This is a bit of a random thoughts post on my journey on Social Media. My musings really, as I reflect on what it is that draws us in to spending so much time on our favourite little app that is Instagram. And basically a little tale of how I’m gradually learning to actually be social on Social Media!
Consumer, Publisher or Connector?
I once sat in a Social Media training session that we organised for our entire office. I listened to the Digital Marketer declare that Social Media allows us to make the choice daily to be a ‘Consumer or a Publisher.’ Apparently, the most of us will all start as consumers (just watching and scrolling). But we can also choose to become publishers (posting pictures, tweeting, blogging etc).
And thinking more about it, I can’t help think that there is another category here that he’d missed. And maybe we call that a ‘Connector’. *Sounds like an electrical part, or a part when building Ikea furniture…’pass me the connector please!’. But bear with me here.*
Because you can consume and publish content, but I think where the real magic happens…is actually in the Connecting. Connecting with others on these apps is essentially putting the ‘ Social’ back into Social Media.
But I think the message the Digital Marketer was getting at in that room full of Social Media newbies, with his Consume or Publish choice was:
1) YOU decide. Consume, or Publish or do both. It’s your decision to make of it what you want.
2) In order to really make the most of these Social Media tools…You have GOT TO JOIN IN. His point was that the publishing is really important but now I’m starting to think the Connecting is equally valuable.
Scroll and Stalk
I’m not sure if it’s the sheer amount of content or the disconnect from the people we now follow (as opposed to the days when we were only connected to close friends on there). But somewhere along the line I turned into an avid ‘scroll and stalk’ kind of gal. Endlessly just scrolling through my newsfeed. Clicking on Profiles to go look at them, and all their stunning photos…hell sometimes even read some of the comments. But then just leave it without saying or doing anything.
I would occasionally slow down the scrolling to double-tap and like something if it caught my eye, but even that decreased over time. I would spend hours scrolling through Instagram, then through Pinterest, and then through Bloglovin, reading all of my favourite blog posts and then simply moving on.
And yes I posted the odd photo about my day or food (oh we all remember that was basically all Insta was to start with), but I was definitely just a silent consumer. Not that there is anything wrong with that at all, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing something. Missing the point of Social Media.
‘Nobody puts Baby in the corner’
I keep seeing other women referring to Instagram as a ‘fantastic community of people’ and all of a sudden I thought why am I not part of this community? I felt like I was showing up to a party and just standing in the corner watching everybody else having fun and making friends. ‘Hell, I want a piece of that! I want to join the party and make friends!’
It’s not all Doom & Gloom – Social Media can be awesome too!
Social Media often gets bad press for many negative aspects such as the trolls or body shaming that happens. But I also think that it’s worth highlighting all the good it does too.
My hesitation to interact was most likely based on the idea that I wouldn’t necessarily just waltz (or saunter?) over to a complete stranger and just be like ‘oh yeh me too…I love what you’re doing here btw!’
But that is the beauty in Social Media…there isn’t really such a thing as strangers. It transcends all boundaries, physical and social.
Finally joining in at the party
It wasn’t until we moved up to Scotland and for the first time I wasn’t working in an office full of fab people I could chat to…that I realised that it would actually be nice to connect with some new people.
Living far away from family and friends means I spend a lot of time either chatting to my 3 year old or talking my husbands ear off. Or the poor checkout lady. Or the postman. Anyone that dares to vaguely spark off a conversation ha!
So I thought how nice it would be to connect with other women who, like me, are also living the ever-so-glam #mumlife or have an overflowing makeup draw too. This was one of the reasons I started this Blog too.
So I decided to suck up whatever doubt or fear of interacting with complete strangers I was clearly holding on to…and just start engaging!
I started to make an effort to interact more, whether that’s joining in with #whatmamaworemonday or responding to a funny caption in the comments. By doing this I have found more and more lovely virtual friends. And well..who can have too many friends?
F**k the algorithm
I know people love blaming the algorithm for their Instagram engagement going down, but I can’t help wonder whether there is also just more people who have slowly fallen into the ‘just simply scroll’ habit.
Gemma Louise actually wrote a great article on The Key To Instagram Success where she talks about her engagement actually is better now than ever before because it forced her to engage more with people instead of just creating content. And instead of just moaning that the algorithm meant no one was connecting with her anymore, she proactively started to engage with her followers and others on there and make those connections for herself. And I think that is a great attitude to have about it!
A Challenge…Why not give it a go?
So whether you are a creator/publisher or you’ve been in the ‘simply consume camp’, I think anyone can challenge themselves to engage more, whether that’s on Instagram, on Blogs, or on Snapchat (if that’s even still a thing?!).
What’s the worst that can happen? Radio silence? Meh, move on or just know you’ve done a nice thing and shown some appreciation. But best case scenario, you join a great little community of like-minded people and get to be part of the conversation. Instead of just peeping in from the outside. *Pssst…It’s way more fun inside the party!*
So there you have it. My thoughts on being Social on Social Media and all things engagement.
What do you think? Would you consider reaching out a bit more, or are you already super engaged and building a little circle of virtual friends? I’d love to hear!