Online Burnout


Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

How I Stopped Trying to Be Everything to Everyone

Last week I was unwell and had to slow down for a while. In doing so, I had more time to assess how much time I spent in a day doing tasks that were productive, worthwhile and more importantly, something that I needed to do. This also got me thinking about time spent on social media. How many of us can honestly say that time spent on social media is truly productive and enjoyable? It may have been for me years ago, but now it feels like a chore or something that has to be done. The little voice in my head telling me that I’d be letting people down by not logging in, and perhaps the fear of “missing out.”

Authors are encouraged to use social media to engage or find readers/fans for their work. Make use of it as a form of marketing. In the early days of Facebook, before pay-to-play became more important than their users, it was an excellent tool. I probably came a little too late to benefit from Facebook Pages' wide reach, although I did notice the decline over the years. Unpaid reach no longer exists. No doubt, the same could be said of Instagram. We are all hostages to the algorithms, they determine what you see and don’t see. Currently, Facebook seems to be having a problem with flagging profiles and content for non-existing violations. (See my account screenshots below)

At one time I had the notion that I had to be in as many places as possible. So I was on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. I also blogged and tried to send out a weekly/bi-monthly newsletter. In the process, I found that I was spreading myself thin. Nevertheless, were any of these successful, particularly for marketing? You can guess the answer. However, I did make several very good friends and for that, I am grateful. I left Twitter (X) last year. I’d had enough of the toxic environment, bullying, and trolling that was prevalent. Yes, Facebook can be just as bad in its own way, but the way Twitter works makes it so much easier to be harassed.

I tried TikTok for about two weeks. Nope. Not for me. Endlessly scrolling through Facebook's Homepage is bad enough. TikTok, that is on another scale. I needed to stop searching for validation and relying on others to tell me what I already knew, but wouldn’t admit to myself. The hive mind is unreliable.

Photo by Aman Pal on Unsplash

We can use up so much of our precious time procrastinating on social media, under the illusion that we are making a difference to our lives. Whether that is for social or business reasons. I grew up in a time where being in contact meant that you spoke over the phone, wrote a letter or met face to face. When I was in high school personal computers were in their infancy and the World Wide Web wasn’t even a thing. Social media was social. So many young people today suffer from social anxiety caused by having little contact with others. Why call when a message will do or when you can click a “like” button?

Anyway, I digress. In my epiphany moment, I decided that I wanted to be more productive, more interactive, and creative. I need to start earning more than a paltry income from my writing and social media is not helping me do this. Facebook doesn’t want my friends or readers to see my posts anymore. Fine, I don’t need Facebook. Discord and Substack’s Notes, will be the only forms of social media I will be using going forward. I will be occasionally uploading videos to YouTube. I’ve had a Discord account for over a year but rarely used it, until two days ago, when I set up a group within my server. Discord is a tool for hosting a private community. There is no algorithm. Everyone sees what is posted (text, audio, or video) equally, and nobody selling your data to third parties. It’s ideal for my bookish group, simply called: From the Author’s Desk Group