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Navigating a Healthy Relationship with Social Media

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ICYMI: Our Founder, Lindsay Nead shared on a recent Instagram Live, how important it is to create boundaries, learn when to take time off and how to keep that perfect balance on digital media:

Q: How do you suggest to practice more intention with social media when you’re using it for both work and consuming it just as a viewer? What do you focus on to make yourself still have that balance?

 

A: Honestly, I think scheduling anything out in general is so key. For personal it depends on what your ‘personal’ is. If you’re an influencer that’s hard because your business is personal and they’re intertwined. Some influencers we manage have full on separate personal accounts. But for someone like me who has a small personal following, but I also have a business, I think it’s really about, I post whatever I want, whenever I want on my personal. I don’t take my personal account very seriously. But then planning on the Parker account, it’s just about getting ahead of things and having a plan so that you’re not stressing about “I have to show up, I have to post.” 

 

I love telling people that you want to take some time off and as a business, its interesting because sometimes businesses I see are so regimented with their posting schedules and sometimes I wonder like why don’t you say “ hey, I am signing off.” I think more businesses just need to work on promoting that separation. That you don’t have to keep things going just to keep them going. And when you do show up you can be more intentional. It’s kind of like an old school approach to Instagram in a way. I don’t feel like that current method of being always on does well anymore anyway!

 

Q: How do you not compare yourself when you’re looking at that follower count or ‘like’ number?

 

A: It’s so interesting because one thing I like to remind people of, is that an influencer who has a million followers has the same insecurities as someone who has 4,000. Just because you have a bigger following means nothing. You still see the Kardshians doing those huge giveaways and it’s like do you really need to grow anymore? You know what I mean? It’ll never be enough. It’s almost hard for me to watch all of these super successful influencers online get so caught up in the numbers game because it doesn’t stop, it doesn’t get better the higher your engagement is or the more followers you have.

 

I think just people understanding that idea alone is so important and it really is just a number and you cannot compare. And if anything, focus on your own content and when something does really well, figure out what that is and why. Really hone in on your own platform and figure out why people are engaging with your content and why certain content does super well as opposed to what someone else is doing, because that’s not your platform.

 

We need to get back to posting to post because you love it and not because you think it’s going to perform well1 I think that is something that is so sad that we get caught up in, and we all do it. It doesn’t matter how many followers you have. You really do have to teach yourself to let that go and you’re the only person that can do that.

 

Q: How do you suggest creating a welcoming and supportive community on social media?

A: That’s a good question. You really have to practice self control to know when to give your energy to the negative and when not to. I know some of our influencers are getting hundreds of messages a day and some of them are so mean and it is so upsetting to know that people even have that in them. And I don’t care how strong you are, it’s going to affect you at some point. You can only take so much of that.

 

In my opinion, be really good about protecting yourself. Filter comments. Don’t open DM’s. Just don’t even let yourself go there and don’t let it into your space. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m all about calling people out, especially if it’s really wrong. I know sometimes people will share the mean comment or message but hide the person’s profile, and I’m like why would you do that? I think that people need to understand the weight of what’s happening and that that’s not ok.

 

The other approach I love, from Gary Vee, he responded to someone that was just nasty and he was like, “I appreciate your opinion and I hope you have a better day.” Just kill them with kindness!

 

Honestly, if I had a larger platform I would put them on blast, like you have a platform to show people the reality of what people are going through.  I think people think influencers have this super easy breezy life and things are so great. And it’s so glamorized. People want to be an influencer to have this platform and they don’t understand what comes with that. 

 

Q: Any advice you have to set boundaries and just “turn off” for even a little bit of time?

 

A: Let’s take this from the perspective of the viewer. I’m a viewer, I’m not an influencer, so I personally judge it by when my time online feels a little excessive or if I’m feeling a little bit less inspired and a little bummed out. Or I’m feeling like I should be doing all these things. I measure it by how I feel online and if it’s not feeling good or inspiring I always know that’s when I need to sign off for a couple days. Even if it’s two days, that mental break is great. I don’t think we’re meant to see this much content this frequently. It’s just so many things coming at us all the time, and that’s not healthy. Even with my family and my son, I just notice he’s so happy if I am fully present and unplugged. And it’s not just Instagram, it’s my emails or whatever it is that’s online. And it’s putting my phone down for two days and then I come back and I feel refreshed and if I don’t feel good after another few days then I sign off again.

 

But I think if I were an influencer, and this is what we’ve seen a lot of our influencers do, is, this is their full time job. So for them, it’s not like they can just pop off. It’s not as easy because they have content scheduled or they have to engage so it’s not as easy.  So for someone with a platform, I really stand by the scheduling. Like we do have influencers that take off Thursday, Friday, or Friday, Saturday, etc. You need to sign off for your mental health. Nobody is going to go anywhere, and if anything it’s kind of exciting. People miss you and they want you to come back!

 

Just like any other job you do, I really believe you have to sign off otherwise you have no disconnect ever and that’s so unhealthy. And it makes a huge difference in the people that have done this for themselves, and then they have a chance to miss it again and they want to come back on.

 

I also think it’s silly to bad mouth social media or to be anti social media. Because there is so much good here and I think we need to find that balance and coexist with it.

 

Just have that dialogue with yourself, like ok, “what can I do to help me have a better time existing here online.” 

 

Q: With how crazy the past year or so has been, what would you suggest with overload of the heavy stuff? Is it taking time off, is it unfollowing or hiding or muting for a while? Of course while also staying informed.

 

A: I think for me, and Parker as well, it’s evolved. Because at first it was like ok, we want to follow all these people because I personally didn’t know how disconnected I was until it all came to light. And when it got super heavy, I wanted to not be online. It was just too much, but then the fact that it was too heavy for me is a privilege in general. And then I was like how can I grow into this and lean into it. I normally am like ok shut it out, it’s too much, don’t listen. But I actually tried to stay engaged and I learned so much. And now that we’ve gone through so much, I feel like it’s a balance now. And over time I’ve learned that I don’t see eye-to-eye with certain accounts or people but I am still curious because I like to understand things from a different perspective.

 

And I think everyone has trigger accounts. For me personally it’s sad news, that’s what gets me down the most. It’s kind of finding what you can tolerate without running from information coming in. But also knowing where your boundary is, and for me that was more of that local news that would keep me up all night. 

 

I think this past year has really taught us that we need to pay attention to our boundaries.

 

For example, something I realized is, I would follow all these beautiful women that are probably incredible women, but they would make me feel bad about myself. I would watch their stories and the dialogue in my head would be so negative. And it had nothing to do with them, it was all me, and this past year I eventually realized that I needed to stop doing that to myself.

 

I think we all have the opportunity to make this platform what we want it to be. But we have to literally put our mental health first! xx, Lindsay

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