Does Social Media Make You Miserable?

For the past 3 months, I’ve curtailed the time I spend on social media. I check Facebook and Twitter once a week. I respond to all notifications and I try to take about 30 minutes to interact with friends’ posts and tweets. I’ve cut back on blogging and reading blogs too.

I’m not bombarded with angry political rants. I don’t have to constantly hear how awesome or awful everyone else is doing all the time. I’m not pressured to post all the time and create content and get followers. In short, I’ve stopped pushing my introvert-self outside my extroverting comfort zone so much.

What I have done instead is put more energy into my author newsletter. I enjoy creating that content and I only have to do it once a month. I’m getting responses from readers, and it’s fun without the pressure cooker feeling of social media.

The overall result is that I feel more relaxed and happy, which is incredibly important to my creating stories that I love and can share with readers.

Fundamentally, I have to be true to myself. I like living my life offline. I like having private moments that are only documented in my memory. I like disconnecting from the computer and reconnecting with friends on the phone or in person. I like listening to music and reorganizing things in my room or cooking a dish I’ve never made before or taking a hike through the woods.

So though social media can make me miserable, I’ve decided that I won’t let it. It can be a useful tool when used properly. But it can be a misery maker when you feel like you have to be there all the time and the tool starts to control your life.


How do you feel about social media? Epic time suck? Excellent Promo tool? Fun? Taxing?

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24 Responses to Does Social Media Make You Miserable?

  1. I just started blogging again in October when my husband went into remission from lung and brain cancer. I’m focusing on building up my blog and it’s hard work, but the more I do it, the easier it gets, and one idea leads to another and another. So I actually have a lot of fun with blogging even though it’s kicking my butt.

    It doesn’t leave much time for other things, but that will change when I get break my habit of being so wordy and spending too much time on long posts. I’m finally getting back to working on my books, too, and speeches for Toastmasters. So I guess each of us has to find what works for us. Sounds like things are balancing out for you and you’re much happier. Gotta go with what works for you. Wishing you much success, Kourtney!

    • Kourtney says:

      Lynn, I’m really happy to hear that your husband is in remission. I think you’ve got the right idea–find one online place and build it out–blogging is definitely a more fun place for me to be online too.

      I think the more you do it, the more you get a handle on how much time it takes. My problem was that I was on Facebook and Twitter everyday for the last book launch and I suddenly felt like I had to be there all the time because I might miss something. It became more pressure than fun. Once I pulled back, I realized that I have to control the social media and not let it control me. Thank you. Exactly. It’s finding that elusive balance where you are reaching out to fans but not losing writing time to Twitter. 🙂 Hoping things continue to go well with your blog. 🙂 I’m planning to make the rounds to blog at the end of the week. I usually take 1 hour every two weeks to get out there. 🙂

  2. I’m having a bit of a break at the moment because the online world does become too preoccupying at times – but I’m checking in with you as I haven’t heard from you for a while! I’m glad you’ve found a good balance 🙂

    • Kourtney says:

      Breaks are really important. I was amazed at how much work I got done when the social media took a backseat to other things. Aw thank you! I plan to get to my favorite blogs this week (which of course means you!) I’ve gotten on a medication that really helps with the vestibular migraines and it gave me the focus to reexamine my social media and realize how much time I felt I had to devote to stuff vs. actually enjoying doing it.

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    I think more and more authors are going to start backing away from social media. It’s difficult to maintain it full-steam for long because it can be emotionally taxing, not to mention time-consuming. And yet it’s necessary for networking and book exposure. For me it’s come down to putting my focus on one or two sites and cutting myself some slack if on some days I don’t produce anything. Sounds like you’ve found a better fit too.

    • Kourtney says:

      Blogging is less intense for me because of the leisurely pace. I can check in once a week. But Facebook and Twitter just feel like a constant barrage that I can never get on top of lately. They definitely fatigue me mentally and emotionally. I definitely think it’s important to use them and you really excel on both so I try to watch what you do! I think you have a great balance and I definitely envy you. From here, it looks like you are in control of your social media. 🙂 That cutting of slack is so key. I feel like we are forced to be “on” so much with social media.

      • Carrie Rubin says:

        Thank you. I’m not sure I’m in control of it or just cutting myself some slack. But there are still days where I am on it far too much. Sigh.

