© 2020 Katie Brockhurst 

I have not been enjoying social media as much lately. Being on it a lot for my work for so many years, I see and feel a sense of disenchantment, of burnout, both individually and collectively. Being on social media can feel very overwhelming day in and day out. Busy. Bustling. Some people you know, some you don’t. Slide over an inspiring meme. Ooh look, a celebrity. Hop over some unsolicited advice. Side- step a preachy post. Get some advice on the moon phase. On business. On life. Ascension symptoms. Solar Flares. Then notice the ego is feeling something. Oh, it’s comparison. A smidge of envy. A dash of despair. Oh there’s someone or something that’s upset me popping up just over there. And... Now I want those shoes... And that skirt... And to be on that dreamy looking holiday. Dammit. 

Imagine all of that going on inside my head within a few moments of scrolling. Post after post, with the potential to spiral me into a personal social media vortex of doom, trying to grab my attention, tickling those emotional triggers. Post after post carrying an intention to get a reaction, a click, a Like or a sale. This is how we have been programmed to play, yes? Get Likes. Get follows. Get shared. Get engagement. Get comments. Get sales. Be seen. Be validated. That’s the game, the gamification of social media, built into the system to get our attention, to get our data and ultimately our dollars.

This game of social media can affect our wellbeing, especially when we play everyday. Many of us playing it for money, for marketing, for work, for our businesses, for our dreams. Yet as creators and sharers, sometimes when we don’t get those things- the Likes, the comments, the sales, the reach- we feel sad, unseen, unappreciated, unloved and unsuccessful on some level, which can play all sorts of havoc on our hearts. Do you feel this too? 

If we are active on social media, we are not immune from these feelings popping up somewhere inside ourselves when we hop on and off it, even if we are not fully conscious of it. We are not immune from feeling those moments when the social dopamine slot machine doesn’t line up with the winning prize of Likes, comments or shares. 

 

I have so much compassion for everyone trying to ‘make it’ online right now; it is a confusing landscape. We need to share our stories, our vulnerabilities with each other and be truly seen by others. It is beautiful and powerful in the right context. We are wired for connection. Yet the connection we have created between vulnerability and marketing really rattles my cage and my nervous system. I don’t think it is healthy for us to be served with so many different kinds of energies, information or trauma stories in interruptive ways throughout our day, in the name of marketing. Having better boundaries about what and where we share, thinking more carefully about what we are doing to each other energetically with our posts is something I would like to see happening more in Social Media For A New Age: The Next Phase. 

 

We need communication that doesn’t play into an old paradigm of persuasion and manipulation, and instead look at how to magnetise the right people to our words, our videos, our podcasts, our courses, our work in a more wholesome and less invasive way. 

I don’t have all the answers, but I am willing to try and unpick some of the bad habits and social conditioning that has been encouraged within social media marketing over recent years. It has become a massive market place full of promotion, advertising and attention- seeking. When you add in all the sponsored posts we see, every three to four in our timeline (I counted them one morning), there are a lot of diverse hooks and energies coming up and at us. We don’t see what all of this is doing to us, every time we tap in. 

We zone it out,
We continue to scroll, Energetically exhausting us all. 

I know a lot of my friends, clients and contemporaries are feeling a sense of enough! The push, push, push of so much marketing and promotion feels relentless within these communication channels, particularly when it relates to sensitive topics around healing, mental health and wellbeing. It’s made me question social media as a whole, my role in it, where I want to go and how I earn a living. This path is taking me into new realms within social media, where we begin expanding our awareness of what social media is and what it can do. Where we see it from both a collective, global view to an individual human perspective. The macro and the micro. What unfolded throughout 2018-19 is just the beginning of what I’m sure will be an eye-opening decade ahead.

Managing fewer social media platforms has ultimately been a gift and it has given me a much-needed break from ‘having’ to be on multiple accounts for clients all the time. Inspired by Glastonbury Festival, I decided to take 2019 as a fallow year, a year of rest and recovery, of research and development, as I turned forty and into a new age, a new decade of my own. 

Reminding myself that time and space is a gift, not a punishment. It is amazing that even as free-thinking as I like to believe I am, how conditioned I still am into thinking that we are always meant to be on - on - on - earning, doing, posting, scrolling, spending, especially as a small business, as an entrepreneur. Remembering just how important rest is as part of that cycle, I have used this as a massive opportunity to watch and learn about my relationship with social media, my work, my life and technology. I have seen just how unhealthy my relationship to tech can be. As I write this I am still working on finding my balance. It will probably always be a work in progress. I want to use technology and social media in my life and my business, but not have it be my life. I’m sure many of you feel much the same. So let’s come together as we step into this new era, this new age. Let’s give each other support and comfort as we find our way towards a balance between our digital and physical selves, as we learn and implement best practices for our digital wellbeing. 

I’m doing this for me, as much as for you. 

A sort of accidental, second manifesto.