How to Reclaim Your Social Media and Your Sanity

Discussion PostFor many of us, social media may have started out as a fun way to talk about our interests, meet new people, and have conversations about the books and fandoms that we love.  However, it sometimes seems impossible not to also be lured in by the promise of more views, more interactions, and more likes.  A “like” on our posts means that people like us, right?  They think we’re funny or clever or interesting.  Those “likes” can make us feel like our worth as people or bloggers is tied up into our numbers.

Of course, this is not a healthy way to live and many of us have mourned the loss of the way we used to read, the excitement we used to feel when we held a new book in our hands.  Now we always have to be thinking about how fast to read to keep up with our schedule, what to say about it that will be interesting, how to photograph it so we look professional.  All this can be exhausting!  And the fun can go out of reading and blogging.

So how can we try to find some of our old enthusiasm for books and talking about books?  Below I offer some suggestions.

Think about your original goals for joining social media

When we joined Twitter or created a Facebook page for our blogs, we probably didn’t initially think that all our Tweets had to get so many reTweets for us to be successful.  We probably did not set goals for how many “likes” each post needed.  Instead, we probably hoped to chat about books with other book lovers and to drive some traffic to our blogs so we could keep the conversations going.  Try to adopt a new attitude towards social media.  If it’s doing what you  hoped–letting you connect with other bloggers and getting some people to click on your blog links–then does it really matter if you don’t have as many followers as someone else?

Think About Why You’re Posting Content

Some days I think of something that I think would make a great meme or a funny Tweet. I lament the fact that I don’t have anything to do with my ideas since I don’t really deal with our social media.  Then I stop myself.  Exactly why do I need to share this  joke in 140 characters or fewer with a bunch of people on the Internet?  Well, the answer is, I don’t.  Except that I want the Internet to see how clever and funny I am.  And, honestly, that’s not a good enough reason for me to put something online.  I don’t need the Internet to validate me.  If I put something online, I want it to be because I believe other people might find it interesting or helpful or enjoyable.  I want it to be because I am making connections with other people and sparking conversations.  I don’t want it to all be about me.

Limit Your Posts and Your Interactions When Necessary

When I take photos of my friends and I hanging out, I go old school.  I email them the photos.  Maybe if I am feeling extra generous, I’ll get some copies printed out for them (That’s still a thing, right?).  Why?  Because I can’t always think of a good reason everyone I am connected to on social media might want to see me having brunch or playing mini golf with people they’ve never met.  The experience didn’t include them and I sometimes realize that the only reason I want to post these pictures is so that I can reassure all my acquaintances that I’m cool and have friends and I do stuff besides read.

Limiting my social media posts, however, allows me to make deeper connections with people.  The friends I email with photos can email back with inside jokes or additions to the conversations we had.  That wouldn’t happen on Facebook.  They would just “like” my photos and maybe leave a “Good to see you!” comment if I’m lucky.  Plus, I know that getting a surprise email or packet of photos really makes someone’s day.  They feel special.  I reached out to them in particular, not the Internet at large.

When using social media for blogging, we can also assess whether what we’re sharing is really useful to our audiences or if it would be better suited to a DM or a blog post or a comment on a blog.  We can find ways to reach out to people, make them feel special, and and create deeper conversations.  Everyone wins when we create interactions that go beyond “likes.”

Leave the Technology at Home

If you’re driving yourself crazy checking your stats and your latest updates, feeling like you need to be on top of everything, you might want to try just stopping.  It will allow you to enjoy other things in life more and you can return to your social media and your blogging feeling refreshed and having gained ideas, experiences, and insights that you might otherwise have missed.  But your writing will be richer for them.

When I am at not at home, I don’t take my devices with me.  I don’t surf the Internet at work or on break.  I leave my cell phone in a place where I can’t take it out to look at it.  And, honestly, it feels great.  I don’t have the disappointment of constantly realizing no one’s answered my messages.  I don’t waste my time mindlessly scrolling through feeds.  Instead, I feel powerful.  I have the ability to ignore my devices and I have great conversations and great interactions with people because I’m not distracted.  There are few things that feel worse than talking to someone who keeps texting someone else–like they’d rather be with that person instead of with you.

