasn’t planned, I didn’t do it for a particular reason, it just happened. As I write this, I know this may seem bizarre to some. I might be in the minority with this opinion but I don’t particularly like social media. It has its pros and it’s useful for my job but I just don’t enjoy the experience. Scrolling through posts, wasting a lot of time, getting caught up in comparison and self-judgement. Even though I self-profess to not enjoying social media I’ve found myself at times clicking on the apps and scrolling mindlessly just to fill time, give myself something to look at.

We’ve been in ‘lockdown’ with the Coronavirus pandemic and I think the noise online just all got a bit much. Instead of social media helping me to feel more connected to people and less alone it just felt overwhelming. People telling you to make the most of the time and be productive, people telling you it’s ok to do nothing. Most of the time I wasn’t feeling inspired by social media, it just left me feeling like I was lacking. I had exams so I got my head down and focused on uni work and didn’t even notice I hadn’t been on social media until it had already been a couple of weeks. Through this change in focus I also stopped blogging which was a conscious decision because it’s something I really enjoy but I had to take a break to keep my focus.

Through this break I really didn’t miss social media, returning to social media was something I put off for a couple of weeks but knowing that I needed to at some point mainly for business marketing and advertising made me stop and think about how I wanted to reintroduce it back into my life. Having a purpose for my social media use and ensuring I have clear boundaries so it doesn’t become a mindless activity where I get sucked into a social media blackhole.

So, here’s how I’m going to try to consciously use social media:

Choosing what platforms I take part in

I have a Facebook account but don’t use it. I don’t check it and it’s not so useful in the business space for me to I think I’m going to get rid of it. Instagram is the most useful platform for me, it works for a creative business and lends itself to the way I write. LinkedIn is like an online business card which is helpful in a world of social distancing and when running an online business so is something I should probably take more time on. I don’t use other social media platforms and I don’t think they’ll be helpful for my purposes.

Choosing what features I want to use

There are so many features you can use on any social media platform; for example: on Instagram there’s posts, stories, lives, IGTV. You could spend ages creating stuff to go on all these features but for me, I think it’s best to focus on where I want to spend my energy what’s the most beneficial way to post the stuff I want to post.

Scheduling time

I’m using social media for my business, not for personal so it makes sense to schedule in social media activity like I would any other task. This also helps to ensure that I don’t spend all my time on social media and that I also don’t forget about it and leave it for a few weeks!

Setting boundaries

Deciding how much I want it to impact my life is important. It’s a choice that’s important to make. Setting boundaries so that I’m comfortable and happy with how social media works in my life. For example, I have no notifications on my phone so I check social media as and when I want to and it doesn’t interrupt my life. I’ve also decided to stop responding to junk messages from brands and the like. I used reply with a ‘no thank you’ out of politeness but there’s just too many.

Have you thought about your social media use? Why you use it? If you feel good about it? Do you have boundaries in place?

I’d love to hear how you manage your time on social media, if you’ve taken a break or are thinking about it.

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