Growing up, social media was new and something fun to do. It was a way for people to see what another person’s life was like through the screen of a phone.
Many people have now made careers out of social media. Some of these positions include work as social-media managers, communications coordinators, YouTubers or influencers.
My dream career involves starting a social-media marketing agency. Some may think navigating the vast network of online connections and content comes naturally, but it’s actually a specific skill set that I am still learning.
“Doing” social media as a career seems easy enough. All you have to do is post stuff, right? Well, it’s a little bit more complicated than that.
I currently work in the broadcasting world and freelance social-media management. However, my clientele is rather small. To build up my reputation, I’m constantly updating my LinkedIn profile about my newest accomplishments in hopes that potential employers or businesses will see me. If I’m not doing that, then I take about a million pictures for Instagram only to pick one and try to think of a one-of-a-kind caption to stand out for my existing clients.
It doesn’t sound like much, but constantly worrying about what to post, how much content I need to create per week and how my next post could make or break a business can be exhausting. Posting pictures of my own cat or of a good latte that made me happy lost its original joy.
Social media can make it hard to separate my personal life from work life.
I used to struggle with finding balance when it came to using Instagram, Twitter and other platforms. I’d find myself obsessing over the amount of likes and comparing myself to others, which lowered my self-esteem and left me feeling that I needed to constantly push content while not appreciating the content I took in. I was becoming consumed by the thing I loved instead of enjoying it.
As more careers, including those in photography, graphic design and journalism, require active social-media presences, I’m concerned that many people may truly forget how to disconnect their work from their personal lives. People with careers involving Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and blogging may not be able to ever completely turn off.
Thankfully, I am starting to figure out this balance.
I started by setting a designated “nophone” time an hour after I wake up and before I go to bed. During this time, I engage in other hobbies that don’t require me to look at a screen. I’ve also become more strict when it comes to being on and off the clock when I work from home.
By drawing these boundaries and actually keeping to them, I find myself being able to enjoy going on Instagram or TikTok without needing to post content myself.
As much as it seems like people need social media to further their careers, it isn’t necessary to be surrounded by it every day. Remember to take a break and try to enjoy the silly cat videos every once in a while.
Kim Uduman is a recent graduate from the theatre and film and rhetoric, writing and communications programs at the University of Winnipeg. In her downtime, she loves caring for her plants, cuddling her orange-tabby cat and attempting latte art.
Published in Volume 76, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 31, 2022)