How I Really Feel About Social Media

I’m your typical 28 year old millennial. Facebook was born my sophomore year of high-school, Instagram when I graduated college, and Snapchat shortly after that.

In the last decade, the line between career and personal life has significantly blurred. Twenty years ago you would graduate college and get a job (one that you don’t necessarily like) where you would work every day to support yourself. That career did not define your personal life, nor the other way around. Now, however, we’re building brands based on who we are, our journeys, and how willing we are to be open and honest.

Basically, we’ve thrown out the rulebook. And things are changing. So as we pioneer this new territory of social media, I feel like we should try to be mindful of a few things:

Be authentic.

There’s no clever way to say this. And this is something a lot of marketers harp on these days, but it’s worth repeating. Having an authentic presence on social media is important for a million reasons but mainly, to keep you honest. The more authentic you are online, the less fake you end up being in real-life. Funny how that works. I once met a beauty Instagrammer who promoted a teeth-whitener on social media but had never actually used the product. She naturally had white teeth and so the teeth-whitening company asked her to promote their product in return for cash. But once she posted that photo, she became a “spokesperson” for that product in real life. It’s not to say that she’s habitually a dishonest person, but after hearing that I was skeptical of anything she ever promoted in the future.

Now I understand that working for a startup that focuses on finding true advocates, not generic influencers, may make me very biased on this topic, but I take full pride in that biased opinion. The shift away from inauthentic promotions with poor engagement towards long-term advocate relationships is the only sustainable model for social media marketing to work.

Measure once. Live twice.

This may be a corny play on the phrase “measure twice, cut once” but — it applies. If you let it, checking in on your social media metrics (likes, comments, tags, etc.) can be a full-time job. It may be fun to constantly be ‘liked,’ but time is valuable these days. Each day is a new record for the amount of distractions that are available, and letting the one in your pocket take up most of that is one we should be mindful of. I’ve found myself finally reading the news on my phone rather than checking on my posts and it’s a way more productive way to spend time on the screen! So try checking your social media metrics once a day. You might just find that you have more time for other things in your life.

Save the really good moments for yourself.

Far too many times, I have been caught up in a really cool moment and I took away from the actual sights and sounds because I was getting out my phone. I legit got anxiety because I could not open my Instagram app fast enough to capture a video of my buddy riding a mechanical bull with his shirt off at 2pm in the afternoon. Now it’s not that it wouldn’t be cool to capture this ridiculous moment for the rest of my friends to see, but do I deserve to have a mini freak-out over it? Do I really want to miss seeing all 8 seconds of this hysterical moment with my own two eyes so that I can capture the tail-end of it for other people? To some, they don’t care how much they take away from the actual moment, so long as their friends know where they were and what they did. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing, I would just advise being mindful of it. It’s a weird cost/benefit analysis you have to do on the fly that I am personally trying to get better at.

If you haven’t seen the movie ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ I highly recommend it. The below quote is from one of my favorite scenes that actually inspired this entire blog post. In this scene, Sean Penn finally sees a rare snow leopard appear in the distance that he has been tracking for months. And instead of photographing it, he enjoys the moment because he knew it might only last a few seconds.

At the end of the day, social media is incredibly valuable to help you easily document so much of your life. The accessibility to other people’s lives is actually mind-blowing when you think about it. But you have to make it work for you, not the other way around.

I’m taking the end of this to plug the company I work for, AdMass. We started with one mission: to help make advertising not suck. If you want to see how our technology is helping advertisers and social media advocates build real relationships and collaborate, check us out. We like to think it’s time well spent.