‘Social media fatigue refers to social media users’ tendency to pull back from social media when they become overwhelmed with too many social media sites, too many friends and followers and too much time spent online maintaining these connections’
After spending a week in Wales with almost barely any wifi or signal, I took the time to reconsider my relationship with social media. I spoke about Finding My Passion again in a recent blog post and this burst of energy that I recently got. Truth is, I’m a massive overthinker and I’m trying to find a way to maintain these bursts of energy to make them more sustainable.
Someone close to me recommended that I take some time off social media completely for a while (mainly Instagram) and focus my attention on a new project. To be completely honest, I dismissed the whole idea as ludicrous. I love Instagram and have so much gratitude towards the platform as a place that I can express my creativity, somewhere I’ve met friends and ultimately a place that has brought me opportunities to work and collaborate with some of my favorite brands.
Which got me to thinking, after endless hours of scrolling through my feed that I want to be seen as a creator on the platform, not a consumer. Of course, there is a slight overlap between the two which I think causes this imbalance.
At first, I justified the endless scrolling, engaging with other accounts as an essential part of growing my business. Which whilst true, I had actually just reached the point of social media fatigue. I was no longer feeling inspired after spending time on Instagram, instead just left a little empty and drained.
I don’t tend to speak much about social media and its effects. To be honest, I used to find the whole thing a little cringy. Reading headlines about how ‘social media is bad for your health’ all sounded a bit OTT and old-fashioned to me. But it’s such a huge part of everyone’s lives now comes with the territory of wanting a digital career in many senses. If I started to feel a little exhausted by it, then I’m sure that a lot of other people do too, making it worth someone talking about.
I don’t think that taking a complete detox is necessary (I loved Jacey’s piece on Why Social Media Cleanses are BS on Damsel in Dior) but I believe that it is important to recognize when a digital product starts to make us feel drained and negative, instead of feeling positive, in order to re-evaluate our relationship with the platform and get back to what we love. Here’s how I’m trying to change my
“Do more of what makes you happy”
1. Stop focusing on the followers and likes.
I know I know, this one I struggle with too. Even though I’ve been on Instagram and have had this blog for a couple of years, I’ve only just really started taking steps to grow my account seriously. So on one hand, yes I want to grow my account for my business and numbers do naturally factor into my goals. But I’ve found that when and if I focus purely on followers and likes, I lose sight of what I love doing and ultimately, you want to make a career out of creating because you want to love what you do, right? Focus on creating meaningful content and providing inspiration, I promise the rest will follow.
2. Set limits.
I’ve started setting a 2 hour daily limit on my Instagram and checking in on my insights halfway through the day to see how long I’ve spent on the app. Now, I mainly go on to post an image. Spend half an hour or so to engage with the community and if I do fancy a scroll, I’ll try and switch my ‘work’ mind off and just spend a maximum of 10 minutes or less having a flick through.
Maybe you’ve found that you just feel more uninspired than ever. As a Gemini (yep, here we go again) I am restless, easily bored and love the thrill of getting my teeth into something new. As a person, I’m also easily influenced by other people and started to feel like I needed to hit refresh on what content I was creating and where I wanted to head in my career.
So, whilst in Wales, taking time off my Instagram, I became inspired to start a whole new Instagram just to post pictures that were inspiring me, outfits and editorials that I’m loving and it sparked this light inside of me that made me feel so excited about sharing again. Styling is something that I’ve always loved and that I’m taking more steps into making a bigger part of my professional life. So if you fancy following along, then it’s @heatherstyling. For the moment, it’s honestly just for the fun and enjoyment and I’m loving all the #inspo I’m finding.
If you find yourself reaching for your phone when you’re bored or mindlessly scrolling, then give yourself a new project or something new to learn to occupy your time with something that may benefit you and improve your skills. It could be related to what you’re doing or completely unrelated! Do something just for FUN again so you have something outside of your career goals that you just do because you enjoy it.
4. Don’t obsess over your feed
For some people, having a cohesive feed is of utmost importance and I don’t argue with their reasons why – having a consistent style and aesthetic helps to define who you are as a creator. But don’t be afraid to through a curve ball every once in a while and switch things up when you’re feeling uninspired.
It’s likely that you have an editing style and aesthetic that you gravitate towards anyway and this will naturally come across in your feed. But try not to agonize over whether you can or can’t post your next image because of your feed. Post what you love. Do what you love. Try new things.
5. Be a creator > consumer
I briefly touched on this earlier, but I’d like to try and stop spending so much time mindlessly consuming other peoples content and create my own. I’ve listened to a podcast recently in which one creator said that when he wakes up every morning, he seeks to create something for himself before he consumes anyone else’s content.
This also helps you to avoid falling into the trap of comparison. People who are doing and the people you look up to and admire and usually too busy creating their own stuff to even look at what other people are doing. Sure, having knowledge of your market and being inspired is important, but perhaps not as important as you think. Trust yourself and just create something, every day. Maybe you don’t even have to share it, but just experiment with new ideas and enjoy the process again. I’ve also muted or unfollowed people who I found myself negatively comparing myself to which has helped massively.
6. Don’t make Instagram the end goal.
Remembering that Instagram is not my end career goal allows me to remember the reasons why I use the platform. Of course, I most likely owe a lot to Instagram for all of the opportunities I’ve been given from brands so far and the app plays a huge role in my job, both for jobs and career growth. But it’s not my overarching dream, it’s just a step to getting there. My goal is to become a better photographer, stylist, write articles that interest me, create inspiring content that I love and tell stories through my work.
So consider, what is your end goal? What made you start your journey? And what have you stopped doing to put Instagram in front of that? Perhaps that’s taking pictures or writing. Whatever it is, get back to that.
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I’d love to know, have you got any tips for overcoming social media fatigue? Have you taken a break before and how did you find it? Leave me a comment below!