On Jan. 9, I was asked to be a part of a dynamic panel as a part of the Moguls in Media event that was hosted by Darcel Laurie in Philadelphia. It was a phenomenal evening and the room was filled with such positive and driven women. Panels will always leave you with a resounding thought and this time around for me, it was the stock that we put into social media. I forget how exactly it came out, but I had to blurt out “Social media is a tool!” And so I figured I would elaborate on the blog.
The other day, I was thinking about how fast social media has really become an integral part of our lives. I was laughing with my significant other the other day about how when we met just 5 years ago, I think I only had a Facebook and a Gchat. Really, in 5 short years, we now have Instagram, Periscope, and Snapchat among others. And for me I now have a Twitter (I was late on that. LOL.) But you get the picture. It’s unbelievable how much things have changed.
With that, we all know that there are amazing opportunities at our finger tips because of social media. I mean, I have no idea what I would be doing if it weren’t for social media. I’d probably be writing book proposals and crying at the rejections instead of being able to self-publish and market my own books. So don’t get me wrong, I love social media. But nonetheless, I also see what it is doing to us and we have to work diligently to make sure that we are keeping REAL life in perspective.
In the discussion at the panel, we talked about how much of other people’s lives we consume. We don’t even realize it based on the fact that we can scroll through multiple posts in mere seconds as CEO/Founder of Uniquely You Summit, Shaleah Sutton mentioned that Saturday. And it’s true. We WASTE so much time looking at other people’s lives meanwhile, we should actually be living our own. And so social media has created a great global awareness and also a detrimental, “We’re aware of everything, everyone is doing all the time,” type culture as well.
And we have to STOP! Let me tell you, I am guilty of the comparison game. I mean so much so that I even had to unfollow some people so that I wouldn’t have a negative reaction every time they posted something. I know, so childish. URGH. But as much as I tried to push the feelings down, they would pop right back up and so I figured it best to guard my heart and my timeline. Nonetheless, I am in a completely different space now. Looking at social media as any type of representation of real life is just stupid.
Click to Tweet/// Looking at social media as any type of representation of real life is just stupid.
Harsh, I know, but we really have to say it that way to ourselves so that maybe we will actually stop doing it. What I shared with the ladies at the event was, my social media is a tool. My Instagram has an aesthetic. I think once the newness of IG wore off we all realized that no one cared about the cupcake we ate or random “this is where I am” photos. People wanted to see nice visuals and so we adjusted. My work is a brand and so my social media reflects that. And some people will separate their social media to have one for business and one for personal, but I don’t have a need to do that. I am completely fine without sharing my whole life with strangers that could either be wishing me well or secretly wishing me harm. Don’t worry, you guys aren’t strangers, you’re blog readers. It takes a lot more effort for someone to come to your site than to troll your timeline and for that effort I know that you’re only here to share in the goodness!
But really, it’s a tool and should be used as such. Maybe there are some people out there that post every aspect of their life, but I guarantee, it is not most. I am not posting pics of my relationship in the midst of an argument. Nor am I posting if an event was completely a bomb and no one showed up (Just an example, I’ve posted about all my events). You get the point? It’s CURATED content. That means it’s organized and selected, not just a running reel of someone’s life. We sound really stupid when we think we know someone’s life because we follow them on an app on our phones. And let’s be real, how many times have you seen someone who follows you on social media in real life and they don’t even know or recognize you? I kindly delete those people. HAHA! But I mean really, I am the type of person who will come up to you if I follow you on social media because I think it’s really creepy to follow people you wouldn’t say hello to in person. It’s ODD!
So, as many great opportunities as social media has afforded me, I am very strategic about what I will share. Listen, private pages or not kids – that information is out there so you should be very conscious of what you’re posting. Snapchat was the best thing since sliced bread until people realized you could screenshot. HA! Like really. Nothing is ever really private so make sure that no matter what your privacy settings are, that you are posting things that you would be comfortable with other people seeing. As business owners and as writers pitching and all that good stuff, your social media should be a good representation of yourself. There are REAL business opportunities coming by way of social media.
I once had someone tell me some things are meant for friends not Twitter. So sometimes I text my fiancé or bestie instead of posting random Tweets that have nothing to do with nothing. This is the process behind really using social media as a tool as opposed to a diary. And just to be clear, I am not knocking you if you use social media for personal. That’s completely fine. Everyone is not a business or a brand and that’s perfectly normal. But even in the personal arena, it’s important to keep social media in perspective.
Promise me that in 2016 you will stop thinking everyone else’s lives are better than yours. Really. And take some time away if you need to. I will talk about my fast in a bit on the blog and include the fact that I also decided to lay off social media. I still pop on to check my notifications to communicate with all of you, but I have not been wasting countless hours overloading my brain with everyone else’s data and it kind of feels really good. Barring the fact that I had no idea David Bowie died. But do whatever you have to do to get into a healthier mind state when it comes to social media. Use it for what it is and get on with your life. Remember, life is about living, so get out there tyke and put that phone away.
You can also check out my article on Essence.com about social media and relationships! 12 Ways to Avoid Ruining Your Relationship with Social Media.
So I know I am not the only one. How have you combatted comparing your real life to people’s curated timelines? Or are you still struggling? Tell me about it in the comments!