Social Media Drove Me to Figure Out What I Don’t Want!

Social media made me think back to my childhood and knowing what you don’t want. 

As a child, I recall adults asking: What do you want to be when you grow up? I had so many ideas, I usually picked a random job off my very long list of desired (yet rarely realistic) professions.

Children are often bombarded with questions relating to their wants. What do you want for lunch? Do you want to go to the park or the pool?

Years later, I heard my incredibly wise dad say: Sometimes, it helps to first figure out what you don’t want.

To me, this was an epiphany! Most times, I could identify what I did not want much easier than what I did. 

Recently, I employed the what-I-don’t-want approach with great zeal, and it was all to do with one key area: social media. 

Over the years I’ve employed the don’t-want approach, and it has served me well. However, as we all know, even with the strongest will in the world, we can stick something on the I Do Not Want to Do This List, but some things just have to be done.

You can throw yourself to the floor, whining and weeping that you do not want to get up to catch the 5:20am into the city, but if there is no other way to get to your job, then the fact that you don’t want to do this really makes no difference.

Regarding my public speaking business, I always felt social media fell into this category: a necessary evil. So, I pulled on my big-girl boots and got on with it. 

I twisted myself into a pretzel, trying to figure out every new everything. I enjoyed the learning and challenge until it started feeling out of control. I fought against spending valuable time grooming and massaging my social media presence, but I buckled down because that is what good solopreneurs did!

Although with age, I have found greater clarity on things I do not want to do, for some reason, as yet unbeknownst to me, I struggled to say no to the pull of using social media in my business life.

A recent newspaper article finally drove me to (partially) throw in the towel. 

Apparently, the goal of all these platforms is no longer only to connect us with our social circle and mutual friends but to make us all into “broadcasters.” 

Their new aim is to drive us to create content that we then spew as far and wide as possible. Of course, this is to widen their pool of people to whom they can advertise. (You may have seen this happening on your Feeds when you receive endless lists of “suggestions for you.”) 

This was the proverbial straw that broke this camel’s back. I set aside the newspaper and accepted that the coders, developers, creators, and masters of the algorithm had won.  

I pictured my future: as soon as I mastered one aspect, they will introduce ten other features or requirements. And, in all of this, the algorithm will ultimately decide where the eyes go.

I took a deep breath and flexed my what-I-don’t-want-to-do muscle. (I’ll wait while the internet gods send down lightning bolts.) 

I still struggle to say with complete certainty what I do want for my business life, but as sure as heck, I know what I do not want. I do not want to spend my working hours chasing the illusive holy grail of all things soc med!

I surrender and acknowledge that in the future, no matter how quickly I adopt, study and become proficient at any part of it, just as quickly, they’ll come up with something new.

This may sound bizarre, considering I promote my blog on social media, but hear me out.

I am not eschewing all platforms; I am simply withdrawing from the arms race that now rules every corner of social media. 

For me, it is not about mental agility. It is all about the time required to keep up with the game—because a game is what it has become.

I know the old guilt will resurface. When I feel I should be doing more, I will look at all the other things that I do love about my day job and remind myself that trying to outrun the algorithm is an unwinnable marathon. 

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