In today’s hyper-connected world, social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. While it offers numerous benefits, there’s a darker side to this digital realm that often goes unnoticed. For creatives, in particular, social media can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it provides a platform to showcase talents and connect with a global audience. On the other, it has the potential to undermine creativity by fostering unhealthy comparisons and fueling the fear of missing out (FOMO). In this blog post, we’ll explore the pitfalls of social media for creatives and offer strategies to stay disciplined and inspired.
The Pull of Comparison and FOMO
Social media platforms are virtual showcases where everyone displays their curated best. It’s easy for creatives to fall into the comparison trap, constantly measuring their own work against the seemingly flawless creations of others. This relentless comparison can lead to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, which are poison to creativity.
The fear of missing out (FOMO) is another potent force on social media. Scrolling through a feed filled with snapshots of friends’ successes, lavish vacations, or artistic accomplishments can make anyone feel left out or less accomplished. This FOMO can be particularly debilitating for creatives, as it erodes the confidence necessary for artistic expression.
The Need for Discernment
To safeguard your creativity in the age of social media, discernment is crucial. I have personally witnessed the impact that social media has on emerging artists, professional creatives and small business owners. It’s shocking to me that ‘some people’ fabricate posts to present the perfect life, the unbelievable offer or the ideal relationship.
There are aquaintances in my network who blatantly project financial success and I know they are unemployed and financially struggling. Others project the image that a certain method or practice will heal old memories or help transfrom limiting beliefs but they themselves are wracked with demons from the past or beliefs that hold them back. I have to be honest, it’s difficult not to judge their motives.
Here are some strategies you may wish to consider when using social media.
- Mindful Consumption: Be aware of what you’re consuming on social media. Curate your feed to include accounts and content that inspire and uplift you rather than breed comparison. Unfollow or mute accounts that consistently trigger negative emotions.
- Set Boundaries: Establish boundaries for your social media use. Allocate specific times during the day to check your accounts, and avoid mindless scrolling outside of those designated periods.
- Limit FOMO Triggers: Recognise that people often share only the highlights of their lives. Understand that you’re not seeing the full picture, and there’s more to everyone’s story than what’s on social media.
- Embrace Imperfection: Celebrate your own journey and creative process, including the ups and downs. Understand that growth and progress are often messy, and it’s okay to make mistakes.
- Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself when you catch yourself falling into the comparison trap. Remind yourself that your creative journey is unique and valuable in its own right.
Staying Disciplined and Inspired
Discipline is the antidote to the distracting pull of social media. Here’s how you can stay focused on your creative endeavours:
- Create a Schedule: Set specific times for creating and stick to them. Designate periods for brainstorming, sketching, writing, or whatever your creative pursuit may be.
- Digital Detox: Periodically disconnect from social media entirely. A digital detox can help you regain perspective and renew your creative energy.
- Engage with Communities: Join online communities or groups dedicated to your creative interests. These spaces can provide support, inspiration, and feedback without the negative aspects of mainstream social media. For example, you might like to join Creativity Unleashed!, our beautiful community of creatives.
- Set Goals: Define clear creative goals and milestones. Having objectives in mind can keep you focused and less susceptible to distractions.
Social media can be both a blessing and a curse for creatives. While it offers unprecedented opportunities for exposure and connection, it can also undermine creativity through relentless comparison and FOMO. By practicing discernment, setting boundaries, and maintaining discipline, you can harness the benefits of social media while preserving your creative spirit. Remember, your journey is uniquely yours, and your creativity deserves to thrive on its own terms.
Monica O’Brien is a professionally trained and accredited Coach and founder of Creative Edge Coaching www.creativeedgecoaching.com.au. She blogs on issues about creativity and small business development for conscious artists and business entrepreneurs.
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