Social Media Exhaustion
As I sit in front of my computer preparing to write this post, I am reminded that this virtual world called Online is like an endless ocean.
An ocean that has its rough tides and its tranquility. An ocean that when navigating it, requires you to be 100% focused, alert and present in order to effectively steer your ship (yourself) to your destination. An ocean that, if you are not careful enough, can also throw you off and sink you in.
Like with everything in life, there needs to be a balance.
That’s also very relevant to the Social Media reality, which brings me to a topic that is very important and that we all have to start acknowledging the reality and effects of: Social Media Exhaustion (or Social Media Fatigue).
I have been seeing the topic of Social Media Exhaustion being talked about increasingly.
What is Social Media Exhaustion or Fatigue?
“Social media fatigue refers to social media users’ tendency to pull back from social media when they become overwhelmed with too many social media sites, too many friends and followers and too much time spent online maintaining these connections.”Technopedia
For Social Media users, whether on a personal or business capacity, it is an everyday ‘race’ to keep up with everything.
Keeping up with connections.
Keeping up with engagement
Keeping up with new features
Keeping up with content creation and distribution
Keeping up with the competition
Keeping up with algorithm changes
Keeping up with Follower growth
…. and the list goes on.
People see their social media success and popularity as well as the effect that the ever changing algorithms can have on their following, their engagement and other similar factors as a reflection of themselves and/or their brand.
As a result, pressure and anxiety are elevated.
In the 2018 eMarketer article “Are Young Adults Growing Tired of Constant Social Connectivity?“, author Jennifer King quotes a Hill Holliday survey conducted by Origin (December 2017) that reports that:
“more than half of young adults ages 18 to 24 said they’re “seeking relief from social media.”.
She goes on to highlight that many (34% of those surveyed) have gone so far as to delete their social media accounts as a result.
There are many reasons people are feeling exhausted, fatigued or even down right fed up with Social Media.
Some of the reasons for quitting Social Media are presented in the following eMarketer infographic (based on data from the survey mentioned above):
Reasons that US Young Adult* Social Media Users Consider Quitting Social Media, Dec 2017 (% of respondents) (Source: eMarketer – Hill Holliday survey conducted by Origin)
Whoa! That is quite the data!
This raises the question – How you do you deal with Social Media Exhaustion?
- Do you monitor and simply manage your time on Social Media?
- Do you go on an extended Social Media hiatus?
- Do you permanently delete your accounts?
That varies for each individual, but fact remains it needs to be dealt with.
I am a Social Media Marketing professional and as such my work is linked to and requires that I am active on Social Media.
A different approach, yet Social Media Exhaustion does not distinguish according to purpose or profession. We have all experienced it to some extent and have had to find ways to deal with it.
5 things to do when dealing with Social Media Exhaustion
I know… sounds obvious, right?
However, it is actually what keeps many from taking the first step.
Realizing you are facing Social Media Exhaustion and deciding to do something about it is key to making a change and sticking to it.
Why do people find it hard to “quit”?
Well, humans are social beings. As shown by research, people seek for the instant gratification that comes with interactions, likes, shares, comments, follows, etc. – plus let’s not forget the famous FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) ‘condition’ which is linked to feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, etc. It has always kind of existed, but social media has amplified its form and effect.
Having said that, I believe that choosing your well-being over FOMO is a no-brainer. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) or LOMO (Love of Missing Out) – it is your choice.
But, what if you use social media for work? Can you really step away?
The key element in any aspect is moderation.
- You can consider focusing on specific networks and accounts that are directly related to your work.
- You can consider monitoring and limiting the amount of time on each network.
There are many tools out there that can help you monitor and manage the amount of time you are on social. Some of these social media time management tools are:
- Toggl https://www.toggl.com/
- Rescue Time https://www.rescuetime.com/
- Facebook https://www.facebook.com/
- Instagram https://www.instagram.com/
Yes, even the same social media platforms recognize the issue at hand.
Facebook and Instagram allow you to monitor and control (via reminders) the amount of time spent on each platform.
Go to the Settings page and select the Your Time on Facebook option.
Go to your profile and tap .
Tap Your Activity.
