Modern marketing for creatives is all about social media. You have to interact with people to create a community and audience that cares about you and your work. You have to be emotionally involved in your work and interactions. I definitely think it’s necessary to be active on Instagram and Facebook since they are the new advertising platforms. I try to post often, sometimes daily. Some days I find I’ll post in the morning, and then eat up the rest of my day commenting, replying to comments, obsessing over how many likes an image is getting, checking the stats, sharing to stories, replying to stories, and on and on.
It’s all such a time suck - which is exactly how these platforms want you to act. The more you’re on Instagram, the more everyone else is following and interacting with you, the longer the app has to get advertising in front of your face. Add the pressure of the algorithm that rewards this behaviour and social media becomes a full time job.
This new year I made a resolution to draw every day. I did this because some days I find I get so wrapped up in posting to Instagram and Facebook that I forget to be creative. It takes a strain on my mental health and I wonder why I’m so exhausted by the end of the day - yet feel like I haven’t accomplished much of anything. I’ve also been making efforts to start drawing early in the day. I find if I get on my laptop I get sucked in to the web and find myself at my standing desk hours later with 30 tabs open.
My current favourite way to get out of this loop of obsession is to post a new artwork then move away from my phone for a few hours. Let the comments come in but don’t check them. I know friends who completely turn off their notifications. After I’ve done some creative work on my own I reward myself with some social media time. I set a time limit for responses. When that time limit is up, it’s back to drawing. It’s actually pretty nice to have all the comments stacked up in one place and not coming in as you’re trying to write an answer.
I’ve also been trying to schedule a day when I don’t post or go on to social media at all. I just pick up my sketchbook, iPad and try to draw from 9am until I have to pick up the boys from school. It definitely gives my brain a break from all the noise.
Ideas on how to stop social media addiction
- Go outside - Get off your devices and get some exercise. Go for a walk, clear your mind
- Turn off your notifications - When your phone doesn’t yell at you it puts you back in charge of when you want to check on your apps.
- Limit your usage - Most phones have background settings where you can lock yourself out of an app after using it too long. Or you could try using your own willpower.
- Try a new hobby - The challenge of learning something new will distract you from your phone.
- Get together with people IRL - Keep that phone in your pocket or purse and do something fun with your friends and family.
- Go cold turkey - Take a vacation from your social media. If you’re worried about missing out on something, post an away message to let people know how long you’ll be offline for.
- Go camping - My favourite suggestion. It’s tough to keep your phone charged out in the woods. Although I get a signal most places, I put my phone on airplane mode to save the battery for all the photos I’ll be taking of our family time together.
What is your favourite way of beating the social media obsession?