The power of the disconnect
I engage in direct conversations with real people on Facebook each and every single day. From Advertisements to organic content replies, my job is to ensure that our guests are engaging with the brand, while simultaneously growing their excitement and enthusiasm within our company. My goal is also to sell these guests on our unique experiences we offer, and to know how to engage with them via our social networks. Every conversation and comment is important and it is my job to ensure I am sending the right message to our guests.
It was a pretty nerve-wracking experience when I first started answering these comments on a daily basis. From my time spent working in PR and Publicity for small bands and music festivals throughout the United States, to my time now working for family campgrounds and a restaurant, my work all comes down to serving others. I must ensure that the needs of the guests are managed and understood, and must be able to communicate the best responses to put them in the right place, to contact the right person in our organization.
It is great work. It can be difficult to maintain full positivity at times, but when I really get down to it, maintaining a positive attitude through the plight of the social media tunnel really isn't all that difficult. Folks are looking for a graceful voice to answer their questions and concerns, and I am there for them each and every single waking moment.
However, when the work day ends and my weekdays come to an official "me" time or relationship time or writing time or movie time, this is where things can get sticky. Am I required to answer customer-service emails on some weekends? Absolutely. It can be a nice way to kick off my Saturday mornings, as nerdy as that sounds. However, we have a great team here, and often, we all work out the weekends we will directly respond to customers.
It is needed.
When sitting online for 9-10 hours a day and immersing in the social media world, disconnecting is essential for survival. Yes, I said survival.
With so much information flying around, I still do not believe our brains are built for 1000+ comments a day. Actually, I know it. We can only compartmentalize so much, and we need to do a better job of treating our brains with more respect and dignity. In order for creativity to really thrive, it is essential to turn the switch off and give the brain the rest it requires. The best ideas often come during my times watching a documentary, playing golf, reading a book, making a video, exercising, and so much more. Sitting in a room and asking someone to "come up with as many ideas as possible" is often counterproductive, since the brain takes and borrows so many thoughts and subconscious feelings from so many different places.
It seems to "turn on" at the strangest of times.
However, as humans, we often do not listen to our own intuitions. If I am looking for a laid back Sunday afternoon, you can often find me out with friends. How about a night out on the town? Catch me at home watching a new film and ordering my favorite food. We often do the exact opposite as what our intentions crave, and after some years of consciously noticing this, I believe it is part of our human nature. However, we must force ourselves to follow these human intentions, especially when it comes to the critical notion of the disconnect. Next time you get home from work, turn your phone off and leave it on your bed for a few hours. It's frightening, but, your body will go through legitimate withdrawal symptoms.
Two years ago, I gave up Instagram for a few months, and the effects were actually a bit terrifying. I worked at a restaurant, so my Saturday nights differed greatly from those of my friends. After my shift each evening, I would sit in my car for 10-15 minutes, scrolling through my Instagram feed, and reacting to my friend's plans. After awhile, I realized that even after a hard shift and making some great money, I often felt down about the direction of my life and my Saturday evenings spent grinding in a restaurant. It troubled me, as I loved my job, but it was often impossible to fight off the urge to check-in on the highlights of others, to compare to my own life.
I had compared these highlights to my working nights, and I was sick and tired of feeling down and out after them each evening. So, I quit the platform for a few months, and it was one of the stranger experiences I can ever remember. For three straight days, I would turn on my phone to search for Instagram, only to realize I had deleted the app. My body literally craved the app, and I felt an even more terrible disconnect without it. I was concerned.
I ended up giving up Instagram for a total of three months, and looking back, it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I urge everyone to evaluate their time on these platforms or in their work, and understand that when we leave this world, are we really going to look back at all of our good times spent on social media platforms? I'm not saying they aren't beneficial and that I do not thoroughly enjoy them (because I love them), but, like anything, perspective is so important.
Why am I endlessly scrolling Instagram or Facebook? Am I really that concerned about what my friends are doing in a completely different city? Am I letting these networks affect my self-worth? Do I feel lonely without them? Do I feel lonely with them? Start asking yourselves these questions and see what you come up with. I bet you will be more surprised than you ever imagined.