Use Social Media To Empower Not Disempower
There’s a lot of talk about this and the impact of social media-driven ‘comparisonitis’ on people’s wellbeing. I get that. And it’s valid. In the early days of social media people were more easily manipulated and malleable about highlights reels versus reality. But as social media has grown into the beast it now is – and we know more about its trickery and deception – people are a lot more discerning, and arguably less prone to comparisonitis.
I remember hearing the saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy” (Theodore Roosevelt) years before social media existed, and it really resonated with me. Here’s why I choose not to buy – and never really have bought – into comparisonitis.
While everyone’s circumstances and mindsets are different and not everyone portrays “the perfect life” on social media, we understand that social media tends to be a highlights reel and should be taken with a large bucket of salt, in terms of its representation of life as a whole. And, some people focus on others’ posts (what the Joneses are doing) more than others.
Social media might amplify that experience for some, but it’s been going on forever – the Keeping Up with The Joneses mindset.
Why should you care about the freakin’ Joneses? Seriously. Why? How does it serve you, your business or your life? It really doesn’t.
My favourite things to see on social media are people’s travel photos and celebrations – embellished, filtered or otherwise. There’s so much whinging and negativity in the world; let’s appreciate the goodness, I say.
I travel as often as I can and engage in social/active/arts/cultural stuff as much as I can. I post happy snaps and everyday stuff (like food and beverages). Yes, I’m one of those people. I don’t do it to pretend to have “a fun, busy, perfect life” – far from it! I do it because I like using Facebook to (over)share and communicate with people far and wide. It’s the “mass email” for me, which I also used to engage in. Yes, I was one of those people too!
I am also acutely aware of how short life is, so I embrace it, get out and about as much as I can, and “do stuff” – and document it. The memories are in my noggin’, but I also love being able to look back on it.
I don’t post pics of me sitting on the couch watching TV, arguing with my husband, having a stressful day, or picking up dog-poop. That’s not because I don’t want people to know about these “alarming” aspects of my very normal, boring life or pretend they don’t exist; it’s because that stuff is even more mundane than what I ate for lunch!
The same goes for business personas and posts. We know people’s highlights reels are just that – highlights.
Some people are more competitive than others and some control others’ perception of them by embellishing and filtering to a larger degree. And perhaps those people suffer more from comparisonitis. So it’s a vicious cycle.
However… imagine the opposite. Imagine endless feeds of people whining all day. An endless stream of #firstworldproblems. Or, indeed, actual world problems. All. The. Time. Crikey. Please, no.
Enjoy the highlights reels, I say! Be happy for the Joneses. But if it occasionally gives you a pang of comparisonitis, put down the phone, step away from the ‘puter and remember… it’s a highlights reel.
I don’t love all social media platforms and don’t feel obliged to participate in all of them. I stick with the ones I do, omit the ones I don’t, and reluctantly tolerate the ones I feel I should still pay some attention to from a business point of view.
So, how can we use social media to empower – not disempower?
Only use social media platforms you enjoy engaging with. Follow people you enjoy engaging with, can be inspired by or learn from. If it’s negatively impacting you, limit your time on social media.
Like for likes, follow for follows, fake engagement – zzzzzzz. Follow huge numbers of people without the capacity to meaningfully engage – hello overwhelm! Follow people/pages/business you don’t resonate with, but, for whatever reason, you feel obliged to – pointless brain-drain.
It’s easy to spend (waste – albeit sometimes joyfully!) a lot of time on social media, so try to make it worthwhile. Life is short. Get on with it. Post what you like. Don’t give a shit what others are doing, unless it’s a positive experience for you… And, so long as you’re not hurting others, do what makes you happy.
As seen in Issue 20 of Roooar Magazine. Download the latest Roooar magazine here.
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Jeanette is a copywriter, editor, and self-confessed word-nerd. Apostrophe misuse (abuse!) drive her crazy. She works with you – and other collaborators – to create content, print or digital products to help you better communicate with your clients. Through her Think | Write | Collaborate | Create process, she develops quality content and products that are on-brand, on-message, and create engagement.
Find Jeanette at http://littlepinktypewriter.com.au.
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As a marketing strategist who started my business in the social media early years, I’ve spent a lot of time using and observing technology and how it impacts us and our business.
I’ve come to realise, now more than ever, there is good, bad, and ugly with technology.
Through Baked by Erica, I endeavour to spread joy and happiness to everyone I meet through delicious baked treats and use the profits from these treats to spread the joy and happiness further to a small farming community in the Philippines. Building an empire and changing lives, one cookie at a time!
Embracing technology can drive gains but there will always be a need for human connection. Businesses who can successfully combine both, will stay a cut above the rest.