I hosted a panel at Social Media Week Toronto on Thursday, February 16. Chris Young, Casie Stewart and Stephanie Montreuil joined me on the panel as we discussed Social Media Friendships, Anxiety and You.
I started off my little chat talking about what I do and this website and my love for social media. I discovered a lot of fab bloggers and made some amazing people thanks to Twitter. Facebook keeps me in touch with people I already know but Twitter is just a whole world of cool people waiting for me to meet… like one big cocktail party. I can mingle when I want and with whom I desire, and don’t feel bad when I decide to jump into conversations. The best part is when you pop your head into a conversation, say your two cents, and then back out. Where else can you do this?
I also chatted about the fact that I have two Twitter accounts – one at @amotherworld and my other @marialianos. I struggled with having two accounts for a while but then realized not everyone who reads amotherworld.com will want to know about my passion for punk rock and obsession with the paranormal.
I am trying to “build a brand” with amotherworld – oh no! Those dreadful words… “build a brand”. Yikes. Now I actually have to be careful with what I say? PR companies and brands are watching me…
Then the anxiety kicks in. Do I tweet that? Maybe I should write that on my personal account? Did I reveal too much of myself? Should I say that about my kids?
Even when I thought about putting something together a panel during Social Media Week, I became so nervous! A talk on social media anxiety made me anxious… oh the irony.
People online will meet me in real life, in real time… no time to think about what I will write or tweet, I’m just out there ready to open my mouth to speak and God help me what words will come out. Will they like what I have to say? Will they think I look different than my avatar? Will they find me similar to my tweets?
Yes – social media anxiety or social media stress. I think to an extent, everyone has it. We’re human after all, right?
But when you are only perceived by what you tweet, it gets a little tricky. People look at your tweets and already make assumptions about who you are. Without really even knowing you, there is a perception in their mind. Whether you like it or not, judgments are made in a mere few seconds of seeing someone’s profile.
The twitter avatar, the twitter handle, your short bio and even just one tweet and people have already slapped a label on you. Some assume that I am a “mommy blogger” when I really don’t consider myself to be. Call me a writer, a lifestyle blogger instead.
I used to share a lot more when I first joined Twitter – it seems to be a place for people to connect and socialize. There weren’t any big brands online yet and businesses hadn’t caught on to using twitter as a marketing tool. Once they started joining, there was a huge shift in the way social media was being used. It wasn’t just my new Twitter friends who were reading anymore.
That’s the turning point when I started to feel a bit more guarded about how much I share. I often hear people say, “just be yourself.” But I don’t think it’s that easy when it comes to building your brand – and that totally depends on who you are and what you do.
My brand is an online lifestyle magazine – I need to keep it professional as well. Being myself doesn’t mean that I can necessarily write ALL the details about when I’m having a bad day. We all have those moments of negativity but is Twitter the best place to spill it all out?
Do I really want to tweet out that my husband can be an asshat? Or my kids are driving me to bang my head against the wall? Is that keeping it real? I think it’s simply a matter of choosing what to air to the public.
It’s a slippery slope because you almost become this ‘online personality’ and it can become quite tricky. People feel you must be the same person in real life as you are online. But you can’t always be ‘on’ – all the time can lead to serious exhaustion – social media fatigue. Being online all the time and being connected can become overwhelming and exhausting.
But we are putting the pressure on ourselves on how to use social media. YOU get to decide on how much you want to share.
I find sometimes just taking a break from social media will alleviate that anxiety for a little while, then you come back feeling refreshed and ready to get out there again.