It’s said successful bloggers devote 20% of their time writing, and 80% of their time promoting. That’s one hell of a ratio. For those of us who occasionally struggle on the motivational front, it’s often difficult to get that creative tap flowing. Once it is, capping content and stemming the flow to promote, seems a tad risky. With blogging time at a premium, how do we manage an 80/20 split? That type of expectation can cause anxiety – social media anxiety.
Social Media Anxiety Disorder (yes it’s an actual thing), an ailment acquired when constant participation in social media affects a person’s mental and physical well-being.
For me, anxiety rears its head when I’m struggling with a topic, blocked, or playing the avoidance game. As the clock ticks down and the pressure builds, anxiety rises, until I eventually muster the will to force myself to write something. Good, bad or shite, the job gets done. I breathe a sigh of exasperation and hit ‘publish’.
But wait, hold on.
I’m only 20% done. Rain check the sigh, I’ve got work to do.
Social Media, the ever-growing, all-consuming entity that touches every aspect of our lives, regardless of latitude, nationality, lifestyle or Apple/Android preference. If you have WIFI, you have social media. And if you have social media, there’s a chance you have social media anxiety.
I’ve had an online presence for years, yet I marvel at the growing magnitude and infinite depths of the Web. It’s like a black hole, siphoning the life out of anyone within WIFI range. And yet I’m here daily, with millions of others, in stark contrast to my real-life persona.
I’m not an anti-social person (my wife disagrees) but as I age, I find myself content in pursuing a pseudo-hermit lifestyle. It suits me. I don’t dislike people, I prefer my own company. So why is it I feel compelled to participate in social media platforms and engage with a thousand virtual friends? I’m not a narcissist, despite the occasional selfie, so that’s not it. Perhaps it’s the freedom of expression. Where else can you engage with people in your underwear and socks, drinking a Coors Lite at 11 am?
But it’s more than that.
Why do we do it?
Simple. If you want your posts read, you have to promote (unless your last name happens to be Huffington). For the rest of us, building an audience is work. Truth is, no one is waiting on your next article. It doesn’t happen. Sorry to ratchet up the anxiety meter, but it is a hard fact. Endless content spewing forth from that black hole bumps and buries a post at warp speed. While SEO’s, key word optimization and Google rankings increase your odds, if you don’t promote, you don’t get read.
And not getting read leads to disillusionment, loss of motivation, sometimes anxiety. Not necessarily a disorder, but hardly a booster shot either.
Why is no one reading my posts?
Because you’re not reading theirs.
Simple fix. Get out there and mingle. Interact, share, +1, comment, ‘like’. For those who don’t reciprocate, cut the ties, dump the dead wood. Like purging Twitter ‘Unfollowers’, there’s nothing wrong with taking stock and cleaning house once in a while.
My anxiety is limited to looming deadlines and occasional self-criticism. While I find wading through a half-dozen social media sharing platforms time-consuming, you get back what you put in, so I don’t complain (often). I haven’t achieved an 80/20 split, but I’m not far off, and heading in the right direction.
Blogging affects my mental and physical well-being positively. No disorder here. Rewards far outnumber the disappointments.
How about you, how HIGH is your ANXIETY?
‘High Anxiety’ is a 1977 comedy produced and directed by Mel Brooks, a parody of Alfred Hitchcock films, and box office hit. Rotten Tomatoes rating: 7.2/10
‘High Social Media Anxiety’, is a 2016 blog post by Mike Senczyszak, panned and dismissed by critics and bloggers alike. Rotten Tomatoes rating: 1.3/10
Until next time,