This opinion might not be very popular at first, but hear me out here…
We are often told that social media scrolling is the ultimate time suck and whilst this is a valid point, our daily quiet time with Facebook or Instagram ultimately doesn’t have to be “a waste of time.”
Social media opens up a range of possibilities for advertising and reaching new customers or fans via an online platform of viable and visual information. But just as much as it is a way of reaching out to new people and engaging with followers of your brand it is also an opportunity to educate oneself; learn, gain new insights and ideas, and develop on trending or current topics.
That’s right, only by ‘being on social media’ (and by that I don’t just mean having an account you post to once a week) but by actually scrolling, reading, and engaging with like-minded individuals, will you actually get the most out of what these platforms have to offer us.
Yes, being online takes time, and learning where to find topics of interest and import is a bit of a talent when it comes to the overcrowding of Candy Crush adverts and memes your friends think are funny, but it is out there. You just have to take the time to look.
On any given day, whether I am scrolling for myself or one of my clients, I will see hundreds if not thousands of posts that I simply skim over. But I gain value from them all. I learn what I want to not be doing myself. I also see what posts are working well with engagement (likes and comments), and get to read news articles and blog posts from people I am not subscribed to as the clever algorithm of social media is always working to try to sell you something and will inevitably learn that I am a sucker for a Paranormal Romance E-books and a bit of a stationery addict.
I use this to my advantage.
By scrolling, I get to see the book adverts and to judge for myself if I want to read them or not (and ultimately discover how to sell these types of books without being overbearing).
I see topics that people are passionate about, that are popular or trending, both in my field of writing and in other areas, which can also fuel my writing.
And this is the point I want to make here. In my book The Write Way, I stated that “ideas inspire ideas” and I truly stand by that. Reading someone else’s novel in a genre you love could be the spark for your own story. A cleverly depicted motivational quote can turn into the idea behind a motivational blog post on weight loss. A picture of someone’s desk, the idea for a behind-the-scenes-tour. And so it goes on and on…
So don’t stop your scrolling. It might be information overload or the ultimate time suck but it doesn’t mean you can’t also use it to benefit your business or writing in ways beyond the weekly posts of ‘Buy from us’.
It’s like any other form of idea, brainstorming or planning session – you just need to parent yourself and learn when enough is enough. Set your timer for 15 minutes a day, committing to only scroll when sitting on the bus or waiting for the dinner to cook. After all, idea’s really are an unlimited resource, and whilst it is good to harvest as many of them as possible, they still need their own pockets of time and attention to grow into story seedlings, and even more, if you want them to become evergreen passive income streams. So don’t overdo it.
And the next time you are facing writers burn out or fretting over your ideas and word count, just remember a break is always an option, even if it is just a quick social media scroll. Writing habits are a fantastic thing, but don’t forget to give yourself a time out once in a while and to seek out need ideas and inspiration so that writing always stays fresh and fun.
What are your thoughts on social media? Is it a time trap of useless information and people whining about politics or a hub of inspiration that can be a useful resource when treated responsibly. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Wishing you all the best of luck with your current projects.