The Social Media Seminar I led brought forth many questions and insights as to how to use this ever-evolving marketing tool.  I will start out by reminding that social media is one of the many marketing tools in a company’s toolbox.  I was taken aback, when one woman raised her hand and said, “I really am happy for facebook and the many friends I have. Without them, I would never have been able to get through my divorce. They kept me going.”

Outwardly I smiled and nodded.  Inside I was shouting, “CALL A FRIEND, GO HAVE A GLASS OF WINE, TALK TO A FRIEND IN PERSON!”

Studies have been made that show the psychology of social media posts:  If you post that you are sad, it makes the reader of the post feel good—you are having the problem, not them.  And, of course, the reverse is true.  If your friend is showing photos of a beach in Aruba and their fabulous vacation, and you are seated in your cubicle,  you not only become jealous, you also become sad and envious. They even note a rise in Blood Pressure!

Recently, my daughter, who is a social media marketer, decided to take a month off from her personal social media.  I need to put in a commercial for TheRealSlimKaty, it is her brand, and one that you can find on facebook, twitter, Instagram, Youtube, blog and website. At the end of the month of her hiatus, she noted that she did not miss the personal angst from social media and really understands what I was trying to tell her all along: Nothing beats real life and sharing exciting news with loved ones in person.

I always thought that my revelation was actually just a relic from being old school, or just plain old.  I rejoice at a night out with husband, friends, and family. I am always inviting everyone to dinner at our house.  So when this daughter admitted that mom was right (which I had her repeat after I awoke from my dead faint) she shared three very good conclusions from her time off the web.   I will now share these conclusions almost word for word from her blog.  Note the term almost, as she does tend to lean toward the use of language of the millennials and I refuse to use some of these words in public, again, probably a relic from my past.

Here are her conclusions and my comments:

1.        “If I find myself mindlessy scrolling, I will stop.”   I like that!  Think about it, if you are reading what everyone else is doing, you are not focusing on things YOU can be doing.  It might sound selfish, but instead of looking what everyone else is doing, use this time to keep yourself on track for your goals—be they personal or in business.  Isn’t better to keep on track with what is important to you--your own goals, than focusing on the inane things other people are doing, or ranting about, or watching cats play?

2.       “I will not think of achievements and accomplishments just as social media posts.” Ok, yes, I am in PR and tooting you own horn in the professional world is not fully a bad thing.  Social media is a tool—one tool.  Think what a well written media release can do for a career—your career. Sure post it on the social media, and when it appears in the traditional media—share that too.  Do not forget, there is something to be said to celebrate accomplishments with dear friends and family, bursting at the seams, and toasting the occasion with the glass of bubbly.  If they are part of the festivities, then they will be less likely to be jealous or saddened by your accomplishment, another benefit.

3.        “I am not obligated to put everything out there, nor will I.”  Social media is not fully anonymous.  I may not know you, but you may know a friend of a friend, and these posts are seen.  In the past week, I have read about the death of one man, the suicide of another and the mother’s attempt to reconcile and grieve, and, many views on football, the economy, and even one confession of an abortion that occurred almost 20 years ago. Many teachers in today’s classrooms are trying to show how far posts can go demonstrating this fact to students. They ask friends to share a specific post, then keep tables on the results.  I liken it to blowing the seeds of a dandelion into the wind, once the seeds are free and spreading, try and get those seeds back.

While the social media posts are going and growing, it is important to remember that LIFE is what is important.  No one really cares the number of followers you have, the hashtags being used or how witty you can be.  It is the real moments of life.

Let me show you an example.  My daughter, the social media guru, is a dancer.  I love to see her perform.  Let me repeat that, LOVE TO SEE HER PERFORM. In fact, when she gets on Broadway, we are ALL going—my treat.  Her college senior recital was going to be awesome, she selected the music, choreographed, and performed the dance. A perfect trifecta that I could not wait to see.   As we waited in the pact theatre, we shared our own college experiences and  the history of dance of each child as well. We shared  dance anecdotes, how our dancers of grown and matured from the first time on stage to now pursuing adream and of course, what lies ahead. We all shared the excitement.

Soon, the lights slowly went down, indicating the time had arrived!  The curtain rose. In front of me, something else arose--the light from hundreds of little screens—held in front of the faces of these parents who a few minutes ago were waiting to see their dancer.  Instead of experiencing the dance—they peered through the backs of their I-Phones, I-Pads, recording the dance on a 2” or 6” screen. They missed the elegance and beauty of the stage and of the dance being performed before them.  They missed LIFE.

I would love to encourage all to take a social media hiatus if even for a week or two.  You might find it quite rewarding with more energy, and you might make some more friends—in person and share a beer or glass of wine.  You have to convince me that scrolling is much better than a fine merlot.