(Image Source: Facebook)
There are many other helpful tools that allow you to oversee and regulate time spent on social media which in turn will allow for more productivity and effectiveness.
This brings me to the second step:
If you try to be everywhere you will end up being nowhere.
We tend to persuade ourselves that we NEED to be on every channel so as not to miss out (there’s that FOMO again!), grow our network, increase our content reach, so on and so forth…
As such, we create accounts on most (if not all) channels and consequently become overloaded trying to maximize our presence.
It is better productivity and time management all around to monitor, select and focus only on those channels that render actual value and results for you AND your brand.
That, in and of itself, makes the use of social media a bit less overwhelming not to mention more effective.
Oh yes… spring cleaning is great 🙂
What do I mean by clean up?
Do your research and monitor the accounts you are following.
Go over your Follower list and see which accounts are real, active and that you genuinely interact with as well as which accounts offer you value, are not overly promotional and add to your overall social media experience, etc.
Start unfollowing those accounts that take up your timeline AND time but do not offer value.
It will make your timeline a lot cleaner, friendlier, comprehensive and targeted plus it will make you dread less going through it.
Narrowing down posting is helpful.
Many research outlets out there have determined the optimal amount of content you need to put out there daily, per medium, for the effectiveness of your campaigns.
We all understand the important role that content plays in your social media strategy… let me rephrase that, we all know the important role that valuable content plays in your social media strategy.
As such, you should not aim to put content out there just to satisfy an algorithm. You should put content out there to satisfy the reader’s want for value.
If you are experiencing Social Media Exhaustion and before adding unnecessary pressure to yourself, think of how more effective it is for you to release content on the basis of how it adds to your reader’s experience rather than to push content out there that is not as significantly helpful to your target base as a means to comply with a set standard and consequently even risk losing them.
You need to offer value consistently which is not necessarily equivalent to frequency.
”Consistency does not equal frequency”Chris Strub @chrisstrub
A final key step – log off and recalibrate.
Yes, you read correctly.
When you are feeling Social Media Exhaustion, it is important that you take a real break from social media to be able to revise and adjust.
If limiting your time on Social Media is not doing the trick then make it a point to disconnect from social media for a period of time.
But, what if my work is linked to social media?
Easier said than done, right?
Trust me, I get that you cannot leave your social media accounts unattended.
This is where planning and automation comes in handy.
Select your preferred content automation tool and automate content to be posted during the days you choose to take a break.
That way you won’t loose momentum on your social media accounts and activity. At the same time you will be able to take a step back and concentrate in what needs your immediate attention.
Some content automation tools you can use are:
- Hootsuite http://www.hootsuite.com
- Buffer http://www.buffer.com
- Coschedule http://www.coschedule.com
- Hubspot http://www.hubspot.com
- SproutSocial http://www.sproutsocial.com
Actually, once the dependency and habit wear out you will see significant benefits such as your brain readjusting from the triggers and distractions caused by being constantly connected, your attention span increasing and you becoming more focused, less anxious and more productive.
Take that valuable time to:
- Build your energy levels up
- Reconnect with yourself and your surroundings
- Set boundaries and restructure your time management strategy focusing on balance
- Be more present
- Find new ways to allow your creativity and productivity to flourish
- Forge new personal and professional goals
- Create new in-person connections and collaborations
- Produce more value
“Treat your attention with respect”Cal Newport
When used responsibly, mindfully and in moderation social media can offer opportunities, allow for new connections and collaborations to develop, provide enriching informational exchanges and much more.
However, it is an undeniable reality that people are becoming more and more overwhelmed by social media and as such we need to remember that if we are experiencing social media exhaustion it is a signal, and a clear one, that it is time to moderate and/or go without as the results will be on a negative rather than a positive return, and ultimately you will be hurting yourself (health) and your brand (work).
In conclusion, taking breaks so as to reset and evaluate is a good way to keep a balance and be able to optimize and maximize your social media experience not to mention that of your audience since, if you use social media for your brand, you can take the opportunity understand based on your own experience how your audience might be receiving content and find ways to optimize its creation and distribution in order to make it less overwhelming.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comment section!
Good vibes only and have a great day!
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