The date was October 4th, 2021. It was the day that social media went down. Specifically Facebook and Instagram. While this is not shocking news and it’s really not a surprise that it happened, my eyes were opened just a tad bit more to how social media affects many of us across the globe.
On that day, many “users” were stressed out because nothing was working, they were anxious because they couldn’t share what they had for lunch and some were downright upset and pissed off. Businesses couldn’t advertise their products or services, people couldn’t connect with others on the platform, my dad couldn’t share memes and my mom couldn’t steal pictures from my profile. The world literally seemed to stop. When I witnessed this, I asked myself a few questions.
How did I (or you) deal with it?
If you’re like me, nothing really changed. You, my friend, were most likely in the minority. I remember being peacefully and totally ok with the fact that social media went down. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, then you know I don’t post every day. It’s not because I don’t have the ability, it’s because I don’t want to post just to post. If I share anything, it’s because I have a message I want to share with my followers.
For others, it was like the world came to an end. Most of the population uses social media to get their news, to wish friends and family a happy birthday or a happy anniversary or to find local events to attend. Tons of businesses use it every day for marketing purposes too and when social media went down, they couldn’t advertise for a bit. Who knows how much money businesses lost because of this outage?!
What activities did I (or you) do?
When social media went down, I found other activities to do to keep me busy. I read a book, I planned my future activities and I even made a list of things to bring for a mini trip I was going on. But I need to be honest, at first, I checked the apps every few minutes to see if they had come back up. Mainly because I run the social media accounts for my employer, but also because that’s what you do. I’m not proud of it, but when I noticed I was doing it, I stopped because I remembered I needed to practice what I preach.
Do you remember what you did? If you checked the apps every few minutes, you’re not alone. If you found other things to do in the meantime, I want to congratulate you because you should be proud of yourself. I bet there weren’t many out there that let social media go to the wayside for other activities.
Let me give you a scenario to help reinforce how much social media controls our life. Let’s say you want to share some news with friends or family. Where do you go? Your first stop is probably social media. It’s the catch-all for most of our friends and family and kind of a one-stop-shop for communicating with people. Social media helps us get an update out to the people we’re connected with without having to do multiple actions.
But what if your account was hacked and you lost everything? Would you create a new profile, rebuild your list of friends and then share your news? You might but after you’re done, you’d be so mentally drained you may not even have the energy to share the news. Instead, you’d probably go old school. You’d call, text or email the news to your friends and family. Heck, you may even send a note via snail mail. It’s a energy-intense task, but it would still get the job done. Instead of taking just a few minutes to share your news, it would take hours. Not fun, right?!
I want to leave you with a challenge. One that I think is important for all of us to try. I gave this challenge to my newsletter subscribers on a recent newsletter and I knew I just had to share it with you too. Here’s how it goes:
- Part 1 – Send someone something via snail mail
- Part 2 – Find a practice to take the place of mindless scrolling
Part 1 may be something you haven’t done in a very (very) long time. Sending a handwritten note or a card shows you took the time to think about someone and reach out to them in a different way than we’re used to. As a child, I remember getting something in the mail that was directed to me and not my parents. It was amazing. That feeling doesn’t go away when you become an adult. Receiving something the mail that is unexpected is still a treat.
Part 2 is something that all of us need to do. Scrolling after dinner when you’re on the couch at night is just mindless…unless it serves a purpose. I scroll in the mornings for about 10-15 minutes with the intention of finding content that speaks to me. I’m purposely looking for things that I can recreate for my niche and turn into something my audience will appreciate. However, I try to avoid scrolling, just to scroll. Instead, I keep myself busy with more productive activities like journaling, reading or taking a walk.
Moving forward, I want you to remember this: You do not own your social media accounts. You simply don’t. They could disappear at any point in time and you would lose everything on there. You do own your contacts and your email distribution list. Remember those tools are there. Don’t let social media run (or ruin) your life.