I took a hiatus from all Social Media at the end of 2019. Desperately disenchanted with my career, insecure about what I had to offer and afraid for my future; I experienced an existential crisis.
I knew I had to do a Six Thinking Hats recalibration of my life, which ultimately empowered me to end my career in sales to embrace the lifestyle of a tortured artist. In doing so, I found my power.
Auditing social media to find peace and power!
Since re-engaging with the social media world to launch my passion project, Mutabilis, I have learned that my ‘use’ of social media and networking since 2008 had been a process of trial and error, worryingly it took me eleven years to recognise my errors.
I realise now that I created my own social media experience, unaware of the gaps in my knowledge that were leading to my disengagement. User error is usually the root cause of malfunction; I’ve logged enough IT Helpdesk tickets to learn that lesson.
My engagement consisted of adding people at random without logic or reason (as well as accepting every connection request, which is a rabbithole I never wish to go down again) occasionally putting some ‘stuff’ on my profiles so that I could blag that I was on board. I wasn’t. Ever.
I find it difficult to believe that I am the only person to have fumbled my way through more than a decade of social media and networking existence.
Taking all of the soft edges away from my writing in the previous four paragraphs, what I’m saying is: putting rubbish in means rubbish comes out.
This is the three point social media presence audit that I use to protect my peace and hold on to my power:
Be explicit about your intentions.
It’s surprisingly easy to learn, understand and manipulate an algorithm to serve your purpose and the sheer number of ‘engagement’ group messages that I get invited to join would make me laugh if they weren’t so sad.
In reality it’s a crowd of perversely disengaged individuals that like what they are asked to like with the addition of a vague comment such as “Good One” and in doing so hijacking the algorithm for engagement – I’m looking at you, LinkedIn users.
I almost wept at the sight of a post shared by a ‘marketing guru’ which informed the audience that a post about having a trending post, was trending.
Of course, it could well have been that the explicit intention was to create trending posts – so I asked what the person did with the post, and it’s associated data. The response was heartbreaking in its simplicity, “Nothing“.
If you accept nothing in your life, don’t be surprised when it’s all you’ve got.
I find it helps to keep the word intention separate from goal. In this context an intention identifies the purpose of an act or behaviour whereas I view a goal as a result or outcome.
Be authentically networked
If the intention is the purpose then your networks, including social media, are the method.
My career change was an extreme life event; for some people starting over would be less sensible. I was able to do a hard reset on my social media presence because I understood that they hadn’t been built to inspire, motivate and enrich me.
Each of us is the authority of our being; each of us has the authority to assign power to things which determines the effect those things have on our life experience. That power cannot be taken from you, but it is easy to give away without realising.
Therefore, you have the power to curate a network that invites meaningful interactions, creating possibilities and opportunities that are enriching. Not only do you have the power, it is in your best interest.
Recognising that you have authority to curate your networks is an act of self-compassion.
Living life with an explicit intention that comes from, is about and acted upon by you is not selfish. Additionally, just because a platform exists doesn’t mean you have to use it.
Be honest about your limitation
If intention is the purpose and networks are the method then your limitation is your humanity.
You are perfectly you, but a human being is by no means built to exhibit perfection.
Bob Marley said it best when he said: “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind”.
Humans are messy things, thanks to conceptual thinking, cognitive biases, biological, cultural and social diversity and, of course, opposable thumbs.
Life is a lovely experience, when we exist in kindness. Seeking to understand, rather than to be understood, can save everyone from world of pain.
What do you think about social media and networking specifically the influence they have on our life experience let me know in the comments below?