© 2020 Katie Brockhurst 

Social Media For A New Age 2: The Prologue

THE PROLOGUE


I want to take you on a journey, Through digital time and space...

To Social Media For A New Age,

Which is a kind and loving place,

Where we carefully consider,

What the Book of Face, Is actually doing to us, And the human race.


As you begin to read this book, be it through paper pages, an e-reader, tablet or listening on your phone, imagine that I am waving to you now. Ethereally, digitally and spiritually, much like one of those photos in The Daily Prophet.They are all platforms, a communication tool for us to connect, share and meet through.


I’m Katie Brockhurst, also known as Kdot, the Social Media Angel. I have been working withsocial media for twenty years; my first foray wassetting up a social network at university in 2000. Fascinated by the power of digital content and social media, I went on to co-produce andcreate a podcast which won Gold in the firstever ‘Internet Programme’ category at the Sony Radio Academy Awards in 2007 and set up my agency Kdot Online soon after. You can readmore about my journey in my first book, which was shortlisted as a finalist at The Business Book Awards 2019. You can also read more about me at the back of this book (or here).


I see our world and these various platforms we use to communicate becoming more magical and futuristic. Grids of connectivity where we share transmissions through our stories, content encoded with our energy, blending with each other more and more, as we ask: what is reality? We are moving differently now through time and space, part of a digital society and culture, managing many digital portals and identities. Time, energy and reality are more malleable than before.


In book one, I share how we are in the midst of a new age, a digital age, a pivotal point in our evolution. Yet this merge with technology in many ways is an experiment for and on the human race, with the latest data and insights only now revealing the longer term impacts digital life is having on our bodies, brains and wellbeing.


It is hard to keep track of reality, As we merge more deeply with technology.

Becoming more aware of what it’s doing to our psychology.


In my twenty years of working with social media, I have come to see the many ways it can be both good and bad for us. For society, for democracy and culture, for our relationships and businesses. For our health, mind, body and spirit. This book is an account of what I see and feel happening in digital culture. I share about the importance of ethical social media in digital society, alongside ideas on how to manage our digital wellbeing, avoiding burnout whilst working in today’s world.


Ethical social media users can steer conversations away from dark places and toward more productive and informative interaction. It is not simply a matter of ‘be good to others’: it is the ability to guide others and set standards that help, protect and encourage all sorts of voices.

Source: University of Sydney; Dr Jonathon Hutchinson, Ethical Social Media MOOC.


My work has a liberal tone which embraces my personal and spiritual beliefs, considered ‘New Age’ by some. I like to call myself an ‘Executive Hippy.’ At the core it is ultimately about how we approach social media with a strategy of love, truth, kindness and self care.


If you are a returning reader, welcome back into my world and thank you for continuing to be open to how and what I share. If you are new, hello, it is good to have you here. Just as I see how we connect energetically with each other through social media content, we are also connecting through this book. If you enjoy it and it helps you, please find me on Instagram @katiekdot_socialmediaangel and tell me about your experience with it.


Tell your friends, write a review on Amazon or invite me to speak on your podcast or event. As an independent author, your comments, messages and support help me to continue on this path and reach people organically. Thank you.


This will read as a stand-alone book, as well as being part two in the series of Social Media For A New Age (so if you haven’t read the first one,there is more to explore). With social media being such a fast-evolving entity, please forgive me if anything is already out of date; it is a huge topic and it moves so quickly. I have a lot of experience in working with social media, but in this day and age where social media is the new norm, that is no longer uncommon. It is a very different digital landscape to when I started my agency more than a decade ago.


I will be exploring our relationship to social media, particularly Facebook and its platforms, where I predominantly work with my clients. I also think Facebook Inc. has the biggest impact on digital society and our digital self, throughthe sheer power and influence of its platforms.I will get into the shadows and take a look at their owner and master, Mr. Mark Zuckerberg.(Worlds first trans-humanist cyborg? Data fromStar Trek’s offspring? CIA operative?.... I joke (kinda). There are lots of interesting theories to be discovered on the internet!) With plans to launch their own digital currency Libra, the imminent arrival of AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) platform Horizon, plus a paid partnership with news media companies, Facebook has been busy.


All of these aspects add up to something much bigger than we can currently understand or see with our physical eyes. Facebook’s platforms are being used by the majority of online society to communicate on a daily basis, so I think wewould benefit from caring more about whatthey are doing with us, our attention and our data.


As we look at the impact social media is having on our digital wellbeing, I will share my personal journey with you, as I realised that I was burnt out, disillusioned and addicted. I will be offering a Social Media Angel Self Care Guideat the end of this book and the ways in which I am approaching social media communication more consciously as we move into this next decade. I am bringing digital self-care to the forefront and centre, as we mature into the next phase, of Social Media For A New Age.


There’s no such thing as IRL because it is all REAL LIFE.

Quote from technology psychologist Doreen Dodgen-Magee, in her brilliant book ‘Deviced!’


