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Whether you’re struggling with social media burnout, or just want to keep that kind of fatigue and exhaustion from reaching you, this article will help you!
Even under normal circumstances, excessive use of social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter can lead to negative effects on an individual. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a clinical report that went so far as to use the phrase “Facebook Depression” which is defined as “depression that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, such as Facebook, and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression.”
Such behavior occurs when individuals experience pressure to conform or be accepted, or even compete with their peers online.
More relevant to you, however, is the phenomena of doomscrolling which has swept the social media landscape.
With the sudden series of multiple black swan events, it’s not surprising that not only is everyone checking social media and scrolling franticly for news, they’re doing so waiting for the other shoe to drop.
We’re actually psychologically wired to read bad news and look for more.
According to the International Journal of Psychophysiology, basically three things happen, internally, when negative events occur:
1. Our “input mechanisms” start working to gather sensory information.
2. Our “evaluation systems” start to evaluate the information and prepare a proper response.
3. Our “associated and output processes” store the information and work with the brain and the body to activate a defense or action.
That’s our brains working overtime to help us understand what we’ve just learned and assess the danger to us. Which means incessantly checking and scrolling through tweets and news articles is, literally, a caveman response.
It’s not your fault, and yet, it’s a behavior that you can not only be mindful of, you can combat it.
First and foremost, if you’re using social media for personal use, here are a few recommendations for you.
Realistically, you shouldn’t need or feel like you have to spend hours and hours per day on social media. While there are certainly valid reasons to invest significant blocks of time networking and connecting, if you’re struggling with social media burnout, set time limits.
If you’re good at self-awareness and mindfulness, simply tell yourself you’re only going to spend 20 minutes a day, or whatever time you determine, and stop at the end of that period. You might also consider breaking up the time you spend throughout the day so that it’s not quite so concentrated at once.
If you need a little more external guidance, I strongly recommend calendar blocking. That’s when you take advantage of your calendar app and determine your daily schedule – not just appointments and meetings, but also the tasks and projects that you need to work on. By scheduling everything that you need to get done – including how much time you’ll spend on things like social media or email, your days will be more structured and you might find yourself to be more efficient. As well as better insulated from doomscrolling
And if that doesn’t work, there are apps that you can install which will limited shut you down once you hit a predetermined amount of time on social media. While most were designed for parental control purposes, there’s no denying the need many of us have for an intervention, at times. You can find a variety of app options here.
The next step is to make sure that you aren’t consuming negative posts and information 100% of the time. And in fact, this step will combat the perception I see many Facebook users express, that the app “is so negative all the time.”
To be perfectly frank, the app isn’t negative, your friends are.
Facebook and other social networks do not create connections for you. That’s up to you. So if you find that your feed when you log into a particular network is filled with negative posts and information, begin to question who you’re following!
If you have old friends who are sharing too much negativity for your taste, you can unfollow them on Facebook and still remain friends. Or just snooze them for 30 days if the news is more timely. On other networks, it’s referred to as muting.
You might also be more particular about the news outlets and media that you follow on social media. While I could follow all of my favorite news sources on social, I prefer to use their apps or a news aggregator… even just the Google app… to check out news stories when I’m interested in seeing news.
More importantly, focus on following or connecting with people or brands who are deliberately putting out a positive vibe.
That’s not to be woo woo, but we’re talking about self-protection and mindset is as important as physical well-being. But positive doesn’t have to mean sharing motivational quotes all day, though those might be of some small benefit. Positive outlook and mindset has everything to do with worldview and how individuals choose to approach their lives and, in turn, social media.
Are you following people who regularly share and lift up what other people are doing to celebrate their accomplishments?
Do they share helpful, instructional information that applies to your work or personal life?
Do they avoid sharing negative stories, particularly ones that are very subjective and target individuals? Or are they the kind of person that every post tends to be a complaint about something or someone? You might even consider following comedians and comedy channels, to help insert some actual laughter into your feed.
Taking control over your feed can have a dramatic impact on how social media impacts you.
Since we know that exercise can have a positive impact on how our bodies deal with and process stress, it should be no surprise that the same holds true for social media burnout.
