Are We At the End of the Golden Age of Social Media?

I believe we are at the end of the golden age of social media. I used to find gratitude and the ability to use a service for free to stay connected with family and friends, to grow my brand, to meet new people, and to sell my products. It felt like a gift to have all of this at no cost.

But it was never free. There was a cost. And that cost has become too expensive for many of us to bear. The curtain has been torn down and The Man Behind the Wizard has been revealed.

Those of us who create content have been lured by a false promise that if we only:

  • Post daily 
  • Post several times a day 
  • Use stories
  • Don't use stories on Sundays
  • Use trending audio
  • Create original audio
  • Spend hours creating the perfect content 
  • Spend 5 minutes creating (the wrong kind) content that goes "viral"
  • Use the latest features 
  • Create content naively on each platform 
  • Go "viral" with any piece of content 
  • Etc. Etc. Etc.

Then our businesses will grow, our lives will change, our shops will have hundreds of orders, our personal brands will become household name, and our financial worries will be over. And for a few, this happens. The dream comes true and their lives are changed - at least as long as they can keep creating.

As for the rest of us, the 99.9% of content creators, we become the entertainment for the masses. And we do it all for free (or a little compensation) in the hopes that maybe, just maybe the next viral video or post we have is finally going to give us the break we need.

Because we're tired.

We're burnt out. 

And we're done believing the lies.

"It is a mistake to suppose that any technological innovation has a one-sided effect. Every technology is both a burden and a blessing, not an either or, but this-and-that." Neil Postman (2011) Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology.

You may be wondering if I have a solution or an alternative to this? I don't, not yet. Here are a few things I've tried so far:

  • I took a 10 week break from all social media this summer.
  • I've reduced my own social media consumption and content creation dramatically since my sabbatical ended.
  • I closed my Twitter account and didn't log back into Instagram. 
  • I use an app called StayFree to set limits to the time I spend on Facebook and TikTok. 
  • I turn my phone on airplane mode to stay off my phone while I'm doing something else or to focus.

I don't know how I'll grow my business without social media - yet. Having been on since 2007, I've relied on it for more than a decade. Even a podcast requires showing up on social media to promote it.

Maybe I'm not asking the right questions. 

What business can I do, do I want to do, that doesn't require a massive social media presence?

What kind of work brings me JOY and leaves me feeling good, rather than burned-out?

How can I support my family and stay healthy?

What questions are you asking about social media these days?

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