I’m relatively new to using social media.  In fact, I only re-created my Facebook profile in 2014 just before I went travelling for several months, as a means of keeping my friends and family posted on my whereabouts.  I did have a profile previously, but deleted it when I realised I hadn’t used it for several years.  I don’t have many active social media accounts.  However, I set up quite a few ready for use in relation to my business.  In truth, that’s the main reason I have any accounts.  I don’t even really understand how to use their various tools beyond posting some information.

I have however noticed that even without any personal attachment to my online profile, I am still observing what others are sharing and find myself lacking.  I get caught up in watching their videos and reading their posts.  I find that I can easily spend an hour just scrolling through my news feeds.  That’s right, more than one feed.  In the morning, when I wake up, I check my emails, scroll through Facebook, and then through LinkedIn, and then I go through them all again.  I note what others are talking about and make connections to what’s happening to me personally.  Yep, I use social media for my business, but I interact with what others post from a personal perspective.  It’s possibly the most detrimental double-standard I have.

It gets worse.  I now post regularly in an effort to raise my profile.  Every time I share something, I need engagement almost immediately to demonstrate that I’m worthy of someone’s attention.  That’s when these apps take over.  The notifications consume me and whenever I see that red circle with a number in it, I need to see if someone liked or commented on my post.  I need to know if they like ME.

That’s when my inner speech gets involved.  “Ooo, you shouldn’t have posted that, here come the trolls.  Good luck.” Or “Oh no, they don’t like you.  They like X more than you.  Better check out what X is doing so you can raise your game.” Or even “Seriously, what were you thinking? No one cares about that, maybe you should edit it or even delete it completely.”

I became hooked.  I started measuring my value by what others said and did.  I stopped focusing on actually sharing value, and simply measured my worth by the number of engagements.  I lost track of what I was trying to achieve and starting placing myself at the heart of my social media interactions (instead of my potential clients).

Enough.  That’s not what I want.  It’s not right for me.  So, it’s time to change.

I’ve turned off the notifications on all the apps I wasn’t actively using.  I’ve turned off the sound notifications on all my apps.  I allow myself pockets of time to check my news feeds.  I focus on adding value to others.  I share my personal experiences, good and bad.  I engage with the posts that connect with me rather than simply reading them and observing from a distance.  I’m an active participant and I don’t allow social media to dictate my life.