I Love To Hate It
The love hate relationship I have with social media is not insignificant.
I asked over on the SMW Instagram – do you lean towards Loving social media or hating social media. The results were almost 50/50 which I find so interesting!
See for me, there are several conflicting issues. I want to use social media to find like minded people, but to do that, you will be met with hatred from non-likeminded people OR find yourself in an echo chamber.
I want to use social media to promote my business – but I hate giving into the overlords of Instagram and other sites to be ‘on trend’ to stand any chance of finding my client base.
I want to live in the moment and enjoy life – but I don’t want to miss the opportunity to document something that would help the like-minded people I talk to online, or to promote the business.
Countless times I have uninstalled all of the apps and given myself a break – and when I have, I haven’t missed it all. The only reason I ever come back to the apps is for work purposes. That bothers me so much.
I don’t want to be doing something I don’t really want to do – just because it’s the way lots of other people do it. Right? Loads of business thrive without social media, we just don’t see them because, well, we’re only looking on social media.
However, there are so many pros to me using social media, I have to assume they outweigh the cons. I’m just too afraid to actually do the math in case it turns out using social media is draining my soul and I should actually give it up immediately…
So, what are the pros? (for me)
I have internet friends
I used to feel weird about calling people I’ve only talked to online my ‘friends’ – but there are a little handful of people who I am confident if I had have met them in ‘real life’, we would be buddies.
These are people who I have meaningful conversations with, I share personal experience with them, we have things in common, we make each other laugh – and it’s a two way street in terms of effort. These relationships aren’t one sided like say that of you and your favourite influencer.
I’ve broadened my circle
I grew up in a 98% white city with little encouragement to have a diverse circle.
My first proper job was 100% white when I started there and 100% white 5 years later when I left.
Not only that – it was embarrassingly inaccessible, and they were enormously discriminatory towards disabled people. We had some diversity in other areas; e.g some LGBTQIA+ community, a good mix of men and women in leadership roles, but very little else.
Having an online presence has introduced me to people and parts of the world I never got to see before and has even led me to physically meeting some of them by discovering the Human Library where I am a volunteer.
I can share my story
I NEVER thought I would be able to talk openly about mental health or disability. Especially on the internet where people could just…find it.
Of course, I still get a few bad eggs who try to use it against me, or who are always watching but would never support me in real life – but apart from that I’ve lost count of the amount of amazing support I’ve had, not to mention the people who tell me I’ve helped them.
For every ‘she’s mentally unwell so she can’t do XYZ’ comments I’ve had – I’ve had 100 people tell me they needed to hear it.
Not only that, the memory of my friend Matthew who we lost to suicide lives on when I tell his story too.
It’s empowering and impactful.
I can grow my business
It’s a lot harder to run a business without the use of social media these days. I’m grateful for our online community the people who like, share, comment and tell others about our content. It helps us out so much and sends more people to the website where we can support people the best.
So, that being said – what are the cons?
I’ve already touched on some of them – but the biggest ones for me are:
I made a video about this on my YouTube channel and I’ve already relapsed since then. I am addicted to social media.
I can’t find a good balance between popping on for ‘work’ and separating my personal investment. I scroll mindlessly and I’ve lost countless hours to it.
I just can’t kick the habit of it when I still need it for work. I would genuinely much prefer not to be on social media at all than be addicted to it, but you can’t smash an addiction that you still have to do every day, right?!
I don’t get a lot of hate online – I am privileged in that sense. I do still get it though. I joined Tik Tok for ONE DAY and got over 600 hate comments from angry men who were personally attacking me on a video about the gender pay gap. I didn’t even say anything in this video (I was lip synching) and these men assumed I was stupid, uneducated, didn’t know what I was talking about, wrong, hadn’t done any research – and this was all before they started commenting on my appearance and professionalism.
I often get DMs from TERFs who tell me I am stupid, I get DMs from women who tell me I am a murderer for supporting abortion.
I don’t get them as much anymore, but unsolicited dick pics and countless ‘hey sexy’ from strangers and countless spam/phishing messages.
This is across both my of my accounts, personal and SMW.
The Amount of Work
And not just the amount – it’s not really knowing what I am doing.
One person tells you need to do X and the other tells you not to, do Y instead.
I’ve tried keeping up with the advice and trends but I find it unenjoyable and I don’t get good results.
Being myself has always been the best for me in terms of engaging my network, but I have to produce content, so people know what SMW does and support you along the way.
I spend A LOT of time creating social media content, planning, scheduling, designing, editing, and that doesn’t include the time it takes to respond to messages and get into conversation/research. I don’t get paid for any of that time so whilst I enjoy that side of it – it’s not a fruitful way to spend that time as a business.
Plus, it’s all me – so if I don’t it, it doesn’t happen. I have support from Hetal with the website and some of the technical aspects, but the marketing and social media is all me at the moment and it’s difficult to fit in around my other two jobs.
It can be overwhelming and it’s temping to switch off – but at what cost to SMW?
Well I don’t know about you but I don’t feel any more clear than when I started!
There are technically more pros – and there are many more pros and cons that I’ve listed here. They will be different for everyone. I’m wondering though, just because there are MORE pros – are they more valuable? Are the cons so big that their impact is bigger than the multiple pros?
I’ll continue to use social media – I love talking to people over there, and I’d hate to lose out on it.
I just wish social media was more ethical, safer, and a more positive place to spend time. It seems the social media giants know that we’ll go running back whatever they do so – why would they spend any money on making sure it’s a nice place to be?
How do you feel about it? Let me know here or…on social media!