Social Media is Not the Villain
Is it completely ironic that I hear the most complaints about social media and its addictive use in posts on social media? Seriously, this happens all the time. I see so many people posting about social media being the villain and them being the victims. That’s why I wanted to address this issue. It’s come up a lot more lately because, right now, at the time that I’m recording this video, there’s a new documentary out on Netflix that addresses the realities of social media platforms. This documentary rather dramatically presents the truths that these platforms are engineered to keep us engaged, keep us coming back and keep us not leaving in the first place.
Hey, that’s a reality. They’re in business. They’ve created something very compelling. They did so and continue to do so based on their knowledge of how our brains function. The inviting aspects of the tools that they’re creating, frankly, that’s very real, but it is nothing new in the world of marketing. I fully acknowledge, though, it is more pervasive because of the nature of these platforms and the fact that we’re all holding little mini computers in our hands basically 24/7, and we can’t avoid the messaging. Yet I say that and, yeah, we can because the same human brilliance that created these platform exists in us and with awareness, attention, and action, we can change how we engage with these platforms.
Here’s the deal, you guys. I’ve seen so many people be really intense and have these visceral responses as they’ve gained knowledge about how social platforms work. I have known this for a long while. I use social. I was an early adopter of social media for business. As a marketer, I embraced it. I really got on board in 2008, got a mentor in social media and really got into it because I could see that was where we were going not just for marketers, but as a society, very compelling, and I love technology. I’ve been able to work from home for nearly 20 years, thanks to the connectivity of all my technology. Pretty amazing. So social media was just one more phenomenal way for me to do what I do professionally, to stay connected with family and friends. I really dig it, generally speaking. But I, like you, have a human brain, and I fully admit I got sucked in into habitual use somewhat addictively, using social media at all hours, defaulting to scrolling when my mind could have been on something more relevant, urgent or useful.
Years ago, I realized I needed to get that in check. As someone who uses social media professionally, derives probably 85% of her income at the time of this recording from social media marketing, I couldn’t step away. I couldn’t shut my accounts down. I couldn’t detox or go on a sabbatical or whatever we call it when people try to nix their use of social media. I needed to manage it so that I could remain successful using it, but not be swallowed whole by it.
Years ago, I became acquainted with some of the facts that are now coming to light, for those of you who are new to the particular documentary or reporting on this issue, how the anticipation of a like on Facebook sparks the dopamine in my brain. That’s a reward hormone that keeps me coming back. I gained some basic knowledge that helped me really start to hone in on how to manage this effectively. By understanding my own brain and my own tendencies and then setting my own standards, I was able to really wrangle my social media use so that it is my tool that I use on my terms and I’m not a puppet to it. Frankly, if I ever have the chance to hit pause and not use it for many hours or over the weekend, I am totally cool with that. I don’t twitch. I don’t fret. I’m more than happy to step away, but it’s very brief, and I come back to it with intelligence and just innate control. It’s not some big ‘discipline/willpower’ effort, and that is a huge part of what I provide you in terms of teaching in my digital decluttering course that I’m offering online that you can sign up for.
But even if you don’t take that course, you certainly don’t have to, I wanted to share some really valuable things that can help you manage your social media.
So, right now, if you are new to learning the realities of how these platforms are engineered and you are very much in a victim mentality and think that social media is them trying to track us and know all about us and you feel like there’s this animosity and this fear, my friend, I so hope that you will hit pause right now. This is your human superpower to create a space between stimulus and response. I want you to neutralize your perception of social media.
Regardless of these details, some of which are just proven facts, social media is a thing. It’s a way we communicate. It’s this thing we can use or not use. The people who created these platforms are in business. Probably you’re in business, too. So you understand perhaps what a motivation might be for someone to make a platform that’s very engaging—but neutralize this topic, y’all. Social media is not your enemy. The creators of social media are not some collective ‘they’ who from day one were out to get you. There is no villain, no victim, so neutralize it as you approach it.
Of course, in that same breath, recognize that people who are posting there are not posting in a neutral fashion. They are posting in a way to evoke emotion. They are posting in a way to create reaction. That’s part of, frankly, how the game is played. Once you know this, you certainly don’t have to be a pawn in that game.
Think about if you watch the particular documentary that is currently circulating at the time I’m recording this video. Think how they presented the information: the foreboding music behind all the narrative and interview dialogue. Imagine that same documentary minus the intense music. It becomes more of a statement of fact. Those facts may be pretty weighty, and they may evoke some emotion. But without all the nuanced lighting and that dramatic music, it’s a very different deal. The idea of neutralizing situations so that you can assess them intelligently and with a measured approach applies to your use of social media. But that is a meta-skill that you can apply throughout your life and should apply throughout your life. So let’s hit pause and neutralize this.