Do What You Enjoy

In the end, blogging is supposed to be a hobby we do because it makes us happy.  All the followers in the world aren’t going to make up for the fact that we feel miserable because we’re always trying to keep up with someone else or for the fact that we’re doing things because we think we “have to” and not because we want to.  If you like paranormal romances, read them.  If you want to update your feeds with the news that you read Christian fiction, do it.  If you realize you can’t keep posting several times a week or several times a day, stop.  You can’t know what anyone else’s life looks like.  They may  not be reading 300 books a year because they’re “better” than you.  It may just be that they don’t have kids or don’t have a job like you do.  Blogging isn’t a competition.  It’s a conversation.   One we’re all meant to enjoy.

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36 thoughts on “How to Reclaim Your Social Media and Your Sanity

  1. booksofteacups says:

    I think Krysta’s comment “All the followers in the world aren’t going to make up for the fact that we feel miserable because we’re always trying to keep up with someone else or for the fact that we’re doing things because we think we “have to” and not because we want to.” is really important to state. And when I mean “state”, I mean scream it from the top of a mountain until you are hoarse and/or everyone understands. I have done so many things that I did not really care for but I did them because I thought it was expected of me and when I finally gave them up I realized that one cared if I did them or not in the first place and how much time I had to do other things that I care about, like reading. Excellent post!

    Like

  2. Rosie Amber says:

    Really good advice. I use a desk top for my blogging, I can access my e-mail from my ipad, but I don’t do anything from my phone, so, it gives me good breaks / limitations. Social media can be so addictive and don’t get me started on how we all rely on the internet these days, it is frightening to think about what we’d all do it it all went down the drain one day in just one click.

    Like

  3. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    hehehe I just loved the title for this one!! I love this post!! And yes it’s so worthwhile (for blogs as well) to just remember why you started in the first place and not to just seek validation!! And yes sometimes we all have to limit our interactions online (cos yes this does save us from going crazy!!) And yes to leaving the tech at home- no one likes to hang out and have everyone on their phone, otherwise we may as well just stay in!! And yes to blogging not being a competition!!! Awesome post!! Couldn’t agree more!!

    Like

  4. Ilsa @ A Whisper Of Ink says:

    AMAZING TIPS

    I do think sometimes we get very caught up in social media and getting likes and being popular but it’s good to step bakc and remember this is for FUN, enjoyment and creativity. This is FOR YOU! Sure yo post for your followers, but we need to remember to love OURSELVES and remember that social media is AMAZINg but not EVERYTHING. This week I took an una-announced Hiatus because I WAS SO BUSY. And I think that’s okay! And bloggers need to remember this. Amazing post and reminder ❤

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      And I think that allowing ourselves to take a step back often makes us stronger in the end. It’s tempting to try to push through and keep up, but if you’re burned out, you’re just not doing everything as well as you could if you had given yourself permission to take a break!

      Like

  5. Michael J. Miller says:

    This is all so important to remember and I think it’s a healthy post for people to read too. Thank you for expressing it all so wonderfully. But what drove me to comment was — you still print out actual pictures too?!? YES! Ahh, that just made my day! I happily have pictures on my wall, desk, and also enjoy giving them as gifts from time to time too. It’s nice to know other people still do that and it’s still possible to look at pictures without having to see them through the phone :). Woo hoo!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Thank goodness! I was worried photo printing services would go the way of slides–difficult to obtain. At least there’s one other person out there still driving demand!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michael J. Miller says:

        It might sound old fashioned, but I think there’s something both more intimate and more communal (if that makes sense) with actual photo sharing. When I went to Italy, I didn’t post any pictures online and only shared them with my family and friends who wanted to see them once I had an actual album setup. Then we could sit together and talk about the experiences as opposed to just flipping through them on my phone or on Facebook or something.

        I’m with you! Let’s keep fighting the power!

