More and more sane, talented people I know and admire are frantically trying to increase their social numbers and get more followers. Why they’re doing it, I’m not entirely sure.
It could be as simple as ‘everyone else is doing it’ or as complicated as ‘it’s leading to more work’. This FOMO is what led me to join the boost group in the first place. But I couldn’t keep up.
I decided to get to the bottom of things and asked my manger if any of this mattered re: getting a job.
”No, it has never helped one actor get a job over another,” she told me.
Think of some of your favorite actors. The ones who are always working. Scarlett Johansson, Rachel McAdams, Jennifer Lawrence, Jake Gyllenhaal. They aren’t even on social media. Sure, there are factors that go into getting roles: Q scores, foreign box office, etc. Basically, popularity… but talent is definitely a factor. When you’re at my level, trying to land your first recurring role or series regular, it comes down to who is genuinely right for the part. And that is reassuring to know.
When does it matter? Well, if your goal is to be a social media influencer. That’s how you get brand deals. I know people who post like it’s their job. Because it is. It’s literally their one and only revenue stream. More power to you if you’ve found success doing this. I find the demand and pressure to be exhausting and self-esteem killing rather than empowering.
Remember that Yale Science of Well Being course I mentioned? It also measured happiness after people have spent time on social media. Turns out, it does not increase happiness even when the person you’re comparing yourself to has less followers or influence than you. And it’s much worse when the person is doing better than you. We think it’s aspirational. It’s not. It’s unfairly comparing your worst moments with someone’s cherry picked, professionally shot BEST moments.
Basically, Social comparison is a mind trip and will wreck your sense of self-worth.
So, how do you find the balance? Here’s what I’m doing:
Limit your use.
I’ve peeled back on my usage. I don’t try to beat the algorithms. I post when I want to and about things I’m interested in. I’m using it for me, not for validation. I want to live my life authentically and share what I care about. I’d rather focus on cultivating real relationships than getting caught in the “approval vortex” as my husband calls it. He hates social media and he’s got a really good following. Go figure.
Stop comparing yourself to yourself.
Social comparison is bad for us. Stop beating yourself up when one post doesn’t do well. Did you reach 90 people? GREAT! Those 90 people may not have know about whatever you were talking about. Good job. Also, stop refreshing and caring about likes. Move on with your day and life.
Use it to connect!
One of the biggest reasons I enjoy social media is being able to connect with people far and wide. I’ve met several fans who have become genuine friends IRL, thanks to platforms like twitter and facebook.
Gabi and Gustavo in Brazil back when I visited the country for the Fast 5 junket, Sonja in Munich when we passed through for DRL this year and Fab
and Alexis in Paris when we visited for my birthday. It makes traveling with my husband all the more fun when we plan these special meet ups.
We use social media very successfully to maximize our fundraising efforts. We’ve raised a lot money for charities on twitter and facebook. Hadley Hodgkin, who we know from twitter, has supported every single fundraiser we’ve done and we’re so grateful. We would not have reached our fundraising goals without him and his generosity.
Celebrate your uniqueness!
Too much social comparison robs us of our own uniqueness. We start to look like everyone else. We lose our own identity trying to fit in. Good self esteem comes from self love. And that requires quite time alone with yourself. How do you know what YOU want if you’re constantly listening to others? So make it a priority to have quiet time.
Speaking of quiet time…
Don’t start or end your day on social media!
Do you reach for your phone first thing in the morning? I used to. Now I put it in another room and, instead, start my day reading articles on happiness or listening to a Mosaic podcast. They do wonders for my mood and psyche.
Allow social media to add value to your life. It’s just a tool, and like other tools, it’s best used smartly and responsibly. I know I’m not alone in letting it get to me. We can change the way we use it. Stop endlessly and mindlessly scrolling when you’re bored. Play a game instead. Or sit in silence. Or -gasp- pick up a book and expand your horizons!
p.s. If you have the chance, watch the documentary American Meme on Netflix. It gives you an glimpse of the demand and drain the platforms take on top users. Kind of scary, and not at all unlike drug usage.