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If you know me at all, you know I’m *quite* a fan of social media. I’ve helped a lot of people grow and develop robust social media followings that have helped them grow their businesses and the step into the lives they want to lead. But it’s not without its issues. And it’s not all sunshine and rainbows if not used well.
We know that we’re influenced by the people we spend our time with. But that doesn’t mean it has to be face to face time. In fact, we can be hugely influenced by the people we spend our online time with too.
For many of us, particularly over the last 18 months or so, we have spent a good chunk of time on social media. We’ve been watching friends navigate the pandemic in their own way, show moments of joy and despair, get excited about new beginnings and pivots, and share in the lows that life inevitably serves up along the way. It’s been a lifeline for so many of us but it has had a less than desirable impact on people too. And it’s easy to see why.
The thing about social media is that what you see isn’t necessarily a true reflection of real life or real business. You see people posting a split second of a day that’s gone well for them. You see a high that they’ve achieved. You see them smiling with their perfect family.
And this is seldom the whole story. The split second of the day that’s gone well could be the only second in a series of weeks that that person felt was sharable. Or that high could have been followed by a serious low. The thing they’ve achieved might have cost them sleep, happiness and sanity- but you won’t necessarily see that from the post. And the family? They may have had blazing rows every the hour, on the hour that day, but that bit wasn’t documented.
The thing is, many people don’t share their lows on social media. Social media is a marketing platform for many businesses and brands, so documenting the disasters isn’t always the best business plan. And as an influencer, you need to look after your brand too.
Now, a lot of the time, most of us can see social media for what it is. A highlight reel. Yes, there are a growing number of accounts that show the ‘warts and all’ and I love this, but a lot of people show the highs. And some even manipulate the truth and work to show something as true that isn’t… but that is for another day(!). When we’re in the right headspace, we see all this stuff and it goes right over the top of our head. We don’t take it in and we definitely don’t let it take up any valuable brain space.
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But when we’re feeling less than happy, these posts can make us feel like we’re underachieving. That we’re failing. Not worthy. Hopeless. Or it might be that you find people you know to show a ‘fake’ version of real life too much and it just straight up angers you and distracts you from what you’re doing.
We can not control what people post on social media. But we can control what we consume. And I would urge you to consider this if you’re finding social media is making you feel anything less than how you want to feel.
Of course, you can unlike people on Facebook and unfollow them on Instagram. But if you’re hoping to ever have any kind of connection to them, that’s not something I usually advise. Both of these are 2021 versions of a slap in the face. That might be something you’re happy with, but if not, there are other things you can do…
On Instagram, you can mute people. You have the option of muting people’s Stories and/or Posts. And this means that these people won’t appear in your feed as they would do usually. This gives you the flexibility to pop on over and see what they’re up to/engage, etc when you want but not have it forced upon you. It’s also really easy to unmute too.
On Facebook, you can snooze a friend for 30 days if they’re just getting a bit much/you think the way you feel will pass. You can also unfollow and unfollow Pages too. This will mean you’re still connected but the content won’t come up on your feed.
And, the great thing with all of the above is that they’re none the wiser, meaning that you’re taking a step back rather than severing a connection.