If you feel yourself getting stressed out over a conversation on LinkedIn or a bunch of videos you watched on YouTube, go for a walk. Spend some time in the gym.
In fact, particularly when our world is rocked by so much stress and anxiety, it’s a particularly good idea to schedule exercise. Build that into the calendar blocking technique we just talked about so that every day you have time set aside to get your body in motion (and away from social media).
While social media is clearly designed and excellent for fostering online connections, digital text messages are not a replacement for analog conversations.
Digital text messages are not a replacement for analog conversations.
What’s wonderful about social media and tech in general today is that not only can you call your friends, you can video chat with them easily and conveniently!
Facebook has Messenger Chat Rooms where you can even hop on a video call with a group of your friends. And of course there’s WhatsApp and FaceTime and Zoom.
The key is to make time for those direct, personal conversations with the people you care about the most – and who care about you in turn.
What about if you’re using social media professionally? What if you’re a social media manager, and it’s your job to manage social activity on behalf of your business or your clients? How do you stave off social media burnout then?
Absolutely consider everything I just said above. Doubtless you’re still spending time on your personal social profiles and will need to be even more mindful of your activity and exposure to negative posts and information. But there’s more that you can do.
As a social media professional, you may need to be even more extreme in limiting how much time you spend personally on the networks. You can certainly use the techniques we talked about in terms of calendar blocking and time-limiting apps. You might also consider focusing what little time you plan to spend on just one or two key networks.
You can even go so far as to remove the social networks from your devices, and reduce or eliminate most notifications so that they’re not disrupting and reminding and sucking you in.
You be saying that you cannot possibly delete social media apps from your phone since you’re managing accounts – it’s your job to be on those networks and that may include times when you aren’t at your desk.
With Agorapulse, you can post and schedule content, monitor engagement from your audience and key saved searches, and access all kinds of insights and reports.
Which means, not only can you safely remove most social media apps from your device, you can also save yourself from having to log into the networks even on desktop.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened Facebook for a very specific business purpose, such as heading into Ads Manager, only to be distracted by a post or notification and realize, ten minutes later, I never did what I intended to do.
It’s hard, and it’s not always possible, but if you can use a tool like Agorapulse to keep the networks at arms length even a few times a day that might not have before, it’ll help stave off social media burnout.
While calendar blocking is great for keeping your days planned, it’s similarly important to keep your social media activity planned with a social media planner.
Some brands will log into Facebook with the intention of going to their Page to post something, without a clear idea beforehand what that might be. They’ll hope to be inspired by something they see, or perhaps even find a post from someone else that they can share. The problem, of course, is that the first thing you see at that moment is your personal feed.
Enter: Distractions & Negativity.
If you have a plan and have taken the time to create your social media activity in advance, you can use a publishing tool like Agorapulse and skip the drama. And you can use the time you saved and spend it working on your planner and thinking about how to help and impact your own audience or your client’s.
Ever watch the game show, “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” It was a trivia show that had a fun format. Contestants would answer increasingly difficult questions and as each new question was posed, they had three lifelines they could use to get help. They could eliminate half of the answers for a question, poll the audience, or phone a friend.
They’d have to have a friend picked out in advance, but this wasn’t a call to catch up. It was a chance to ask that friend the question that had stumped them and see what they said. They could use the friend’s answer, or not.
When it comes to social media, it’s ok to have friends lined up to help! They might be literal friends, colleagues, co-workers or contractors.
If you’re feeling burned out by social media and need to take a break, but the work is still there, who can you lean on for a moment? Maybe there’s someone else on your team that can help respond to comments in your Inbox. Or perhaps your content team can jump in and write a few posts for you and give you a little breather.
And if you’re not sure who or what kind of help to get, maybe it will be enough to simply admit to someone that you could use a hand – whether that’s a manager or someone else. Let them consider how they can help you best at that moment!
Understand the power and impact of social media. It can be a powerful force for change today! It can also be an extreme drain on emotional and psychological stability. Make sure that you’re surrounding yourself physically and digitally with positive influences. Adopt as many of the above techniques as you need, and you can avoid social media burnout!
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