Two weeks into that New Year’s Resolution – Jen Calvey

14 January 2021

The power of social media content

Two weeks into January I thought I’d review my New Year’s resolution. Amongst eating less meat, committing to daily quiet time or meditations, and getting fitter, I decided to give up social media and its perpetual distraction. How cliché and something everyone seems to be doing.

Well… give up feels too strong but consciously cut the cord by looking at social media with more intention. This involved deleting all points of access from my phone so that there are more behavioural barriers in place; app store, download, login and then scrolling.

In a renewed national lockdown where the separation of life and work is blurred at home, mindlessly trawling through images of the outside world, of others travelling, having new experiences, and eating out, was not helping my mental health.

It was not about inspiration and ideas to explore instead it has become a space of choices that are not available so encourage me to live in the future or reminisce about the past. Echoes of Barry Schwartz’ Paradox of Choice flood to mind, I was effectively suffering from analysis paralysis. Serious FOMO.

In the same two weeks, Donald Trump has been forcibly removed from social media and impeached for the second time following the Capitol Hill riots. The power of content shared amongst social media is continuing to grow. On an individual level it can lead to feeling inferior, resentful but can also compel individuals to commit acts of insurrection and open fire on others.

The ability for an orator to shape beliefs, mobilise masses and inspire action has led to some important movements in our living history. But the connectivity of social media makes this more interactive, fast paced, and instantaneous. It can easily get out of hand and you lose control.

There is such power in social media that is often underestimated. We have become so accustomed to this means of communication that we have internalised the extent to which it impacts us. It is more important than ever for brands and companies to recognise what they do online is how they are understood. Consumers often take it literally – actions and words.

There is also fatigue – resistance to hearing the same messages so the challenge is saying fewer, more meaningful things, honestly. And surely, we all want to improve the world. Certainly, aim for better for the world and in doing so for us all, your consumers.

As for me I’m trying to live more in the present – hard in lockdown. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go cold turkey with social media, but I can consciously manage it by actively using it less so there will always be opportunities to reach out to customers like me – those opportunities will just be in fewer, more meaningful, honest windows.

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Tags: One Picture, Digital Marketing, Brand Engagement, UK, Lockdown, Social Media