I love social media.
I thrive on connection, the updates, the “dialogues.” In fact, it is arguably the most efficient system of “touching base” with all my 45,000 friends on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In one post, I let social media do the heavy lifting. It’s a brilliant invention.
In fact most of my success in life was built around social media. I started blogging 7 years ago and due to the growing traffic (thanks to viral posts on social media), this led me to build my coaching practice, write my best-selling book, and connect with my favorite authors and thought leaders.
And, right now, I hate social media.
The truth is, I am constantly glued to my phone. Most of them happens to be on social media. Whether it’s watching random fitness YouTube channels or mindlessly swiping the latest Instastories, or liking my friend’s latest “wins” in life, this is taking a giant toll in my life.
Sadly, I’m not alone on this. An average person spends over 5 years on social media throughout their life time (See graph below). 5 years! That’s tantamount to walking the Great Wall 3.5 times or climbing the Mt. Everest 32 times, or walking your dog 93K times. It’s no joke. Imagine what else you could spend your 5 years of your life with…
However, the more pressing reason why I hate social media is this.
Social media is turning me into a comparison monster. My friend Paul Angone calls it OCD (Obsessive Comparison Disorder). Two of the most common feelings people experience on social media is loneliness and envy.
In fact, one study shows that those who use more than 7 different social media platforms had 3.3 times the odds of high levels of anxiety symptoms than their peers who used two or less platforms on social media.
I can’t tell you how many times I tried to remind myself not to compare my behind-the-scenes with the highlight reel.
Even with this convincing research, why is it so hard to unplug ourselves from the 24/7 noise around us?
I believe it is because of this singular reason.
We see, crave, and yearn for love. It’s become so easy to hide behind the highlight reel and relish the validation you receive from the hundreds of likes you might get from your photoshopped and filtered version of your life.
I’ll be the first to admit it. If I’m not careful, I can find myself living under the facade of the social media version where life is full of accolades, fun, and joy.
What I found that actually helped me overcome this nearly addiction for social media is real, raw, authentic community. When I find myself sitting down, engaging, and being present with people, there’s nothing that beats the feeling of being alive.
So what’s the right balance? I’m not sure if balance is the right word.
Perhaps a better word is “what does it look like to steward social media” as believers in the 21st century?
I’m not writing this post with a list of prescriptions around how to “fix” this, but I’m hoping to encourage a constructive conversation around how you, the reader, has find ways to overcome this hurdle (if you’ve experienced any.)
Question: What does it look like to steward social media in the 21st century?