Why I love Mindfulness as a Social Media Strategist: Shailaja Vishwanath
You may be wondering how mindfulness and social media can go together but the truth is, that really is the key to making social media work for you.
It’s been a long, interesting and rather eye-opening journey of sorts- this road of mine. If you’re in the same space as I am- a blogger/social media user- you’d know that both these roles can take up a significant amount of time online.
And yet, it’s one of the spaces I actually am very grateful for. Because I’ve learnt more about being mindful, thinking before I speak and learning how to use technology as a tool while being on social media.
If that sounds surprising, let me assure you it is. A few years ago, I was among the first to react instead of respond to many, many incidents online. Over time and with a lot of hard knocks, I realised I was going about this all wrong.
Social media is meant to be social, build a network and enable us to be in touch with each other. Now, when we let that get into the personal or the offensive, that’s where the lines get blurred.
So I took a step back.
Both literally and figuratively, I took about a month off social media. At that time, my prime focus had been Facebook and Twitter, so I dis-engaged from both platforms and was only working on my content, reading books and diving into courses and study material on the art of social media marketing.
Through this period, an interesting revelation happened. I was happier, calmer and more at peace when I returned to social media after this break. Where earlier I would lash out and defend my point of view, I now listened to the other person, made my opinion known and didn’t argue it any further.
In short, I dealt with it the way I had begun to deal with conflict offline: with mindfulness and a sense of intention.
What is Mindfulness?
Many people confuse this with meditation or being at peace. Actually, mindfulness is a state of awareness. It means that you take the good and the bad, the angry and the happy, the right and the wrong, with the same measure of emotion: watch it come and watch it go.
How to be more Mindful on Social Media
Since you are reading this online, chances are you may have at least one social media account. If you’re like me, you have 4. (Yes, four and 5, if you count Pinterest) There’s also a chance that at least one of these social media platforms frustrate and anger you during the work week.
How do you deal with it? Here are 3 simple steps:
- Don’t blame the platform
It’s very easy to shift the blame to Facebook or Twitter for the angst that you feel. But the fact is your being on the platform has triggered those feelings. What if, you used Facebook for good? Or used Twitter to reach out to people? Or Instagram to share pictures with your friends?
See, social media is a tool. But most of us tend to overuse it and abuse it instead. Net result: We end up hating the platform and wanting to leave it, after blaming it for all our problems.
2. Approach social media with an Intention
When you are bored, what’s the first thing you do? Reach for your phone, right?
The next time you’re tempted to do this, pause. Just for a moment.
Ask yourself ‘Why am I going on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter now? Am I actually looking for information or am I just killing time?’
If you find it difficult to do this, go one step further and remove the apps from your phone. Access them only on the desktop. See how much better you feel and how much time you save.
3. Turn off notifications on your phone
We live in a culture that expects instant gratification.
Sent a mail? You refresh your inbox every 5 minutes to check for a reply.
Sent a message on Whatsapp? You see those two blue ticks and wonder why the person hasn’t replied.
This immediate expectation is killing our ability to live fully in the moment, quietly, mindfully, wholly. Nothing is that important in the social media space that it can’t wait for you to get to it when you are ready.
In fact, my Whatsapp status reads ‘Call me if urgent. I hardly check Whatsapp’. People now know this about me by default.
Head into your phone settings and turn all notifications off. Use it as a phone first and a smartphone later. Set specific times in the day when you can log in to each platform and respond to messages.
Doing even one of these three things will greatly improve the way you approach social media. You will observe that you are less reactive, less prone to outrage and less likely to spend those few minutes a day on social media with anger or sadness.
Instead, you will find that mindfulness is something to embrace and enjoy as a social media user.
Shailaja Vishwanath is a Blogger and solo Entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in the blogging space. She shares parenting tips, Productivity hacks, social media and Pinterest advice on her blog, www.shailajav.com. She is an ardent fan of books, worshipper of tea and a mindfulness enthusiast who aims to help people build their brands on social media, in an organic manner.
This guest post has been written as part of my Second Blogiversay celebrations that started on Monday, 3 December, 2018.
NatashaMusing turns two today, 6 December, 2018. Yay!!! :))
A bunch of erudite bloggers are joining me in this week long celebration, with posts on my favourite genres: Musings, Photography/Art, Travel, Well-Being and Fiction. Mark the following days on your calendar and hop in to catch these soulful blog posts. You could click on the linky to the already published posts below.
Corinne Rodrigues – Fill Yourself Up: #MondayMusings
Damyanti Biswas – Is Blogging Worth It? #Musings
Robert Goldstein – Look Through My Window: #WordlessWednesday
Esha M. Dutta: – Exploring the Magical Congo Caves: #WanderlustWednesday
Shailaja Vishwanath – Why I Love Mindfulness As a Social Media Strategist
Keith Hillman – Fond Farewell: #FridayFotoFiction
Priya Bajpai – Two Down, Three to Go #Fiction