Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about social media.
When I started my business in 2008 I created my Facebook & Twitter accounts because of a social media course I was taking, so I’ve always looked at social media from the business perspective and how I use it to connect and engage with my audience.
I’m grateful my kids were never fanatical about it (at 21 & 17 it’s pretty much what their generation knows, but neither really got heavily into it). When they did get into it, it wasn’t for very long (both have accounts on all the platforms, although my 17 yr. old doesn’t have an FB account. My 21 yr. old daughter does but that’s more because she has clients and works with me sometimes).
So I don’t have the same frustrations as some other parents might because their kids are glued to their phones.
What has made me take a step back and think about social media is the fact that we’re in a place where the platforms are maturing and audiences are getting wiser (and for the sake of this post I’m not referring to the ‘influencer’ space of people who have created massive followings without providing value. The ‘celebrity’ influencer space isn’t something I even care to discuss, let alone have an opinion about).
Throw in the challenging political climate we’re all living in (no, I’m not going to get into politics either), and social media can make anyone feel like they’re losing their mind.
Here’s what I don’t get…
… and I’m totally going to date myself here… but if you don’t like what you see, CHANGE THE CHANNEL.[click_to_tweet tweet=”In a time of keyboard warriors and pissing matches, some people seem to have forgotten that they don’t have to get offended because someone else has a different opinion.” quote=”In a time of keyboard warriors and pissing matches, some people seem to have forgotten that they don’t have to get offended because someone else has a different opinion.” theme=”style6″]
In a time of keyboard warriors and pissing matches, some people seem to have forgotten that they don’t have to get offended because someone else has a different opinion. We’ve lost the ability to have civil discourse (watch the HBO show John Adams if you want to get an idea of civil discourse). The idea that you have a right to your opinion and someone else doesn’t is ridiculous. That doesn’t mean you have to agree either, just remember that you’re the one choosing to get pissed off. No one is doing it to you.
Feel free to unfollow, mute, unfriend… do whatever you have to do to create the social media experience that works for you.
Of course, that would mean being self-responsible, and it’s much easier to point fingers and blame other people.
I see this all the time in the marketing space as well.
People get completely worked up over the way someone else is doing business, whether it’s how they’re marketing or the way they’re selling.
Newsflash: You don’t have to buy from them.
Nor do you have to follow them, subscribe to them, or even pay attention to them.
However, it’s much easier to bitch and complain about things than spend the time mastering your craft, engaging with people, providing value, and selling.
You have to sell if you want to own a business. Selling isn’t smarmy and using well-written copy that makes people take out their credit cards isn’t bad. Does that mean you have to do things the way everyone else does?
But if you haven’t taken the time to learn, study, implement and test things, your opinion doesn’t carry much weight, does it?
At the same time, you have to have enough self-awareness to know whether or not something feels right for you. Go for it. In fact, go ALL in on being you, just do more than talk about it.
So if you’re feeling pissy about social media, here’s a list of things you can do to start shifting your experience.
And… if any of these things rub you the wrong way or you’re ready to start arguing about it, I challenge you to step back, take a few deep breaths, and get honest with yourself.
- Delete your accounts: yep, a little dramatic maybe, but if you don’t feel good spending time on social media, why are you doing it?
- Remove the apps from your phone: If you’re not ready to completely delete your accounts, then what about removing the apps that trigger you most often from your phone? Even for a few days. See what happens and how you feel.
- Take responsibility: Novel idea, right? Start unfollowing or muting people, pages, etc. that trigger you. I have very little political or negative people/commentary in my social feeds. It’s pretty much friends, family, marketing, and animals. And guess what? It works for me. In the infamous words of the wonderful Dr. Wayne Dyer, “what you think of me is none of my business.”
- Try reframing things: Most of us are so busy in our own minds that we don’t often take a step back and try to have a little empathy for the person on the other side. You have no idea what’s going on in their life. When I see something that bothers me and I’m debating on whether or not to comment I take a moment to ask myself “what will this accomplish?” It’s also possible the person spewing whatever triggered you are also just a complete numpty… and if that’s the case, why on earth would you feed that?
- It’s not about you: Life is hard. We all have ups and downs, none of us get through this life unscathed. The way someone is living their life is about them. Not you.
- Try giving: Nothing will get me out of a crappy mood faster than doing something nice for someone else. If you can’t get out of your own way, support someone else. That’s the “social” side of social media. It wasn’t created so you could push your content at people. It’s about relationships. Take a couple seconds to hop on someone else’s live stream, leave a kind word, or share what they’ve done. In the infamous words of Zig Ziglar, “the best way to get what you want is to help enough other people get what they want.”
- Simply Be Kind: Kindness goes a long way. When in doubt, be kind. Sometimes that means offering encouragement, other times it means saying nothing at all. It’s O.K. to keep your mouth shut.
- Stop being generic: You don’t have to comment, like, or engage in everything. I see way too many people leaving bland and generic comments. If you really don’t have something ‘real’ to say, that’s O.K. Give a little love with a like and move on.
- Take a break and unplug: As much as I love what I do, I know that when I unplug because I’m not ‘feeling’ it, I’m that much better when I get back at it. I’ve let go of feeling like I need to be everywhere, all the time. I trust myself and show up with intention and integrity when it works for me.
- Don’t be a dick: Just DON’T. I truly believe that when we’re grounded in who we are and what we’re doing, we don’t need to make anyone else wrong.
- Be honest: We’re living in a fascinating time when we can document and share every part of our lives, yet we still only see the ‘highlight reel’ most of the time. You don’t need to dump everything on everyone, but when you can be honest and share the struggles and challenges in a thoughtful way, I can guarantee you that your audience will trust you more. Baby step your way into this and do it with the intention to let someone else know they’re not alone.
- Stop defending yourself: You owe no one an explanation for your beliefs, choices, or lifestyle. Be a good human being and you’ll see a whole lot more good in other people.
- Do the work: Nothing new about this one. If you’re busy doing your thing and contributing, you have way less time to engage in the drama. We all use social media as a distraction… the less work you do the more you’re going to be triggered by all the bullshit you see. Go do your thing, create, share, and connect. It’s not rocket science.
All that being said, I have moments just like everyone else.
It’s taken me a lot of personal work and shifting of perspectives to get to this point and I know that this is a lifelong journey, but I refuse to use up the currency of today on drama.
I’ve let go of a few friendships in the last year because they weren’t working. These were friendships I would never have thought I would have let go, but not everyone is supposed to stay in our lives forever. I realized the one thing these friendships had in common was that each of these people didn’t do the work, which at some point, creates a victim mentality.
I thrive when I have the right relationships in my life (as do most people). I’ve accomplished more in the past 8 months without these friendships than in the prior few years. The people you choose to surround yourself with is vitally important, be conscious of who you give your time to.
Choose to create the experience and lifestyle that works for you, and yes, this applies to social media.
Life is too short my friends.