Social media health check, Helen Perry @notaboutthekids

Social media health check

It was Mother’s Day yesterday in the UK. The kind of ‘special’ day when social media triggers complicated emotions. I have a solid family life and relationship with my mum, but even so, scrolling through an Instagram feed full of happy fam images felt a little tricky. So how’s it looking if your life isn’t so chocolate box? Also, just generally, I’ve been feeling uneasy about the fact that I speak and write a lot about the positive side of social, without touching much on its potential pitfalls. About the suspicion, we all have that it can be damaging to our mental health. There are so many questions still to answer about how to build the robustness needed in ourselves, and our kids, to handle it. So I wanted to share a few things I’ve been thinking and reading lately around social media self-care.

Insta news

Newsflash, it’s hard to grow a large following on Instagram in 2019. It’s not guaranteed even if you have great content and follow all of the ‘rules’ of effective Instagramming. So much so that many people and brands cheat by buying followers and engagement (and incidentally I don’t believe this has been clamped down upon anywhere near as much as Instagram would have us believe).  But there have been a couple of heartening noises from The Gram in the past few weeks that could help shift the emphasis away from acquiring large follower numbers.

First, the platform told us that it is trialing a new user profile page layout that puts more emphasis on YOU and less emphasis on how many followers you have. Hurrah, yes please Instagram. Here’s an early look, some users may already have noticed the changes.

The rise of the nano influencer?

Instagram is also planning changes within the influencer economy, as outlined here by Vogue Business. My big takeaway from this is that the platform is rolling out it’s Paid Partnership tag to smaller users. In theory, this could open up branding and promotional opportunities to those with great expertise and content, but not hordes of followers. 

Note to Instagram from me; while you are at it removing the 10,000 follower barrier to gain links in Stories would be great. It would democratise the platform and benefit the mental health of many users. 

Social in traditional media

Countless articles about the potential impact of social media on our health and happiness are just a Google search away. But this piece in the Guardian particularly caught my eye. Ostensibly, it’s about a row between the lucky homeowners of Notting Hill and influencers. They are using the neighborhood as a backdrop for their Instagram accounts. I know, the very definition of first world problems…

However, writer Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett uses the row as a jumping off point to discuss her fears that Instagram fundamentally “changing the way that we interact” with our surroundings (spoiler, not for the better).

While I don’t agree with much of the doom and gloom published in trad media about social networks (which coincidentally continue to devour their audience), I like this one. How about, let’s post and celebrate what’s on our doorstep, rather than staging a life less ordinary?

Keep yourself in the loop

I recently signed up to a week-nightly newsletter from online tech magazine The Verge. It’s called The Interface and it’s written by their Silicon Valley editor Casey Newton. It mainly covers Facebook news (and so also Instagram and What’s App because FB owns them too) and can be super geeky. However, you will also find some genuinely thought-provoking insight into how our lives continue to be impacted by tech giants. Click here to check it out.

Go see if the grass is greener

I’m also spreading my time a little more across other platforms. Because eggs and basket, and perspective. After much nagging from friends, I am putting together a LinkedIn profile. I hope that it will be a good place to share blog posts that of interest in a business context. And to talk about just work. 

It’s not a social platform, it’s a search engine, but I get real pleasure and inspiration from dipping into Pinterest every day. Come and hang out with me there.

Time out

I’m interested to know what you think about screen time and social media monitors? You can now check not how much time you have spent on your smartphone, and on individual apps. Click here if you don’t know how

The idea is to promote digital wellness, but I can’t help feeling like it’s the online equivalent of weighing yourself all the time. 

Trust the simmer

And I’m going to leave you with this quote, which will either make you consider living the rest of your life in a remote farmhouse off the grid or help you put your social media journey into perspective. 

“The best posting frequency for Instagram is the posting frequency that you can consistently maintain for the rest of your natural life.” Blogging entrepreneur, Neil Patel

The drama in this statement makes me smile, but I find it helpful and here is why. None of what you would like to achieve via your social platforms needs to be done in the next few weeks. Or months. Or years even. It’s a long term project that will grow and change as you do. Pace yourself.  Trust the build. Or as the writer and life coach, Tiffany Han calls it, the simmer. Check out her brilliant podcast for creatives Raise your hand say yes.

That’s it. A rush job (we’re going on holiday tomorrow), but better done than perfect! I’d love to hear your views. 

What's your View?

2 comments on “Social media health check

  1. Mostlyfoodandtravel on

    Another great article filled with a lot of good information Helen! Thank you! Love the quote by Neil Patel. Also keeping it close to your doorstep is another brilliant way to think. Got a few tips from your read as always

  2. Fiona Austin on

    A well done post! As a positive psychologist – (ironically based in Notting Hill!) I’m quite shocked at how many more clients I’m getting who are simply triggered by Instagram and the insecurities it has brought up in people’s lives … I have even find myself walking my dog and getting stopped for a chat and then leading questions regarding the anxiety of it all! Something will give – the once a day, every day, 3 hours a day is not sustainable for many, who say are — also hairdressers, lawyers or chefs or indeed mums … 3 hours a day – wow you could learn Chinese with that sort of application. It’s a subject I could discuss for hours! Well done Helen. It’s important to highlight.

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