Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my job. I’m lucky to be born in an era where social media is a thing. It allows me to be creative without actually having the skills of drawing or anything like that.
However, it can be quite demanding. You can work so hard on content and find it doesn’t achieve the outcome you were wanting. With Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms controlling what people get to see on their feeds that isn’t always something, I can control.
But suddenly I am seeing likes, comments and shares as to how successful I am. I set a target of followers I want to gain in a month and I am never happy with what I can achieve.
It can eventually start to affect your mental state.
When social media is your ‘job’ it is difficult to walk away.
Social media can be a toxic place. People use the fact they are behind a screen to throw abuse at people when they wouldn’t have the courage to do it in real life.
My job involves creating and scheduling content but I also have to sit going through likes, comments and shares. There are days where something I have posted goes viral and it feels like I am on top of the world. At the same time, there are days where people can be very rude and attack you for what you’ve posted. Being online can be a lonely and dangerous place.
A lot of social media managers use social media for both business and pleasure. Which makes it hard to disconnect or to have a digital detox. Even if you schedule things weeks in advance you still have to be alert and active in order to respond to comments or messages, especially if it is from potential clients.
I noticed the negative effects when I was on holiday in Amsterdam the other week. We would be going around the museums or the tourist locations and I was constantly thinking “I can take a picture of this and use it for my Instagram”. I still enjoyed myself whilst away and did my best to turn off my notifications when I could but was crazy how I was still thinking about future content I would have to create for my social media pages.
What came first the social media or the depression?
I suffered from low moods and depression before I got into social media. However, I know that social media can cause depression and anxiety in people, especially teenagers and young adults. People are only posting the good things that are going on in their lives on social media. Most adults are aware of this and it doesn’t affect them but teenagers can be quite susceptible and influenced to what they see on the internet.
There are a couple of tips that have helped me when it comes to social media and its effect on my mental health.
You don’t have to follow the accounts that are causing you to be upset. I used to follow a lot of accounts where all these girls were posting pictures of themselves with their flat stomachs and perky boobs. Whether the photos were photoshopped or not the images were making me feel bad about myself and affecting my self-esteem. So I started following them and suddenly my feed was better to look at.
I try and limit the amount of time I spend looking at a screen. Sometimes in the evenings just before bed I will read a book or watch a film and put my phone on silent. During that hour or 2, I won’t reply to any notifications. Gives me a little break after an 8 hour day or creating and scheduling content.
I think it helps to have friends in similar situations. There are a few people I have met through Twitter who struggle with mental illness and I know we have each other’s backs. If things get tough I know I have a network of people who I could message for help.
Let me know if you have any thoughts or tips on the topic yourself as well.
Gracie Victoria Hemphill x