Social Media Burnout:: Making Changes that Work for Me

Making My Social Media Work for Me

Burnout.

It’s a phenomena we’re all fairly familiar with this year. Motherhood burnout. Quarantine burnout. Working from home while trying to navigate e-learning with our children burnout. We’ve all reached capacity for how far we’ve been stretched this season in at least one part of our lives or another. 

However, one area I didn’t expect to experience this burnout phenomenon was social media. Something that used to bring me joy, acting as a mental escape on the chaotic days when I just needed to scroll through all the pretty Instagram photos or check out my friend’s new baby on Facebook.

Changes in Social Media

But it’s hard not to notice the changes in social media lately. Sweet, smiling family photos gradually turned into masked reminders of the dangers lurking outside our homes. Heated arguments over Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter break out between acquaintances who’d largely lost touch with each other after high school. It’s becomes a space where everyone feels the need to shout their opinions at the top of their lungs and leaves little space for dialogue or acceptance of differing view points. 

And little by little it turned my mental escape into a dark space, taxing my emotional state on a daily basis. 

What once seemed like a fun place to share the crafts and themed weeks I did with my children during quarantine now feels overly competitive and, often enough, performative. A placed filled with perfectly staged photos and adorable felt letter boards proclaiming instagram vs. “reality”. 

The truth is I’ve become pretty jaded with the whole influencer culture {looking at you Rachel Hollis and Myka Stauffer} and the need to brand oneself on social media platforms. It’s exhausting trying to create a cohesive feed and worry about linking photos to a corresponding Pinterest account. I’m frustrated by ever changing algorithms and attempting to post at the optimal time for my target audience’s attention. It all turns something that should be simple and fun into work, and frankly, I’m over it.  

But the thing is, I still love having a place to post my photos and videos. To digitally scrapbook our lives so on the bad days I can look back at our trips to Disney or my baby’s first steps and find a little comfort. To share my son’s huge first-day-of-quarantine-homeschool smile so that I can find the joy in a situation I never anticipated or wanted. 

And so I’m making some changes so I can still enjoy a space that always brought me pleasure before. 

Getting Out of the Hashtag Game

First and foremost, I’m doing away with hashtags. The use of hashtags, while helpful for getting one’s photos and videos seen by others outside their daily social network, creates the desire for one’s post to “perform”. And when posts don’t perform well there’s a sense of disappointment and failure that I no longer find acceptable. I might use one or two occasionally when it really pertains to what I’m posting about {ie. #BLM}, but for the most part I’m steering clear of the hashtag game. 

I will also be limiting the amount of time I spend scrolling social media. I used to spend hours trying to engage with new accounts for the sake of “growth”, just trying to keep up and make sure my account got seen. But no more. From now on the time I spend on social media will be devoted to engaging with friends and enjoying the accounts that interest me rather than growth tactics. 

No More Branding

And as I’m not actively trying to grow my account, I will no longer be accepting brand rep positions. Brand repping can be a wonderful reciprocal practice in which the established or up-and-coming brands gets promotional photos taken in exchange for free product, discounts, or a designated fee — but the problem is it turns something that was meant to be fun into a job. Not only does one have to work hard at creating a photo for the brand that cohesively fits into their own account, but also has to take the time to promote it. I’ve had wonderful relationship with the brands I’ve worked with in the past, but the stress of trying to take photos with their merchandise has proved too much for me. I’d rather spend my time practicing my photography skills on my goofy and adorable children. 

Posting What I Want

Last but not least, I’m going to stop worrying about creating a cohesive theme or branding for my social media accounts. I used to hold back posting certain photos I’d taken and loved because they weren’t on brand and I knew they wouldn’t be well received by my social media audience. As I no longer care about post performance, I’m going to stick to posting what I enjoy, whether it be a well lit and staged photo of our home or a quick iPhone snap of my kid blowing bubbles.

These changes may not resolve all the social media burnout I’ve experienced lately, but it’s definitely taken a lot of the stress out of being online. 


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