#SOCIALMEDIAFORANEWAGE


This book was written in two months, in two sittings, six months apart. I didn’t think I wasgoing to finish it, but like a bolt out of theblue I received very clear guidance during a meditation on a full moon to continue and by the next full moon (the Beaver Moon no less), it was done. With the information so pertinent to this moment, it has been a quick turn around to release it for 2020, so please allow for any imperfections; indeed, please love it all the more for them, will you?


My confidence was knocked this year when along-term client let me go. I had no drive to push or seek for work to replace the work I’d lost. People were contacting me, asking me to help manage platforms and market products, but instead of jumping on those leads, I would not follow up. It has been a weird and sometimes scary place to be in, but with my intuition guiding me, I knew deep down that I had to trust it, to trust in it and to trust it all.


I have not been enjoying social media as much lately. Being on it a lot for my work for so many years, I could 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, thegamification of social media, built into thesystem to get our attention, to get our data and ultimately our dollars.


Russell Brand recently shared something that speaks to this:


Is it possible for social media to become a place to share positivity and encourage kindness? Is that likely? What prevents that? Now we know that Facebook have run experiments in the past. Where they continually promoted comments that were negative on your Facebook feed. I think they did this in Australia. They could encourage purchase. They could encourage people towards purchasing. Now, I’m no sociologist as you know, but I think it’s broadly accepted that by creating a state of negativity and inadequacy and inferiority, you can encourage people to consume.

Source: YouTube; Russell Brand, Dua Lipa - Is She Right About Online Toxic Abuse?


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?


Social [media] affects my mental and emotional health, especially when I’m feeling wobbly or off balance; things can catch me off guard and I get sucked into the comparison trap. I’ve just had a two week total ban on social (apart from posting and then uninstalling immediately after!) And I’ll have another total break this weekend because my mind needs the space! Love to you KDot! You’re my social media rock star.

Source: Instagram; comment fromKathy Bell @kathybell


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.


Being on social media so much for work was really starting to affect my nervous system. Scrolling my timeline was making my body tighten up and contract internally, as I would

read posts and feel the energy behind them. Being energetically sensitive, I was picking up on so much, forgetting how overwhelming digital energy can be, like being out in a crowd.


One day mid-scroll, I saw a very vulnerable and intimate post about someone’s drug addiction, relating it to a toxic sexual relationship. It was a true story, sexually graphic and emotive. The post ended with a call to action: ‘Get the early bird special on my online course’. This quickly turned the post from a personal and vulnerable sharing to something else entirely. It left me feeling manipulated and angry. Someone else trying to get me to read a thing, sign up to a thing or buy a thing.


I get strong reactions to this kind of marketing and communication. It’s visceral, I really feel it in my body and it isn’t nice. I do understand why marketing has gone this way online and know of people working with coaches on their copy writing for ads and posts, where this is being taught.


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, like Brené Brown, the author of Daring Greatly shares in her twenty years of research on the power of vulnerability. 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 these different kinds of energies, information or trauma stories in such an interruptive way 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 this 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.

‘My friends and I are sick of being sold things all the time,’ said Ms. Fisher, a student at University of South Florida with1,342 Instagram followers. ‘When youscroll through your Instagram feed, it’s one sponsored post after another.’

Source: Wall Street Journal, ‘Online Influencers Tell YouWhat to Buy, Advertisers Wonder Who’s Listening’ by Suzanne Kapner and Sharon Terlep.


I know a lot of my friends, clients and contemporaries are feeling this same 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 made me question social media as a whole, my role in it, where I want to go and how I earn a living. I needed to put myself on a time out, trusting in it as a cosmic redirection towards the Social Media For A New Age I started to pave with book one.


Excellent read. Informative, looking at social media from a totally different – and healthy - angle.

Source: Wishing Shelf Book Awards finalist feedback;Male reader, aged 44 (praise for Social Media For A New Age 1).


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 has unfolded throughout 2018-19 is just the beginning of what I’m sure will be an eye-opening decade ahead. As we approach what is hailed astrologically as the great conjunction of January 2020, I have to trust how I feel, and act on it.


All around the globe, astrologers are waiting with bated breath, for the BIGGEST conjunction of our lifetime – the meeting of these two giants, Pluto and Saturn, in January 2020. Death meets Karma. TheEnd meets the Timekeeper. They’re ready to collapse an entire timeline, an entire era, and release it through the South Node of the Moon, the point of endings, releasing and purging. We are entering a new era – an age of light.

Source: Facebook; Lilliana Letic, Astrologer & Shamanic Healer.


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 this 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 Iam still working on finding my balance. It willprobably 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.


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

A sort of accidental, second manifesto.


Coming up next...


PART ONE: DIGITAL SOCIETY AND THE DIGITAL SELF

CHAPTER ONE: A BAD YEAR FOR FACEBOOK?


Find the book on Amazon here.