Yes yes, another day, another article telling us all about the evils of spending too much time staring at a screen or, horror of horrors, procrastinating by scrolling through social media. And hand-in-hand with those articles are Tweets and Instagram captions of fellow content creators lamenting the old days (ahem, it’s me) and worrying about falling numbers.
Guys. Spoiler alert. I think they might be related.
It’s not rocket science: reports are showing that time spent on social media is directly correlating with poor mental health, and even our phones themselves are made with integrated screen time measurers to help us keep track of what the hell we’re doing on these clever bits of metal.
As we learn more about the pitfalls of spending so much time online, we’re each consciously reducing screen time. And in turn, there’s a little less time to consume content much less engage with it.
So what does this mean for creators?
Well, it means keep creating.
I firmly believe that there’s a place for online content, regardless of the current trend to spend more time offline. But embrace the trend: use it to spark creativity. I find nothing more inspiring than maximising my spare time and going out with friends and family at the weekends. It might mean I don’t have dedicated time to shoot for my platforms, but it does mean my content in turn feels more authentic. I can share (edited) images from my weekends, of real-life coffee dates, outfits, places I’ve been.
It also means a potential shift in where to create and what to prioritise. Instagram posts have a shelf life of around three hours, unless you count periods where you click into profiles and browse their full gallery. Three. Once I discovered this, I decided to consciously prioritise my blog over Instagram. My audiences are slightly different between the two so there’s no real concern about duplicating content – I just work them differently.
What if I’m pledging less screen time too?
If you’re pledging to spend less time online, then I’m incredibly proud of you for taking back control of your time.
Social media apps are inherently designed to captivate your attention. Algorithms exist to subtly push specific content in front of your eyes and it’s all become a bit of a well-oiled machine. It’s no wonder that so many of us are accidentally spending hours on each platform, each day.
But if you’re pledging less screen time, might I suggest continuing to consume content, but more mindfully? Read blog posts, leave comments, press ‘Love’ on Bloglovin. Retweet the Tweets promoting your favourite creators’ posts and videos, not just ‘Like’. Leave meaningful comments underneath their Instagram posts.
Personally, I’m measuring Daisybutter’s success via comments, hits, ‘Loves’ on Bloglovin and personal outreach from readers. It’s a tricky game because numbers might not be everything, but in an intangible online world, that’s almost all we have to go on.
Dammit Internet, you played me again.