Escaping Social Media: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
It may or may not have escaped your attention that I took quite a long hiatus from all things social media and what started out as a much needed unplug to spend time with loved ones quickly turned into a 'I'm so busy there's simply no time to post' thing. Taking time away from the screen can be a double-edged sword in that it has good qualities of allowing you to recharge but if you're trying to establish an online presence it can be harder to get back on track again. I think establishing a balance is key but every now and again sometimes it's a bit too much and a break is needed. Here are some of the reasons why it's both a good thing and a not so glorious thing. How do you feel about having some breathing space from social media?
T H E G O O D
#01 || There's time to focus on you and what makes you happy, the fact is when you're attempting to establish a brand / presence / blog then the best way is to utilise social media but it can be an all consuming task to find your place on the internet plus can mean you push other things aside like self-care. We all have a life outside of social media and not only that but we all have differing passions that make us insanely happy. Stopping even just for an afternoon to indulge in these joys can make all the difference, some ways I like to spend my time away from a screen include: visiting country houses / gardens, reading, occasional gym visits, family bbqs, tidying & listening to music.
#02 || You can take things a little slower and come back with a bang, the power of social media is that it's instantaneous and immediately connects you to your audience however trying to keep up on all these updates or the infinite scroll is unachieveable. Often there's notifications for 'news' items or updates you haven't even asked for, it's intense trying to take it all in. Time away allows you to take things at your own pace not at a speed dictated by anyone else. Pressing pause on your internet engagement can do wonders for your attitude in how you approach things with some new motivational routines.
#03 || Those blogging deadlines won't loom as much in your mind, if you're like me and have a job with full time hours and run a blog you'll know it can feel like you're being pulled from pillar to post as you want to create but sometimes other things come first including your mental well being (and trying not to suck at the job that pays your wages). I'm not ashamed to say that I really don't make money from my space on any regular basis but I have had the chance to work with some brands on posts. It can be difficult as you want to make content you're proud of yet also speaks to your audience and that the brand likes it. Blogging is no less a job so you're fully entitled to put on your out of hours email and not accept new jobs till you're back.
T H E B A D
#01 || There may be feelings of being preoccupied / guilt over blogging work you aren't doing, every time I don't post or link there is a pang of guilt as I feel I'm not using my time effectively as I should be, which can be an unhealthy train of thought as previously mentioned there are so many things to consider apart from social media in your life that setting time for every single one can be so tough. It is entirely possible to love something and still need a break from it, being wrapped up in 1 thing for hours / days / weeks / months on end isn't always the greatest for clarity. Despite this you do feel bad if there's work you're not doing as there's the possibility that it 'could' all count towards your brand and push your site to new heightens - which you're missing out on. The fact is a break is always a necessity as it allows you to remove yourself from the situation, come back with some fresh perspective and motivation but trying to reconcile those emotions can be a little harder said than done.
#02 || Often when you take some time away you can get out of practice and feel a bit disjointed with your processes - it can throw things out of sync once you step away even if it's needed, this can then breed a feeling of uneasiness and lack of confidence in what you do. It can be hard to find your rhythm again once you break it but sometimes a jump start can help things progress and you might discover a few new links of how to do things.
T H E U G L Y
#01 || Comparison can rear it's ugly head and what with all your inspirations seemingly winning at what they do best, 'comparison is the thief of joy' is such an accurate statement that it hurts as you're having to take a break. It's important to find inspirations from other very talented individuals but it's meant to help you to higher heights with your own ideas not hinder you as you feel you're not as good. Even though you're happy that folks are awesome in their own fields sometimes you do get a little blue as you're nowhere near that level (despite the fact you could be at completely different moments in your blogging journey plus you don't see what goes on behind their scenes). Comparison can be a natural by-product of wanting to do well but instead of turning it into inadequate feelings it's about working towards your own goals even if they're at a slower pace.
#02 || The worry that your numbers will drop, it's not the motivation to keep on blogging and not the reason we got into it but no-one can deny that it does hurt a little when there's a dip in your statistics, it adds fuel to the comparison fire. The danger comes when it becomes some kind of race to get 'followers' rather than folks who genuinely get something from what you put out / that you get something from. When you leave social media for a bit there is a worry that all that hard work you put into establishing meaningful connections with your audience can go out the window but it's good to acknowledge that:
#01 || The drop in numbers isn't always as bad as it seems
#02 || Those people interested in what you do will stick around
#03 || Audiences are entitled to press unfollow & change their likes - it's a natural process for anyone
#04 || There will be work involved to get those numbers back but it can be a motivation to try new things
#05 || A step away from looking at numbers can be a welcome break in terms of your own self-induced pressure
H O W D O Y O U F E E L W H E N Y O U T A K E A S O C I A L
M E D I A B R E A K ???