Redefining the Purpose of Social Media
Finding balance in an era where everything demands your attention.
Social media is an incredible gift. I was one of the first users of Facebook many years ago. I remember as a college student how awesome the tool was. It allowed me to stay connected with friends from high school. Also, it provided me with the opportunity to reconnect with childhood friends that I had not talked to in years. It was a great experience and I was really enjoying the platform. However, as social media expanded I started to notice lots of changes. Many of the social media platforms became larger, the connections were no longer authentic and the platforms became more about popularity and superficiality. I believe that social media is a great tool but it must be balanced.
- You need to establish the purpose of social media in your life. My original purpose for social media was to stay connected to family and friends. However, as times changed I had to redefine the purpose of social media in my life. Fast forward and I am now an entrepreneur and highly respected thought leader. My purpose for social media is totally different than it was years ago. In addition, every platform is different and you must be clear about how you will use each platform. For example, I post entirely different content on Facebook than I do on LinkedIn or Instagram. You have to figure out what works best for you. If you do not establish a clear purpose for social media, you will get sucked into a vortex of triviality and futility. I am not saying that social media is a bad thing. I’m just saying that when you do not know the purpose of a thing you will abuse it.
- Do not give into the pressure to stay connected to social media. Honestly, my brand would not be what it is today with social media. I do not have time to go into my entire story. However, social media helped establish me as a highly respected thought leader and voice in my generation. I learned quickly the power of platforms and leveraging them to influence larger groups of people. At the same time, I realized that there is an increasing amount of pressure that comes with building platforms and becoming an influencer. You feel pressure to constantly post and remain connected to everyone. Ultimately, you will have to post great content and stay connected to build a great platform but you must have balance. When social media begins to consume your life it is a good indication that you have lost your center. Social media should only be one dimension of your life. It was never designed to define your life. I encourage you to establish clear boundaries. Do not allow social media to replace real life social interactions. After all, we were created for deep and meaningful relationships.
- Understand that it is okay to take a break from social media. At one time I disappeared from social media. I froze accounts and I was not active for over a month. While I did miss connecting with people, I cannot honestly say that I missed the platforms that much. That break showed me how much time I was wasting on social media. Instead of spending hours scrolling my phone I could be devoting my energy to more significant things. Also, I learned that my impact and influence does not diminish because I take a break from social media. Too many people get their identities from social media. We crave the attention and we live for the likes, comments and shares. However, if you do not have an identity apart from social media, you need to do some soul searching and really find out who you are. Your value does not come from social media or the affirmation of others. Your value comes from knowing your power and embracing the uniqueness of your voice. Social media should enhance your life but never dominate your life.
- Establish your social media creed. When I started to build my brand years ago I made a personal decision. I decided that I would not feed into the negativity and toxicity that I saw many spewing on social media. Instead, I decided that I would always use my platforms as a force for good. Fast forward years later and I have kept my promise. Athletes, entertainers, media personalities and some of the top influencers in the world have connected with me. Why do they connect with my message? They connect with my message because I have used my platforms to empower and elevate the lives of people around the world. Almost every single day I hear from someone around the world that has been touched and impacted by my message. I am so thankful that I have been able to create a platform that has empowered people around the world to live greater lives. Ultimately, I believe that every platform should serve as a force for good. Use your voice to bring awareness, call people to action or even to provoke thought. Speak up about the things that matter to you. Social media has simply been a tool to amplify my voice and expand my message. I believe social media can be the same for you.