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Just put it on social: living and breathing Social Media

19/08/2021

Luke Green, Digital and Social Media Officer in External Engagement, University of Wolverhampton, blogs about finding a healthy balance between real-life and social media.

Finding a healthy balance between real-life and social media is a challenge at the best of times, especially during a global pandemic that restricts you to the very 4 walls you are probably sat in right now. But what happens when your job is centralised around social media and the pressures that arise from this? Let me share a few thoughts.

Having grown up with the very prominent rise of social media, I know all too well the associated highs and lows of an online life. Whether that be greater engagement with friends online or unrealistic comparisons to people on the internet that you have never met.

Whilst I’m past these somewhat at present, I find that working in social media brings its own similar pressures that should be considered by those outside of the ‘industry’.

The constant desire for successful content, the ability to stay level-headed in very uneven situations and the need to set realistic expectations are a few of the many daily struggles that a social media worker will encounter frequently.

Speaking from my own experience, when I work on a piece of content that I’m particularly proud of /happy with, I find myself drawn to its success – whether that be numeric or actual feedback, the need for social justification is similar to that of searching for the next high. I remember waking up at 4 am once and being unable to sleep, the first thing I did in my drowsy state was to reach for my phone and check in on an Instagram post I’d sent out that day.

After the initial blur of curiosity, I later questioned “what on earth am I doing?” – the success of a piece of content that has no tangible identity linked to me was one of my first thoughts upon waking up.

Having reflected on my hazy bout of social narcissism, I have since managed to channel this and live by the motto “whatever will be, will be”.

This aforementioned mentality is very much an unhealthy one, and I would urge anyone in this state to take a step back and question “does it actually matter?” – whilst organisations will have KPIs and objectives to meet, it’s important to remember that your content has no ties to you as an individual (at least to your wider audience) – and the success or failure of a single piece of content is not a reflection of your talent or work ethic. You have no control over if someone presses like or retweet, there are a lot of variables in the success of content – many of which have no context to your content whatsoever.

It’s important to understand and grow within your work, but it’s just as important to distance yourself from number chasing, which will quickly become content anxiety.

If there’s one thing that I would want someone to take from this short piece, it’s the thought and hard work that goes into building a thorough and successful social platform and community. I often hear the phrase “just put it on social media” – whether that be a PowerPoint presentation (I know!) or a 900 word story that needs to be condensed into a 280 character tweet. There will never be a case of just ‘putting it on social media’ – at least from my own personal experience.

Without delving too much into specifics, the craft of knowing your audience, communicating a tone of voice and formatting your content is something that is only gained through experience.

So, spare a thought for those faceless personas behind an organisation’s social media pages. Whether you’re unknowingly unleashing a day of frustration on a brand’s messaging services or you’re requesting a 30-minute turnaround for a social media strategy – remember the prior thought, work and mental output that goes into the work you receive or see everyday.

Though we remain faceless to many, we’re the face of everything you see from an organisation!

Be kind :)

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