Social Media

Hello and welcome to our second blog.

This blog is a little longer than our previous edition and focuses on social media, but stick with it because there might be some gems to unearth within. 
 
When I was younger, I was incredibly proud of my social media following. It was almost a confirmation of my success in my career up to that point. I have made many friends through social media, found incredible resources, secured speaking work and even the odd bit of hope and inspiration when it was needed from time to time.
 
Despite all that, I decided to delete my personal social media accounts just before the new year. At the time of deletion, I was verified on every platform and I had a reach of 33,000+ followers over the various channels. 
 
So, why did I delete them?

Here are some of my reasons:

1. I have regularly struggled with anxiety, predominantly because of the expectations I placed upon myself in how I must behave so that I am perceived in the correct way by my peers and by strangers.

Social media only added fuel to this fire, and it is a fire I have no wish to keep fighting. 

2. One of my main aims has been to stay in the present.

Looking ahead to what might happen and the consequences of my actions have stunted my development and progress more times than I care to imagine, but it has also stopped me enjoying the moment and connecting with people better.

Life is for living in the moment, not through a screen.

Goodbye incessant scrolling.

Hello, real world!

3. It was Laurie Santos and Yale’s ‘Science of Well-being’ course that gave me a real kick up the arse. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. Even better, it is free to enrol on the course at the time of writing.

https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being

During the course, I saw more and more data relating to how social media affects happiness. And it confirmed one thing in particular for me and that was the effects of social comparison.

Social media is not real life, we can and most of the time do, alter everything about us online. From photoshopping, to filters, to posting only the positives. And sadly, most of these positives are plain old lies.

This gives us unrealistic social comparisons of what we ‘should’ be, want and have which has detrimental effects on our well-being. Face-to-face interactions are much healthier for many reasons but also because we lack the ability to hide the majority of our struggles and flaws. It allows us to be authentic and to be real.

In my opinion, authenticity will become one of our most valuable currencies, particularly for organisational leaders.

Being authentic allows us to remove these unrealistic expectations. These unrealistic expectations are particularly hurting the younger generations.

If you would like to read a paper that will articulate this in a much better way than I can then please see below.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275507421_Social_comparison_social_media_and_self-esteem

4. According to broadbandsearch.net, we spend an average of 2 hours and 24 minutes a day on social media.

A lot of that time is wasted time. That time is not always reading and finding the positives I outlined at the start of this blog.

Since removing my social media I have been able to use that time wisely. Whether that’s being physically or socially active, simply completing tasks that in turn take away any stress that might have been threatening to overwhelm me or just doing absolutely nothing because that’s as important as doing something sometimes. Think of what you might and could do with those extra few hours a day.

5. No matter how hard you try to control your feed, you cannot block out negative or harmful content. Too often I went on social media and would stumble upon something that didn’t make me feel good.

You cannot always block out the negatives, and nor should you. Being human and living in the real world means we must learn to overcome, adapt and manage the obstacles in our way. But we should actively look to reduce how much negativity we are exposed to and deleting social media has certainly achieved that for me. It’s much easier to filter what you are exposed to in person than online.

6. I briefly mentioned how staying present would allow me to connect better with those I am with at that time but deleting social media has actually allowed me to connect better with everyone in my circle.

I thought that when I deleted social media, I would miss out on what people were doing or possibly lose contact with those people.

When in reality, it has forced me to make the effort to stay in contact with my friends through messages or phone calls, which allows for better social connection.

Direct contact was something that I had started doing less when I was on social media because I felt I knew what was happening because of their profiles rather than actually asking them! 

It took me a long time to reduce and then remove my personal social media accounts because I always found an excuse not to. 

For example,

“I get business through my channels”
“Everyone else is on it, why shouldn’t I be?”
“I don’t spend that much time on it…”
“FOMO”

Quite frankly, there should be no excuses when it comes to prioritising your well-being.

It has taken me too long to realise that.
 
Thank you for reading the second Olywel blog. I hope this has given you some food for thought.

This isn’t a plea for you to delete your social media accounts, this is just a nudge to think about your relationship with social media.

If you are to continue using social media and you prioritise your own and others well-being then you have a responsibility to post the ‘right’ things.

Before posting, ask yourself these questions,

“Is it true?”
“Is it kind?”
“Does it help others?” 
 
I will regularly update our subscribers with information, advice and guidance on wellbeing and performance in the workplace – from our thoughts on the latest news and findings, expert guests, to top tips on improving workplace culture and boosting employee wellbeing.
 
Keep safe and keep well,

Jack

1 comment

  1. Very interesting insights Jack. FOMO is real. It is interesting that a person of your international stature took that step. But you outlined your reasons which prompts one to take a step back. Thanks.

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