“I am addicted to [Insert Social Media Network Here].”
“It’s like my phone is connected to my body.”
Have you ever heard someone say this? Have you ever said this about yourself? It’s okay, most people are.
I will admit that I have a little bit of an addiction to my phone. In the too recent past, I actually started sending and responding to text messages in the middle of the night— with no recollection of doing it. Sleep texting is a real thing, yo!
I can’t remember when this addiction started…
Ever since smart phones have come out, they have become our everything. Think about the last time you used a device that was meant for just one function— i.e. like an alarm to get up for work or school, a GPS for your car, a timer for that meal you’re cooking, or even a grocery list to check off at the store.
It’s rare, right? Our phones can do pretty much anything we want them to, and their functionality is multiplying by the day as new apps and iterations of our various smart phones become available to the public. It’s easy to use your phone for daily tasks because it’s right there, with you all of the time. I remember the days that I used a point and shoot camera for school events like homecoming with friends, or used a GPS watch for running to track my time and distance. Now, why would we bother, when we have all that and more in our pocket already?
Falling Down the Rabbit Hole
The biggest times I fall into the “trap” of social media are when I wake up, and when I go to bed. It’s a time suck! The internet is like a giant black hole of information. The amount of content on the internet is dizzying. It’s easily to follow the rabbit hole from your Facebook feed, to one blog, to Pinterest, to another blog, and then back to their Instagram feed. Then you wonder, “How did I even get to this page?!”
Raise your hand if you’ve ever done this.
Using Social Media to Grow Personal Brands or Businesses
As I grow my personal brand with my blog and photography business, I’m quickly learning that social media is a major key to success in this industry. In order to be “top of mind” for potential customers or readers, I have to stay current with marketing techniques. I also really enjoy the amount of engagement I get from these networks. It’s nice to feel like I can connect to real people in another city, state, or country with my content.
In order to stay more active on Instagram, I’ve decided to start using Later for my Instagram scheduling, which saves a ton of time and headache on a daily basis. It’s great because I can sit down for maybe 15-30 minutes once per week, create all my posts for the week, and schedule them to be posted whenever I’d like.
The only issue with this service is… I need to have my phone to confirm the post when I’ve scheduled a photo. Then, one of three things happens:
1) I ignore the notification on my phone and then forget to post what I’ve scheduled, or
2) I post it, and want to continue looking through my feed. (Ack, foiled again! Trapped again by the lure of the phone) or
3) I post it, and I put my phone away to continue the rest of my day. (Yay for marketing success and not falling down the rabbit hole, all at the same time!)
Today, I read a post from Two Drifters about quitting Snapchat. Amy raises some valid points about privacy, living in the moment, pressure to deliver quality content, and not being right for her brand. It made me think about my own social media struggles right now.
There’s no question that social media is a powerful marketing tool. I would argue that it’s the most effective as well given the amount of time that people dedicate their daily activities to it. In a way, it’s a necessary “evil” these days for various business and personal reasons.
- I want to produce content that generates engagement.
- I want to gain organic followers that are genuinely interested in what I write about.
- I want to keep up with the current marketing strategies.
- I want to cultivate an online portfolio.
- I want to find “my people.”
- I also want to stay in the moment when having lunch with a friend.
- I want to truly disconnect to enjoy a hike or traveling somewhere while I’m doing it— without constantly looking at phone screen.
- I don’t want to be one of those people that are so addicted to their phone that they can’t put it down when it matters.
- I don’t want to feel a sense of envy or jealousy when someone I know is doing something awesome.
- I don’t want to measure my success based on the amount of followers or likes I get on my accounts.
Social Media Envy
Okay, next question— Do you ever get a stab of jealousy when you see that friend from high school or college jet-setting around Europe or some exotic destination (again)? What about when that other friend posts those insanely perfect photos of her and her long term boyfriend?
Raise your glasses!
Isn’t that crazy that an internet version of someone can cause real jealousy? What’s with that?!
Apparently, we are not alone in this feeling. A study has been to show that envy develops “when you see your [Facebook] friends excelling or enjoying life in ways that you aren’t.”
“Dr. Hanna Krasnova, who led the study at the Humboldt-Universität, points out how different social interactions in social media vs. real life can be. “By and large, online social networks allow users unprecedented access to information on relevant others — insights that would be much more difficult to obtain offline.” (Source)
The study also noted that we would probably only be exposed to these photos and information when you are actually seeing your friend who went on that awesome vacation. But in general, you value your relationship with your friend sharing these experiences more than you envy their awesome vacation.
Real Life You vs. Social Media You
It’s tough to find the balance in my “real life” versus “social media life” with gaining the benefits of social media, without obsessing or neglecting my accounts.
Let’s use Twitter versus Instagram as an example—
Twitter is a very “in the moment” type of social media. You can find current trends in that moment as they are happening. My guilty pleasure is watching all the funny The Bachelorette tweets about every episode, making fun of the guys. It’s a great resource for live moments. My struggle is Twitter is one of those things you have to be on very frequently to constantly, to truly reap the benefits of having an account.
Instagram is my social media network of choice for a couple reasons. If anyone has been reading for a while, they know that I love photos. I take at least one photo per day almost every day. It’s documentation for daily life. While you can easily miss followers’ photos like you can with Twitter, it’s also easy to scroll back to previous days because most active users will post anywhere from once a day to once a week. Depending on how many people you follow, you could easily see most of your friends’ posts if you check it once a day. Twitter is so momentary that it’s difficult to use it the same way, and honestly, most tweets are passing, current thoughts anyways. Another major Insta-positive for me is the visual factor. Photos are so personal, I find it to be truly social, whereas other medias are generally focused on data or text only.
I would say that I am generally one of those people who have their phone on their person most of the day, but I genuinely try not to be actively using it the whole day. I try to limit its use to phone calls, texts, and Spotify in the car.
One thing I’ve found to make me feel reconnected to the real world is going for a walk in the park after work most afternoons with Brighton. We talk about our day, our goals, and what’s going on in our lives— both personally and career wise. During this time, usually 30 minutes to an hour(ish), we both keep our phones in our pockets and don’t let them distract us. (Well, that’s the goal…)
It’s a short time each day, but it’s enough to get me outdoors and, more importantly, disconnected. I also notice a bump in energy after our walks. Though I’m sure it’s a combination of things, spending time outdoors, in the sunlight, unattached to my phone, and that light exercise gives me an extra perk for the rest of the evening.