How I Stay Active Online Without Letting Social Media Rule My Life

Monday, November 9, 2020

In the wake of Election Day Week, does anyone else feel social media’d out? After aggressively refreshing every app & news site on repeat for days on end, I’m ready to remain largely logged-off for a bit.

But how do you ensure that while you’re keeping it low-key, social media’s tricky algorithms don’t forget about you forever, de-prioritizing your content & ultimately doing damage to your online presence? I’ve spent the last year figuring that out.

At the end of 2019, I transitioned out of my longtime job managing social media for the organization where I work; I still work there, but I’ve moved into a role that doesn’t require me to be on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram all day every day. After spending the better part of a decade in a job that had me perpetually connected, it was both strange & refreshing to suddenly be able to put down my phone & close my laptop & not need to check them all the time.

But it’s been hard, too. There are times when my own content suffers because I don’t have to be online as much – & so sometimes I don’t want to be. Slowly but surely, though, I’m working my way back up to a strong online presence that doesn’t require me to be tethered to the internet 24/7. Here’s how I’m doing it – & how you can, too, if it’s something you’re also struggling with.

1. Make the most of your time online.

Now that I try not to be online as much, I want to make sure that I use the time when I am online in smart, efficient ways. Do I still sometimes end up aimlessly browsing? Um, of course; that’s what the Internet is designed for. But most of the time, at least, I try to be intentional about my usage.

That means that when I am online, I prep content. I write multiple blog posts, I edit a batch of photos, & I draft a few for-the-future Instagram captions.

2. Create “spare” content.

I have a lot of photos stored up in my Instagram drafts for another day; I also some funny evergreen tweets saved my Twitter drafts. That means that at the times when I’m busiest & thus have the littlest interest in & capacity for creating solid content, I already have good new content to choose from – just spruce it up a little, & it’s good to post!

 3. Keep a list of ideas for the future.

This is a good idea in general, not just when you’re trying to manage your time online – but it really helps with that, too. I keep a list in my Notes app, as well as some written notes in a notepad on my desk, about content ideas, which means that when it comes time for me to put something together, I don’t have to sit around wondering, “What the heck am I even going to say to the Internet today?”

In other words, Past Kate sets up Future Kate for by harnessing creativity when I do have it to save me time & effort when I don’t.

4. Engage meaningfully.

This goes back to rule number one about using your time online well. When you are online, whether it’s for five minutes or an hour (or longer – look, we’ve all been there), try to exert some control over your mindless scrolling and make the most of your time spent on social media.

Spend some of that time engaging in ways that are meaningful, thoughtful, & have a bit of depth, like leaving fully-fleshed-out comments (none of this singular-heart-emoji stuff) on the accounts of some of your followers & of accounts you really enjoy, including influencers who are “bigger” than you are.

By engaging intentionally, you’ll help expand your reach, get yourself into the algorithm’s mix, and better curate what content IG shows you going forward – meaning more stuff you like, & less stuff you don’t. Win/win!

5. Hire someone to help.

As someone who has managed content both personally & professionally for more than a decade, I cannot reiterate enough the fact that social media can be time-consuming &, if it’s not something at which you excel, really difficult. And there’s no shame in feeling like you can’t quite manage it on you own.

If you’re a business owner struggling to keep up with your social media presence while, you know, running your own business, consider hiring an agency like New Day Creative to help you manage it all & ensure that your content is cutting-edge, interesting, engaging, & ongoing – without running you ragged.

Don't hesitate to bring in a professional if you need to! (Credit: New Day Creative)

6. And take a break if you need to.

At the end of the summer, I felt like my online habits had regressed – like I was online all the time & couldn’t seem to stop. I’d pick up my phone & flip through the social medial trifecta: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, repeat.

Finally, I asked for a little help from my friends. Specifically, I entrusted my best friend with the proverbial keys to my Instagram account. She changed my password & wouldn’t let me back in for a full week, which forced me to take a step back when I felt like I couldn’t do it on my own.

Yes, I was absent from the content creation space for a week, & in that time, my stats plummeted. It took me a little bit of time to make my way back to my “normal.” But I got a much-needed mental health break that was more valuable than any social media stats.

Since then, I continue to try to make the most of my time online in order to minimize the amount of time I spend online – leaving me more time for other things I love, like hiking, reading, baking, beach-combing, & trying to learn a new language. In the end, you know what that means for me (& for you)? More adventures to write about here!

How do you manage your digital content and maintain your chill? I’d love to hear your tips for prepping content, engaging meaningfully, & making the most of your time online.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by New Day Creative, an advertising agency in Columbus, OH, as part of a paid partnership. As always, all opinions are my own.

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