Social Media is my life. It’s my business and my personal life.
I was thrilled to receive a copy of my dear friend, Vicki McLeod’s book, #UnTrending in the mail last week. Vicki and I have been a source of support to each other for quite a few years now; she helps me with coaching-type questions sometimes, and I help her with social media stuff. We are kindred spirits that share a love of our kitchens and vintage pyrex.
But we don’t always entirely see eye-to-eye about everything. She’s been known to take real breaks from social media that I’m not sure I could actually do without losing my business (or possibly my mind).
So I was very excited to get a copy of her new book, and to see what she had to say about this crazy world that we all inhabit and how to keep it in balance.
First of all, it’s a very quick read. I started and finished it within a couple of hours. You could easily take it with you on a short plane trip or a long bus ride, and be able to read all of it. It’s a light read, despite being about some heavy topics.
#UnTrending is more of a meditation. Much of it reads like poetry. There’s a flow to it.
Vicki’s entire modus operendi in life and in business is mindfulness, and that concept is the main one that shines through here.
One of the main issues this book addresses is the idea that we are all creating a curated version of our lives online. This is both extremely positive (the example Vicki gives is of a friend who has since died of cancer, but leaves behind a digital legacy of love for his children), and can also be extremely negative.
When we get to a place where everything we post is for “likes,” or to project a specific image of ourselves, that’s where it has the potential to become negative.
Confession time: this book hit me like a load of bricks. I have been teaching Twitter these last few weeks, and as I was, I was discussing with my students about how Twitter has changed over the last few years. I remember having voracious conversations with friends all over the world via Twitter, something that happens to me so seldom these days. My Twitter has become a business channel. My Instagram has become a business channel. Currently, it’s most likely Snapchat that you’ll find me being my most authentic self.
Here’s the thing: social media is my business. And my personal brand (food & social media) is also part of my business. So even my personal life is, in a way, my business. I know not everyone lives like that, but I do. And I feel like, lately, maybe the balance has been tipped a little too heavily towards business, and not enough towards the personal, or the “social” in social media.
So, here are some things for you to ponder from Vicki’s book:
- It’s okay to take a break. Social media can be overwhelming, and sometimes taking a break from it can really help with perspective.
- Be aware of FOMO. So much of what’s put online is created on purpose, to make us feel jealous, or to spurn “the fear of missing out.” FOMO drives me crazy, quite frankly. I live in a world where people like me often get stuff for free, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen bloggers express jealousy and envy online over stuff that other bloggers are getting. It’s not healthy, and it doesn’t paint you in a good light. Exercise gratefulness what you do have. Falling into the jealousy trap will make no one happy, most especially not you.
- Be mindful of using social media. Sometimes it’s okay to just live in and enjoy the moment without actually documenting it. In fact, for me, I know I’m having a really good time if I forget to Tweet/Instagram/Snapchat. I kinda love it when that happens.
- Be your authentic self. Find your tribe online and be with them. Authentically.
And grab a copy of #UnTrending. It brings up some interesting topics that we should be thinking and talking about right now. Because they are important.
This book has really inspired me to try harder to be more authentic and personal on all of my social channels.
If you’ve read Vicki’s book, please comment below and let me know what you took away from it. I would love to hear.