The Social Media Struggle

It’s day 15 and my anxiety keeps increasing. You’d think that after writing 14 posts and sharing it with the world, the 15th one would come easy. But no.

I’ll admit, I’m struggling.

Every morning I wake up and check my phone for likes and comments. And no matter what I see, I am left disappointed. No number of likes or comments is ever enough.

I start asking myself where did my post go wrong. Did I not write something that my followers want to read? Was it not clever enough? Funny enough? Emotional enough? Did I post it at the wrong time?

I then spend my day thinking about what else to write about that would appeal to the audience while constantly checking my phone for notifications.

I noticed all this when a friend of mine asked me to write about social media’s affect on us. I realized that in just a couple of weeks my mental state went from excited and hopeful to one of fear and doubt. In just a small amount of time, I changed so much. What happened to me?

As a closet occasional writer of poetry, I joined Writing 101 to purely write for myself. Never did I think I was any good or that people out there would actually find some of what I wrote mildly interesting. Even in high school I hated writing and hated the fact that I was forced to read books I did not like. So when I gathered about 40 followers on my blog, I was quite shocked. And thrilled.

But now I feel trapped in my own mind. The constant search for approval has left me with anxiety. And the more I get, the more I want. This is the effect of social media. At least on me.

What started as a truly personal endeavour became something more. Something it shouldn’t have become. I lost myself in the search of others’ opinion. I feel paralyzed every time I push the publish button. And the aftermath of it leaves me in a state of constant discomfort.

It took a lot of courage to write this blog. To admit that I’m struggling. But I decided it was necessary to get the word out and share my feelings.

But mostly to remind myself to not let social media affect me. To not look for the approval of others. To do things for myself and find enjoyment in the act of doing. To remind myself of the following lines from The Fountainhead:

Peter, before you can do things for people, you must be the kind of man who can get things done. But to get things done, you must love the doing, not the secondary consequences. The work, not the people. Your own action, not any possible object of your charity.

 

Fellow bloggers, if you’ve gone through this as well, I’d love to hear what you do to cope.

 

This post is written for WordPress’ Writing 101 topic: take a cue from your readers.

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18 thoughts on “The Social Media Struggle

  1. Being new to this myself, I have had concerns that I would slip into a similar situation. I’m someway off getting enough comments or likes that it would put me in this situation just yet, but I could possibly see it happening if I did.
    I hope you get some useful advice, I’ll be sure to check back here.

    Like

  2. I went through this. I had to take a very big step back and rethink why it was I created my website, and what I wanted to do with it. And then I stepped away from it for a few days. Just went and did other activities. I believe that when we get into a ‘loop’ of gauging whether something we have written has value based on others opinions, then the joy goes out of the gift and freedom we have to create our very own individual websites that reflect us. Then the quality of our website suffers.

    For me, stepping away, going out to play for a couple days works every time. I return refreshed and ready to share something I have experienced, and my virtual world website, along with those who read and support my efforts, are always waiting for my arrival.

    Hope this helps.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I mainly write for myself. Okay, we’re here to share and be read or otherwise we will all be keeping a private journal. But I don’t let myself be sidetracked by what the readers think or want me to do. I will never cater for people demands for the sake of votes, likes, comments and popularity. I don’t want to lost my core and original goals when I started blogging. I want to stay true to myself. And if I’m any good with what I’m doing, I believe that people will come and stay.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I quite understand. You put your heart and soul on display and you hope it touches people – and certainly hope it is not ignored. As JoHanna mentioned above, remember why you created the blog in the first place. Here’s a quote from a writer I’m currently reading, Austin Kleon, “Create stuff you love and talk about stuff you love and you’ll attract people who love that kind of stuff.” (from his book, Show Your Work!) Keep posting!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Personally, I relate to your writing. It’s honest, clear and concise – everything I like in an author, what I want to be. I too am sometimes intimidated by my stats and take that roller coaster ride when I don’t have something better to keep my attention. I’m as human as the next guy. I believe Fountainhead is saying what my dad quoted often “To thine own self be true” frequently. I’m your newest follower.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m currently feeling a little of this, not enough to consciously make a change… yet. But I have struggled with this concept of social media addiction (or at the very least, it occupy a lot of your time and mental space). What I found helpful was to delete the apps off my phone. When facebook became too much for me, I deleted the app. Now, when I want to check in, I need to consciously go to the webpage. Depending on how much you struggle, you could make extra rules that distance you from checking: you need to sign out every time, don’t leave the webpage open in your browser, only allow yourself one tab open at a time so that, when you are checking your stats, that is the ONLY thing you are doing – you can’t leave it open while you do other things, limit yourself to checking once or twice per day. Alternatively, you could step away from checking stats altogether. The likes and comments and what really matter, anyway.

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion! I deleted my Facebook app long time ago and it’s been amazing! I deleted my wordpress app today too 🙂

      I also found that turning off data is a good break so that I can be more present in the moment.

      I guess as I join new platforms I need to learn new ways of keeping myself sane 🙂

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      1. Turning of data is a great idea, too! Even though you could turn it back on, I find disconnection leaves you with this serene kind of feeling. I hope not having the WordPress app helps you!

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  7. I have to say, I’ve noticed the same thing. I’ve noticed that I crave the likes and replies. Thanks for sharing – this is a nice reminder to live our lives and remember that while virtual appreciation is nice, it’s only good in small doses. 🙂

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  8. Loved your honesty in this post. I’ve certainly struggled with a lot of the same. I’ve just been encouraging myself that as I keep writing I will get better and hopefully find my own particular voice and style while still resonating with others.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. hate to admit i agree. have been checking my notifications, now and then when i am away from my desk. At my desk i don’t really bother because i am already too busy – reading or writing. I don’t have any app but i log in through my mobile browser. Strangely, it was never the case with facebook. i was always able to disconnect from that and not check it every few minutes. But here, i look for the comments and feedback 😀 hoping is its fiction, that people liked it enough, or if its a humorous post, found it funny enough. i guess it’s because we are all new and still discovering ourselves and our writing. we all want to write something that strikes a chord with others

    Liked by 1 person

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