The Everyday Guide: Do Our Relationships with Social Media Say More Than We Think?

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

I seem to have developed the habit of personifying social media outlets.

That may sound a bit off. But trust me, it’s not the first time I’ve engaged in this strategy. As a consultant, I’ve always thought of organizations as having a distinct vibe or personality, separate from the clients that I meet. (Some are depressed. Others frenetic.) Over the years, I’ve developed a strong propensity to craft stories out of disjointed facts, observations and conversations. It may be a bad habit. Yet, it helps me makes sense of things at the start of a project, when there are one million details to consider.

This habit seems to have extended to social media. To be quite honest, I usually find Facebook tedious and bit needy. Instagram often feels fickle & hyped up on pretty places (which I enjoy) & success-oriented quotes. LinkedIn nearly always feels focused & fair (I have more than my share of followers over there, so I am likely biased.). Twitter feels balanced on most days; a bit like my memory of my high school cafeteria at lunchtime. (Except for the realm of politics.) You are clearly aware that all of the various groups are present, but no one really cares if they hang out near you. There is usually enough decorum, to keep the room from devolving into an all-out food fight.

My assessment of a social media definitely impacts my willingness to enter into a relationship with them. My patience can be worn thin, just as I would feel when ready to leave a party where I feel disengaged.

These days, I’m only willing to invest my time and trouble, where I feel understood & loosely accepted. I’ll delete a page willy-nilly, if I have a clear and present sense that their algorithm is on a path to “ostracize” me. (I’m a proud sort. I won’t hang around to feel the sting of the sneers.) When re-starting on Instagram this past May, I haplessly re-shared a random photo of an old structure in London and the photographer reported me to the powers that be. This unfolded even though I had clearly attributed her, took the photo down immediately & tendered an apology. (Turns out she was somewhat of a big deal over there. I explained that my articles are often shared without my direct permission, but if attributed I’m usually ok with it. But, alas this was her foul to call.)

Lesson learned: Don’t share great photos on Instagram? (Know Instagram is a business for many. I now know & respect this.)

If a coaching client were to ask me about this topic, I know how I would respond: Spend time where you feel uplifted. If something feels horrible, stay away. Take a break and then possibly re-engage. But first, look into your heart and find out the “why”. Develop your personal brand, where you feel aligned with the “vibe”.

By now, you’re likely getting the sense that my relationships with social media may bear a striking resemblance to the outcome of a Rorschach assessment. I concur. It is entirely possible that this dynamic has possibly re-ignited my teenage insecurities regarding shifting friend groups. On the other hand, it may simply be a lack of stimulation during the marathon that is this pandemic.

I’m unsure.

You make the call.

Have you ever personified social media?

Share your experiences.

Live.Work.Think.Play shares observations concerning a wide array of topics from founding a company — to the perfect office gift. It is designed to share lessons learned from a variety of perspectives.

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