Social media is my job and I love it. Like, a lot. I manage several client accounts across multiple platforms on a daily basis. In addition, I use it to enact my personal crusade of annoying non-baby lovers with photos of my kid. To say that I spend a lot of time on social media would be putting it mildly. If you see me looking at my phone while my child talks to a stranger, I’m probably looking to see what’s happening on Twitter or Instagram. Am I on my iPad? I’m probably catching up with Facebook and Pinterest.
While I was working on a client’s page recently, I found myself just staring at a blinking cursor in a Facebook status bar and it’s safe to say I had been doing that for 3 minutes straight. My brain was fried; I officially had social media burnout (SMB).
It sounds so silly, but social media burnout is an actual thing. A 2013 study by the Pew Research Center found that 61% of Facebook users had elected to take a break from the site with 27% vowing to spend less time on the site in the future.
It’s easy to see why burnout occurs, especially to those who are on social media all day for a living. The internet provides a vast amount of information at all times. According to Dr. Joanne Cantor, Professor Emerita at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, our short term memory is extremely limited, and that flooding our brains with information inhibits our focus.
“Even though we can store virtually limitless amounts in our long-term memory, we can only keep a small amount of information in focus at any given time,” Cantor said on a post on Psychology Today. “Our brains need some time to consolidate the information that comes in before we can use it effectively.”
Is it possible to balance personal and professional social media accounts without burnout? Here are some ideas for keeping your sanity and your job intact.
It is so hard to clock out of social media. If you manage a Facebook page, for example, your personal profile is likely linked to that page. This means the updates for the page are a part of your personal updates and, if you’re anything like me, this means you will roll that into your personal time. Though a job in social media is not 9 to 5, you need to set boundaries to achieve any kind of balance. Set a schedule and stick to it.
If you’re looking to create remarkable content, it’s best to plan in advance instead of just posting whenever and wherever. Create a calendar, choose a topic and stay focused on that topic. This will save you a ton of time and energy.
Step Away from the Computer
Nothing turns you into a crazy zombie spewing Mashable headlines like sitting in front of Facebook for hours on end. When the social media burnout sets in physically leave your computer, including your phone and tablet, and take some much needed personal time. Take a walk outside. Read a book. Talk to an actual human being. It’ll leave you feeling refreshed and ready to social media all over the place.
Dare of the Century: Leave Your Phone at Home
Do you use your smartphone to check in on your social accounts? I double dog dare you to leave that sucker at home and go out to dinner. Is your whole body tensing up at the thought? I can relate. One sign that I have social media burnout is that I won’t touch my phone for an entire weekend. I don’t even look at Instagram, which is my absolute favorite. A little self-preservation goes a long way.
Have you ever had social media burnout? What do you do to avoid it?