Canceling the Noise

Whether you are trying to be a traditionally published author or self-publish, writers in today’s marketing world are often told that having a social media presence is key to selling their work. I’m not entirely against this assertion, and in some cases, many writers have Youtube channels, or Tik Toks, blogs, Instagrams, etc. that they put time and effort into, not because they have to, but because they want to.

It’s not just writers, either. Artists, of all types, academics, entrepreneurs – everyone, it seems like, is growing to understand, that, whether they like it or not, a strong social media presence makes a lot of difference to – well, whatever their bottom line looks like.

It’s not all about finances. But, for some, it could be.

But I’m not focusing on that part. I haven’t entered that part of the social media space. I’m focusing on the noise that comes with an increase in social media presence.

For now, I have a Tik Tok, Instagram, and this blog. Eventually, I would like to start a Youtube channel. With any social media site, the best way to announce your presence is to interact with other people’s posts. Which means scrolling, liking, commenting, and following.

However, this can be a pitfall. Because, instead of just interacting, you can easily fall into a mindless, scrolling state, just taking in everyone else’s videos, work, creativity, while not actually working on your own. And sometimes, it comes together as noise inside your head. It can be exhausting. It can take up time – too much of it.

Scrolling through social media can be addicting for anyone. But when it interferes with your time management, your peace, your sense of self, that is a signal that something needs to be scaled back.

For myself, I will sometimes simply not go on Tik Tok (which has been my biggest downfall lately). Other times, I’ll go to my Following page and just watch one or two certain creators. I’ve been going on certain hashtags and finding more content that I actually like, instead of just trusting the FYP. Lately, I have been watching longer-form videos, like on Youtube, with a certain vibe: calming, introspective, informative. Nothing too loud or too chaotic.

I avoid the “insert social media platform here” drama. I don’t want to know and I don’t want to get involved, thank you.

When I put my phone down, I become more creative

This seems like a “duh” moment, but it can be easily forgotten under the onslaught of social media noise. My creativity centers around writing: talking about books, writing fiction, writing blogs, studying narrative and structure. When I am giving energy to those things, I can more easily pop up on Tik Tok, and make a video about what I’m doing or thinking. When I read more, I write more.

I’m also more sure of myself. I have less noise going on in my head. And, in a sort of reverse psychology twist, I can interact more with other people on social media in a better way. When I have more confidence in myself and my work, I can more easily leave comments, likes, compliments, questions, and just generally be more open to interacting with other creators and writers in a way that’s healthy.

As I’ve been deliberately exploring this conundrum and finding ways where I can be on social media in a healthy way, I’ve also noticed that sometimes it’s the format of the content that can be taxing.

One of the biggest instigators of this is, yes, Tik Tok. With Tik Tok, you are getting videos of three minutes, sixty seconds, and fifteen seconds, many of which are between the latter two. There are different sounds with every video, some of them repetitive earworms, some jarring, and you’re getting all of these different sounds and visuals at a rate of, at least, every fifteen seconds.

Now, I have been watching Youtube videos of perhaps twenty to forty minutes, lately, and the difference in how I’m absorbing the content, of how it affects my mind and body is startling.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a full-length movie, and the other day I watched Dune (which was very good, in my opinion) and the way that having my focus on a story that was more than an hour in length was so soothing blew my mind. I was genuinely shocked at how relaxed I felt in comparison to how I felt after I put my phone down after being on Tik Tok for a half hour or more.

This is not an anti-Tik Tok post. I suppose you could call it an “anti-too-much-Tik-Tok” post. Too much of anything is never good, and that includes too much of any social media platform, especially when the effects are negative or counterproductive.

In conclusion, here are some of the methods I have been using lately to cancel the noise:

  • Scale back on whichever social media platform takes up most of your time.
  • Go to specific accounts of creators you like and watch their videos, instead of mindlessly scrolling through the FYP.
  • Switch to longer form content (many of the Tik Tok creators you like have Youtube channels)
  • Set a time limit, or number the times each day you go on these platforms.
  • Read, watch movies, tv shows, color, etc. (this can also help in creating content for yourself)
  • Set a number of comments or interactions you can make with other creators each day, or each week. Whichever works best for you. (I’m choosing to do ten a week for now).
  • If you hate a platform, then get off it, or scale way back (I’m not fond of Twitter, and honestly I only use it to share my posts).
  • Take a nap (I’m not joking. Taking a nap often helps me reset my mindset when I’m getting overwhelmed during the day. Obviously, this only works when I’m not at work.)
  • Remember why you made an account on that platform in the first place.
  • Remember what it was that you set out to create in the first place. (If you’re a writer, are you writing? If you’re a painter, are you painting? If you’re a video creator, are you shooting videos?)

And finally, I just want to wish you well – in your writing, your painting, your singing, your influencing, your video making, your cake baking, you’re woodworking, your house selling, your stock market . . . financing, whatever it is!

Happy creating, creators!

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