I love my technology, I love my fancy phone, I love apps and how easy they make my life and I love connecting with people through social media.
But I started to question if I was elevating my love for social media higher than it needed to be. So I kind of tested myself to see if my suspicions were true. I started to monitor how it made me feel when I got off, how much time I was actually spending and then whether I could maybe cut back.
You know what I found?... I have never got to the end of a day and wished that I spent more time on Instagram. No! I may wish that I made time to call my sister or wished that I was more present with my boys or my husband. I never climb into bed thinking "I wish I had time for one more scroll through my feed"
Because of my journey I thought I'd introduce a few thoughts to get you thinking about your own social media relationship. I mostly refer to Instagram because that’s my thing, as we explore this topic, think about the thing or social media platform or phone app that you spend most of your time on.
Did you know that social media and certain apps are designed to keep you on there for as long as possible. The longer you're on there the more exposure the big brands are getting and they will use any tactics necessary to keep you there. You are in control, if you need to, set a timer for yourself and stick to it!
Ask yourself what you want to get out of your time on social media? Are you getting on there to keep in the loop with what your friends and family are doing? Is it something you do to unwind? Or is there more to it?.... When you get off, ask yourself, did it do what you wanted it to?
One thing that I've had conversations with many of my friends about is comparison... It can be crippling, but surely that's not the intention of the one posting? Or is it?... Do you really want to be following that person? There is a song called ‘Hollywood Kids’ by Selahphonic, its opening line says; “Uploaded pictures of myself living the dream for an hour. Knowing you could only see what I want you to know”
Is what your scrolling through a real representation?
When I'm tempted to compare I need to stay aware... what is it that I'm feeling threatened by? What do I wish was different?
Is it something I can change - or really want to when I'm away from the feed?
Another thing that draws us is the entertainment factor... what I want to ask you in regards to this is; Is it taking you away from real life?
Social media and our relationships can so easily become an addiction... Someone I know was in a conference, as she listened to the speaker she realized that her relationship with Instagram had become very unhealthy. She felt compelled to immediately delete the app from her phone. The session ended and as she was leaving the auditorium she grabbed her phone to check what she'd missed on Instagram - to her surprise, she had completely forgotten that she'd deleted it! In that moment she knew that she'd done the right thing.
Can I ask a question of you? How long does it take from when you wake up to when you jump on to your favourite social media app?
Does this add value to your day? What does it do for you? Honestly - what sort of feelings or attitudes does this start your day with?
Could you replace it with something else? What would start your day off differently?
What about not 'liking' a post because you don't want them to know that you've seen it or because you think they have enough likes… Why do we do this?!
What about notifications? What is your response when your phone notifies you of something? And I don’t mean an actual phone call!
I need to tell you; please don't feel judged by me or anyone else on our team, this is something that none of us do perfectly, our desire is just to bring into the light how we do in this area and to make sure we're choosing our behaviour, not just sliding into habits that we didn't actually decide for ourselves.
So let's talk for a minute about the way you engage with social media.
Have you ever thought about what message you want to communicate when you post or comment? Or how you want people to feel by seeing your content?
You might say, "I only have a handful of friends or followers, what I'm saying doesn't really matter"
If you can change the attitude or mindset of one person's social media experience in that moment, does that matter? That one person could be having a really awful day and you have an opportunity to make them smile for a moment, or make them think about something a little differently.
How we engage really does matter. Do we change the tone of someone's feed with posts of value or do we add to the noise? Facebook's opening line is "Hi Karli, what's on your mind?" You don't have to tell them every little thing that is on your mind! And you get to choose what parts you share.
What are your key messages? I've heard people talk about how they like to stick to 2 or 3 key themes when they post. Like their love for cooking and food and their pet. Or their kids and their love for fashion. What would be your key themes?
As your pondering this it may help to think about who you are speaking to when you post? If all your followers are made up of your interstate family, they're probably going to love seeing posts about your family enjoying our amazing coastline, they may not be too interested in seeing you partying with a bunch of people that they don't know.
What you post about matters, this is your voice, it's a representation of who you are and what matters to you. One of the first thing that employers will do now when considering you for a job opportunity is Google you or stalk your Facebook. What are they going to see?
So let's be those girls who flood social media with genuine posts, that support unity and value. Posts that make people feel GOOD.
How? Be real. Know what's important to you and stick to this. Being real doesn't always mean posting a pic of your mess or your kid having a tantrum because sometimes even these seem a bit 'look at me, I'm so authentic'.
Margaret Thatcher said "If you have tell people you're a lady, you're probably not" Same with authenticity, if you feel you have to tell people you're authentic, you're probably not. Come back to your overall message, what are you about?
There is a lot to this topic I know. Can I encourage you, through the discussion to not instantly lean to the ‘we hate social media and all that it represents’ slant! Let’s still be embracing of the good that can come from it (connection, education and promotion) Let’s be women who are aware of how it makes us feel, how it makes others feel and the why behind our social media engagement.
Enjoy getting to know each other as you talk about this topic and what it means to you.