Social Media — Why you need a break

Imagine a world where everything and everyone was online. You weren’t able to visit family and friends, you had to work/attend classes online as well as trying to establish and grow brands. The reality is — that world is here. It’s 2020 and as a professional working in Social Media Management, this is the reality. Due to COVID-19, it’s become more and more difficult to socialise and meet new people, etc.

Credit for the Image — Informi

Positives of Social Media

For now, let’s look at the positives of Social Media. Social Networking Sites allow people to maintain relationships and keep in touch with those they might not otherwise be able to as well as being able to network and establish new relationships online. Different Social Media sites allow different tools and tricks as a means of networking. For example, Facebook has Facebook Groups. Facebook Groups are a great way to meet new people with the same interest as you — this can be anything from Archery to Baking. Social Media also allows people to express themselves creatively through different art forms such as images, videos, polls, blogging, etc.

Social Media can also be increasingly important in the business world. Through sites such as LinkedIn and apps like Whatsapp, keeping in touch, and getting on with work has never been easier; especially in today's world. The most important thing in business is communication. It’s the basics of EVERYTHING. I was lucky enough to work with Socially Esports where I was able to learn a lot about communication. We used an app called Notion to be able to organise everything, we used Discord to note key messages to certain departments of the organisation, as well as using Twitter groups to keep up with people. In just one organisation, we’ve used three different social networking sites to be able to maintain maximum communication. It worked really well, and is why from a Social Media Manager perspective, it went smoothly. There are so many more positives but I’m not trying to write a full-on thesis here.

Negatives of Social Media

Social Media can be an extremely negative place. People seem to care way too much (myself included) about the opinions of others. For example, within esports, different professionals and organisations care way too much about what their community thinks instead of what their target audience thinks.

Credit for the image — Jorg Greuel

Social Networking Sites also reduce the amount of face-to-face interaction for people. It’s so much easier for people to just send a Facebook message or Skype someone for example rather than to go and see somebody face-to-face. These platforms are also extremely easy to overshare on. People can see Social Media as an escape from people, somewhere to rant or reach out for help. People can also overshare way things which can be quoted in the future. A prime example of this was when a Nasa Intern posted and swore at another Nasa Member of Staff without knowing it which resulted in the intern losing her internship.

As well as these issues, you’ve also got Cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is an issue that a lot of people have to deal with on a daily basis. It is any form of bullying which takes place online or through smartphones and tablets.

For many cyber bullying affects their everyday lives and is a constant source of distress and worry. With mobile technology being so freely available it is an ongoing issue and one that is relentless. Not only does it go on after school, college or work has finished, but it then carries through into the next day and the cycle continues. It has been well documented that cyber bullying has resulted in tragic events including suicide, and self-harm and clearly, more needs to be done in order to protect vulnerable children and adults from online bullying. — bullying.co.uk

The good thing is Social Media sites are always developing, evolving and making changes to try to tackle some issues. It doesn’t help when you’re a Social Media Manager. As a Social Media Manager, you open yourself to an onslaught of angry people coming at you. I’m lucky enough to be working for Bury AFC. Bury AFC have a very hurt fanbase due to what happened to the league one club, Bury FC just over a year ago. You have to be extremely resilient. It took me at a shock at first, the hateful comments that would come in. What people need to realise is that on the other end of a brand account is a human. There is someone there. That person doesn’t make the decisions, doesn’t decide the way things are run internally. For example, if Bury AFC were to withdraw from a cup, that wouldn’t be on me. That is nothing to do with me, yet I’d have to actually listen and take that abuse.

Why do you need a break from Social Media?

Creator: ymgerman | Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

As a Social Media Manager, you have to be able to take time away and get a healthy balance. Am I saying that will happen immediately? Absolutely not. I know what that’s like; wanting something so badly that you’ll work endless hours and put yourself out there to do any and every task needed to advance your career just the smallest bit. I know what it’s like to be stuck online to avoid life, to avoid people, and to not have to worry about what is going on in your head.

I’m not going to dwelve into this bit too much, because Christina Garnett wrote a great article going into the challenges a Social Media Manager faces. My point is to be kind to yourself, take breaks. For anyone who is any kind of manager or owner of any brands, I hope you read this article and it helps. I hope you read Christina’s and understand the role of an SMM more so than before.

How long do you spend on Social Networking Sites? Taking a break from Social Media can allow someone to completely withdraw from it and discover life. Find out what people do on a normal day. Take yourself away from all the negativity online and discover truly who you are as a person. So many people forget that at 19/20/21 years old, you’re a young person. Life is for living; exploring different countries, different cultures, working for that dream job that you want. Life isn’t supposed to be 24/7 sat at a PC.

My final thoughts.

To organisations and managers — understand that you’re social media manager may need breaks from time to time. Be a human, treat them well

Be kinder to yourself, and know it’s okay to make mistakes. We all do it. I’ve made countless lately, but you have to be able to forgive yourself for them. Have a balance of work, gaming, and outside life. Even if it’s just chilling out in a field somewhere for half an hour, or going for a 20 minute walk everyday. Step away from your PC. You deserve that much. Take that break.

Social Media Manager currently working with Bury AFC and freelancing with different esports organisations.