Are we burning out of social media?

A couple days ago, I endeavoured to go through my FB friends list, and unfriend anyone I didn’t really know, or hadn’t interacted with in years.

There was a time when I would never have done this. Numbers are paramount, right? The more connections you have the better?

Yeah. Not really.

I had 1800+ friends on FB, and I have 700 more followers (on my public profile). I managed to delete about 200, but I’m not done yet. I still have many more to go through.

As I write this, I’m reflecting on the wedding I attended last night. My dear friend (and a dear friend to many of you, too), Steve Dotto, got married last night, and I was one of the invited guests. I purposely left my camera at home. I knew there would be a ton of my friends there, and I wanted to be present in the moment. I made the conscious decision not to take photos or video during the actual wedding ceremony. I wanted to experience that moment, but not through the filter of my phone.

It was great catching up with old friends IRL, and we had many great conversations. And yeah, I did spend some of the night on my phone, mostly creating Instagram stories, but beyond that, I sent 1 tweet, and I didn’t even post on FB.

I feel like things are changing in the social media space. It’s now been 10 years for me, a decade, since I fell into this new form of technology and communication, and I’m noticing a tide shift:

    1. The Cambridge Analytica FB breach. This has obviously been huge for many people, who didn’t want certain data about them shared. I get that. But I will say this: this didn’t affect me as deeply as it did some people, because I, a long time ago, gave up the notion that there is such a thing as privacy on the internet. If you want to keep something private, don’t post it online. Period. I just assume everything I do is public, and I try to behave accordingly.
    2. Overwhelm. When I started in this space 10 years ago, I had a blog. I had just joined FB, and then I got on Twitter. That was it. Those three things took up my attention. Today? I run two blogs, I have a personal FB, business pages for both blogs, a twitter account, an Instagram account, LinkedIn, YouTube… And that’s just the content I’m creating. We also have an immense amount of content coming at us all the time. It never stops. And that’s part of the issue, maybe, the FOMO, the need to always be scrolling because we know there’s always something new to see. But it leads to burnout.
    3. Creating meaningful connections. I will always and forever be the first person to say how much I love social media, how social media saved my life. I was a single parent, starting my own business, and my ability to meet with my friends IRL was extremely curtailed. My entire social life moved online and I was so grateful for it. But as time goes on, I still long for those meaningful offline connections as well. I am making more of an effort to try to connect with my friends for a lunch or a coffee once a week or so.
    4. Pressure for more. There is immense pressure on social media, if you let it get to you. I’m going to be super honest with you, I struggle with this every day. I wish I had more Instagram followers, more YouTube subscribers. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others, but I do. I also worry about a generation of young adults growing up with impossible standards presented to them by Instagram (although, to be fair, I grew up with fashion magazines, so maybe it’s not really that different). No matter how many followers you have, it’s never enough. No matter how pretty your photos are, there can never be enough likes. When does it end? So some people are choosing to get off the ride.

via GIPHY

  1. Algorithm. For those of you who are using social media for your businesses (as I am) and even for those of you who are not, the algorithm affects us all. And again, there was a time when connecting with our audience was a lot easier. But for many people, this inability to connect with our audiences is causing people to, again, just quit, and go back to old school methods like email lists.

Love to hear your thoughts on this. Are you feeling burnt out of social media? What, specifically, is causing your burnout, and what are you doing about it? Please let me know in the comments below.

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

Comments 6

  1. I love the authenticity of your posts Rebecca!

    Great food for thought, time & time again.

    I must admit to feeling the burnout your describe and one of my tactics to overcome has been turning off notifications of responses. I did this about a month ago and now just systematically check-in to see how/what is happening with posts. Definitely feeling like much less of a slave to all the social platforms yet still engaged… on my terms.

  2. yes yes and yes. sigh …
    overwhelm / pressure / algorithm – it’s so anxiety producing it’s horrifying.

    I have all notifications turned off on my phone, which helps a tiny bit but I still check relentlessly.

    I have noticed also in my “world” that memes are huge in an attempt to get increased Facebook visitors (I’ve had to hide people who relentlessly post memes) and they are exhausting. I actually love personal posts of any kind. Anyone telling me about their day or their kids gets a LIKE from me. It’s so rare now. At work I’m trying to so hard to get us to 10K while being real about it. It’s hours and hours of scrolling and commenting and following and liking. I feel like my brain is going to explode from over stimulation. And I like the people and their businesses, I just feel all of the above.

    Now if I could just leave the phone at home! Well done on the wedding (as in leaving the phone at home). On that note, I find when I’m with people and connecting I don’t have any desire to be on my phone and actually have to force myself to take a pic for posterity.

    Lots to think about ;-OO <>

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