        Like

  6. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    I think we have talked before about what a challenge social media is for me. You make such wonderful points! Perspective and limits seem to a must for myself. I often have to stop and remind myself of my original goals and personal desires when I feel my focus shifting to what others project or expect. Not only for health but also sanity, I often take 1 to 2 weeks breaks from FB, etc to just regather myself 😉

    Like

  7. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight says:

    This is a really great post, and something that we all need to hear from time to time! I like Twitter, but I do feel sometimes like “why can’t I say humorous things that will go viral?” and feel crappy about it. And then I really DO need to take your advice and stop and look at the big picture.

    I hated Facebook- I noticed that it was 100% stress for me and 0% fun. So I quit. I have a blog page, and I started fresh on FB so only the few people that I wanted to be able to share stuff with would even know it existed. It was seriously bad for my mental and emotional well-being. I was seeing these people bragging non-stop about all their money, jobs, love lives, whatever, and man, it was bringing me down SO much. I never posted because I didn’t have anything to brag about, and then that made me feel even worse. Quitting it was the best thing I could have done. So yeah, you are just SO right- if it isn’t enhancing your life, it needs to GO.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yes! Going on FB makes it seem like everyone’s lives are so much cooler! I know that they’re only posting the positive stuff, but it can be trying sometimes.

      Like

  8. Mikaela @ The Well-Thumbed Reader says:

    I’m not a social media obsessed person (I don’t know why, but I literally can spend only a couple of minutes on it before moving on to something else. How doesn’t one spend hours on Twitter), but these are really good tips to keep in mind! Sometimes, we do need to take a break from social media because it stresses us out; it can apply to blogging as well! 😄

    Like

  9. Darque Dreamer Reads says:

    I think we get too caught up in social media too. I feel like people rely on that so much that they don’t use other resources to connect. My blog has gained a lot of followers from Twitter, which I am grateful for, but it seems like the majority of them come from social media and I have no idea how to attract them from other avenues since everybody uses social media the most.

    Like

  10. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    THIS. Thank you so much for this! I just don’t really get too much into social media. I appreciate it, I understand it, I use it– in fact, I’ve participated in quite a few Twitter chats. But in the end, I don’t think it adds a lot of value to my life, my priorities, or my blogging interactions. I blog so that I can have a dialogue about what I love– books and people. It’s so nice to develop friendships digitally. But social media has rarely helped with this.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I actually let Briana deal with most of our social media. I’m really not that interested because I’ve seen how people start to get obsessed with it/use it to gang up on others rather than build each other up. I’d rather have a conversation on a platform where real conversation is encouraged.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

        Good for you. I always get sad when social media is used as a platform to tear things down. It doesn’t matter if it’s an idea, a person, or a principle– we should be using these avenues for communication as a way to promote each other! That’s why I love my blogging community so much. They are my positive support network.

        Like

  11. Reading Tounwind says:

    I totally agree with you when I am not home I try really hard NOT to take my technology out. I try to be with people and around people not to be on social media. Also, I agree with making sure you are posting for content and what you want versus likes. Great discussion post!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Sometimes I find technology is just too tempting when I have it with me all the time. However, if it’s not on me, I find I don’t miss it!

      Like

  12. C.C. says:

    I agree! Though I tend to take my phone with me everywhere so I can jot down ideas for the books I’m writing, I sometimes hate the draw of technology and media.
    I used to walk and just enjoy the sounds of nature. Now I usually listen to music, and on the evenings I think, “maybe I’ll take my headphones out for a while and just be”, and oh my goodness, the sounds of nature are so much more peaceful and enjoyable than non-stop music.

    Sometimes we just have to be in the moment and enjoy our surroundings without distraction!

    Like

  13. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction says:

    Yes! I’ve basically taken a “me” approach to social media. If it doesn’t make ME happy, I don’t bother with it. I used to feel pressure to retweet every time someone did the same for me or follow everyone who followed or tweet “worthy” things—now I just retweet anything that sparks my interest and post whatever I want. It’s freeing!

    Liked by 1 person

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