Staying grounded in an increasingly social world

There’s so much about social media that’s valuable. It links us to the world around us. It connects brands to consumers and vice versa. It makes the globe feel local; everything is accessible with a click, flick and swipe.

But the “always available, always connected” lifestyle can be dangerous.

I used to be an “always available” person, and on social media, followers have begun to demand responsiveness. It’s an instant gratification world – people expect instantaneous replies, immediate reactions and rapid responses.

But then it hit me – the fatigue, the disgruntled connection with my family and friends and the downright distaste for something that I have so much passion for. For social to work for me, I need to be grounded and balanced, instead of constantly scrolling a feed or impulsively checking for notifications.

Now, I’m shifting gears and believe me, making space between me and social media is like a junkie coming off crack. So, how am I dealing with my digital detox as a social media manager?

Regulating tech usage

It’s not easy – you really have to work at your digital detox, but the research backs this one up – you also need to find balance. Don’t get me wrong, I get it, it’s especially difficult if your business or work revolves around social media. There are ways to find a sense of balance, though – but you will need a healthy dose of discipline and an active mindset.

Leave the screens behind for just a few hours and you’ll find your attention span increases, your creativity soars, your memory and focus improve. You’ll be present in the moment and you’ll communicate better. Think back to the days when the internet wasn’t at the touch of a button (pre-ICQ and MSN messenger); you brainstormed answers, you talked to people to get their opinions, you allowed your imagination to run wild and you had space for ideas, problem solving and innovation.

How to do it, you ask? Leave your phone in your bag whenever you can – don’t leave it on your desk. Leave it at home when you go for a walk and use airplane mode when you need some mental space. If you need some additional motivation delete social media apps after hours.

What about work?

I’m here in the trenches with you – my work demands access to social, too. Here are some tips to keep your job, while still giving your mind and body the opportunity to switch off.

  • Strategic use of time. Schedule and budget your social media hours for you or your clients. Break down the time needed to engage with your followers and lock yourself off the platforms outside of this time.
  • Plan, research and write content ahead of time and schedule it. This way, you know the content is being shared without you having to jump on at specific times to upload it. Then, drop into the accounts regularly to ensure you’re keeping up with any conversations and share any timely content.
  • Analyse your performance – honestly. There’s no point wasting your time on content that isn’t engaging or achieving your goals.
  • Experiment with your ideas. Know what works and what doesn’t – the social landscape is always changing so make sure you explore different ways to do things.

Perhaps the most important thing however, is to take regular breaks. Give yourself a moment to enjoy a tech-free existence and I promise, your mind will thank you for it.

Odette Barry, digital marketer and founder, Odette & Co

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