Now, I invite you to ask who are they anyway? Many of these platforms were started just because the technology and the opportunity were there. There’s not a vast conspiracy. Obviously, over the years, knowledge of how these things work and can be so very engaging has become more pervasive and is being used as such. But, again, the people behind these platforms are human beings just like you’re a human being. With enough knowledge–you don’t have to understand all of it–but you can understand enough to make intelligent choices about how you use and engage with social media.
You are not a puppet on a stage. You have the ability to manage and lead how you use social media regardless of the tactics that they’re employing. I truly believe that because I’m an example of it. So, again, I do acknowledge there are bad actors on social media that have these tools and understand how to use them and have ill intent. But, guess what, there are just as many using it for good. So, more than anything, I invite you to come off of autopilot in your use of social media.
On my website, I have a free audio that you can download. You sign up for my email list, and I’ll send you this audio. It shares just a really great, basic life lesson that can help you get out of a spin cycle. If you’re doing something repetitively, you don’t understand why, this audio that I have for free on my website can help you on the path to get past that. I invite you to sign up for my email list and download that because I genuinely believe it’s extremely helpful, and so much of what you can learn there would apply to your social media use if you are feeling overwhelmed by it. But, basically, this audio that I want to share with you helps you get off of autopilot to arrive in situations where your mental CEO is in charge and not at the effect of all the things surrounding it.
So I really hope you’ll download that, but here are a few things that you can do now to help you get past all the social media drama.
Stop Snacking on Social Media: First of all, if you really feel like you’re going too much or doing too much social media, I want you to decree right now no more snacking on social media. What’s a snack? It happens between meals, and it usually happens because you’re bored or you have a habit. It’s a distraction. So, if you don’t want to walk away from social media entirely, look at your use of it as maybe one or two meals a day. So carve some time where you want to engage. Perhaps you use it for business, and you need to do that or you want to use it for your personal life to stay in touch with folks. But define that time. I would not give it too much time in your day. But set aside that moment where you are going to use social media, and then do not revisit it as a snack in between. Seriously, that can be incredibly helpful.
Minimize Posting & Participating: I also invite you to post and engage minimally. One of the beautiful tricks on the social platforms is that when you post, then you anticipate the likes and the comments, and you get notifications and you have to click when you see there’s a notification waiting on you. So, as you learn to temper and manage your use of social media, I invite you to reduce the frequency of your posts and avoid or minimize your commenting on other people’s posts so that you’re less prone to want to go over and snack on social outside of the times that you designated to use your social platforms.
This is true across all social platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, even LinkedIn and, to a degree, Pinterest. All these very popular sites use a lot of the same engagement tools. So you as CEO of your life can manage your use of the social platforms and help temper your own engagement and frequency.
Nix Notifications: Do this right now. As soon as you stop watching this video, nix your notifications entirely. Turn those puppies off. You do not, not, not, not need to be pinged all the time with stuff happening on social media.
I have no notifications for social media on my phone. Guess what, I do social media for a living. I proactively go to those platforms with regularity throughout my day to check on things. I don’t go and snack, snack, snack. Again for me, it’s a little different because this is what I do for a living, but I go with regularity and intention. I deal with what’s there and then I move on to other important tasks for my day. I invite you to do the same.
These are just a few tips that can help you rein it in. But, again, I want you to neutralize. I want you to stop snacking. I want you to post and engage minimally so that you’re not compelled to constantly go back, and turn off the notifications right now. So very important.
Social media is not your enemy. It is not a villain. Hey, we use social media to find and reach out to you so that you would be aware of who I am and the courses that I offer you, so it can serve a great purpose. The cool thing that I’m doing (I think it’s cool) is I want to teach you how to use it with reason and as a tool for good in your life. I’m not going to use a bunch of social media once we’ve connected to continue to purvey my message to you. I’m present there. I use those platforms so that people can find me and benefit from what I have to offer. I want to grow my business using social, but I’m not starting a Facebook group. I’m not doing a bunch of online engagement in that way, because I want you off of there and living your life.
So, if this intrigues you and you want to know more, you want to take the deep dive, I do hope you’ll consider my digital decluttering course. I want you to get your life back. Social media is just one aspect of what I cover in that course. I deal with all aspects of your digital life. I come at it very practical, tactical and reasonably. I don’t want to add complication. I want to simplify, and I want you to find the system that works for you long term. This is not about hacks and gimmicks and new apps. It is about real life change that will improve your daily life.
The technology can work to your advantage. It can support a great life, but you got to step in front of it, and I can help you do that. I can help you digitally declutter and lead yourself very well. So thanks for your time, and I hope to see you there.
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