Occasionally a question from the audience can startle me and make me think.
I had the same question asked twice during a rural women’s conference last week (during separate sessions, of course). That question was: “Do you ever take a break from social media?”
Quick answer: “not really”.
More elaborate answer: “I don’t feel the need for one”.
Even more elaborate answer:
I enjoy using social media. Yes, it’s my work but it’s also my recreation. And I think you’ll find a lot of social media professionals feel the same way.
If I grew tired of social media and felt the need for a break, sure, I’d take one.
But it helps me to relax.
The difference is, I switch off from my ‘work channels’ and ‘work persona’ and use social media for fun. I keep in touch with friends, I participate in Twitter hashtags while watching reality TV shows, I share Instagram photos of the world around me, I listen to music, I try new apps and so on.
I even find blogging recreational. Not everyone does – in fact, I often tell my audiences to treat blogging with caution because for some people, it can become onerous. But I’m that kid who kept a diary, who submitted articles to newspapers and magazines, who sketched comic portraits of her friends and who taught herself to type at age 12. So communication has always been in the ‘fun basket’ rather than the ‘too hard basket’ for me. Social media is like the lolly shop. I’ll take my laptop on holiday so I can sit down and blog (with a glass of wine).
Related reading: Content is king, do you hate it?
Don’t get me wrong. Social media is not my world. I spend a lot of time with my sons. I’ve been doing zumba for a few years, I read novels, I do the dreaded housework, I meet friends, I go to a lot of events, I do some voluntary and board work. And not all of that is shared on my Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn accounts for followers to see.
It’s an added bonus that, while I’m using social media for fun, I’m learning along the way, keeping up to date with how things work, how online communities tend to behave, new features, and so on. I’m in touch with what motivates users and what vexes them – because I am one.
There is one place I don’t venture. And that’s online gaming. I haven’t played Facebook games or inhabited a virtual world or used gaming apps on my phone. That’s where I’ve drawn my line – and of course, I’d never purport to be a commentator for that world. I’m afraid that’s where the time I spend online could balloon and – as a mother – that’s a personal boundary for me.
Do you ever feel that you’ve spent too much time on social media?