At any moment in time, one of my clients could hire me to write content for their social media accounts. As a result, I spend an ample amount of time during my off hours researching social media trends. I also try to stay up-to-date with all the tricks for using the major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, and so forth.).
The other day I had an epiphany: I know how to use all of these sites, but I only use two of them on a regular basis.
It’s not to say that the other sites aren’t fantastic, because each platform has its own bells and whistles that the other sites just don’t possess. Nevertheless, most of my working hours are spent online or on my computer, so I don’t really find it that “relaxing” to spend a lot of time on these sites.
There are other issues that suck the joy out of my social media surfing.
First and foremost – I have way too many friends who need to go to re-posters anonymous!!!
They totally spam up my feeds with an endless barrage of memes, images, and gaming scores. Sure, some of the images are cute, and a few of the memes make me laugh, but that’s pretty much all these people post. They don’t post thoughtful, real life updates. And, although they may like EVERY-FREAKIN-THING I post, they almost never provide real comments.
Second – Obligatory friendship.
Look through your list of friends, people you’re following, etc. How many of them are your friends’ significant others, friends of friends you barely see at parties, or people from your past who you haven’t spoken with IN PERSON in over a decade? I’d wager to guess that a lot of your “friends” fall into this category. I’m the same way, so no stone-throwing here. Regardless, it’s the social convention that drives me crazy. These are people who I don’t have time for in real life or who I don’t care about, yet heaven forbid I be rude by not befriending them!
Third – Clicking your way down the virtual rabbit hole.
If I should be working, I try to tell myself “Stay off social media. You can play later.” I’m disciplined enough where that works 90% of the time, but I’m REALLY good at telling myself, “Okay – you can play for five minutes.” Fast-forward 30+++ minutes later, and I find myself down-spiraling in distraction.
Fourth – ZOMBIE MODE.
Sometimes I’ll go on social media for no real reason. I just scroll down the page, click things at random, and sit there zombified for God knows how long. Every time I come out of the haze I ask, “What the hell am I doing!?” I then have the overwhelming urge to run from my computer before the bright colors lull me back into zombie mode.
As you can see, there are multiple factors making it a living nightmare to keep up with social media. However, it will only be a bad experience if you let it. So—make your experience a good one.
The first thing you have to do is accept that if you want to play with the awesomeness that is social media, you have to put up with the problems. Verbalizing your issues and/or complaints, like how I did above, really can help get out your frustrations. In addition, most people have the same complaints, so you can band together among your fellow social media soldiers and support one another through the madness.
Another trick that I’m trying to do involves replacing the angry thoughts with happier and more grateful thoughts. In a nutshell, get over your burnout by remembering why you like social media. Try to think of it this way:
What can social media can do for me?
If you can’t think of anything that makes you happy about social media, or anything social media can do for you, then maybe you should consider getting off for a while.
To stay happy on the social media bandwagon, I’ve discovered two ways to make myself enjoy my social media time once again. These tricks may not work for you, but they may help you find your own way back to online joy.
#1 Mobile Apps
Every major site allows you to access your information through your phone. For me, the phone is enough of a disconnect to take me out of computer-work-mode and into happy-go-lucky-mode. Granted, I do my business calls exclusively through my Bluetooth headset, so since I don’t hold my phone during business, I can still see my phone as a toy versus a tool, even though I know it serves both purposes.
#2 Platform Building
I’m getting closer to having everything in place to launch my platform as a fiction writer. And, as explained thoroughly in one of my previous blogs, you can only build your platform if you simultaneously build your fan base, which means networking, networking, networking. In other words, the hours I will spend on social media sites will be time well spent developing my legion of followers.
Please feel free to post below with how you have rediscovered your social media joy.