        • Kourtney says:

          I think you use it really well. 🙂 I felt that it was a hamster on a wheel kind of scenario for me. I’ve cut back and I feel better and am getting more writing done. Of course, I’ll push myself around each book launch but I’m going to be scaling back and making personal fun a priority because the last 1.5 years really were miserable with the vestibular migraines. And now that I they are finally getting under control and I can do stuff, I feel like I have to make up for all I missed out on. 😉

      • Mayumi-H says:

        I’d love to be able to cut Slack.

        • Kourtney says:

          I think we have to because writing is #1. There’s an 80/20 rule in marketing that 20% of your efforts will generate 80% of your sales. The hard part if figuring out where to focus your energy. Most of the marketing gurus say the conversion rate for a sale from social media contacts is 50:1 whereas from an author newsletter it’s more like 5:1. When you look at those numbers you can see that social media takes way more time and effort to get a sale. It’s my way of rationalizing cutting back on Twitter and FB without worrying that it’s hurting my bottom line. Sometimes you just have to make business decisions about your time.

  4. I’m so sick of Facebook, I’d like to make my account inactive. The only social media I truly enjoy is blogging. I do find good articles on Twitter.

    • Kourtney says:

      Honestly, I think you should focus on the medium you enjoy. If Facebook really isn’t it, going inactive makes sense as long as your readers aren’t hanging out there. 🙂 I really enjoy blogging. It never feels like a burden. But Twitter and Facebook feel really endless. For some reason Twitter overwhelms me more than Facebook–it feels like too much coming at me. I do find great articles and recommendations on Twitter–you’re 100% right about that. 🙂

      • I’ve got both an author FB page and personal. Lately, all that goes on my personal page are my blog posts. If I could figure out how to get them to the author page instead, I’d like to shut down the personal page. I just don’t have time for it. Some people seem to be on FB all day! I don’t know how they get any writing done. 🙂 I was a little overwhelmed when I first got on Twitter, but I’ve gotten used to it. Typically, I pop on for a little bit in the evening. I agree, although more time consuming, blogging doesn’t feel like a burden to me either. I hope you’re feeling good. Hugs to Emerson! xo

        • Kourtney says:

          The only thing is FB makes your author page posts much less visible to make you pay for exposure, so I also keep my blog posts to my personal page because posts with links are almost invisible on my author page. I completely understand about feeling like it’s too much time. Yes, I don’t know how other people do it–I just can’t be that reachable and get my work done. I’m hoping the longer I use it the more I’ll get the hang of it. More YA readers are there than on FB. Aw thank you. I’ve been doing more and still managing to feel good–I went to a grocery store this weekend and didn’t get a vertigo flare so that was major progress. I’ll pass the hugs along! 🙂

          • I didn’t know that about the FB author posts…thanks. I’m happy you had a good weekend. Hopefully, your health will continue to improve. xo

          • Kourtney says:

            It’s really frustrating I have 1200 likes but on any post I’m lucky if 100 people see it. And if I dare to put in a link, that number drops so much. I get that Facebook wants to make money but it makes the platform too expensive for me. Thanks. I had so much fun at the Asian grocery store. I got all the stuff I need to make my favorite Chinese dishes! I’m increasing my activity and tolerating it much better than I ever did before. I haven’t had a crippling vertigo attack since I started the medicine. Woohoo! I have a follow up with the doctors in April. Hope you are feeling well and looking forward to your next book!

  5. Mayumi-H says:

    Glad to hear you are prioritizing a process and lifestyle that works so well for you, Kourtney! That balance is really important. I feel like social media is so virulent, right now. I try to keep my personal posts to stuff I care about/make me laugh/my writing, but it’s hard to do. I feel like an imposter, in some ways, because I’m not heeding the Social Justice Warrior call. But I also have online presences I have to manage for work, and for my extracurricular work association. That’s just overwhelming, sometimes. Good for you for knowing how to step back!

    • Kourtney says:

      Thanks. It’s been tough, but I just felt so battered and exhausted from the vitriol on social media. I’d rather walk back from it. I decided long ago that my author posts would not get into politics or religion or hot button issue that have zero to do with my author life. I also don’t want to be exposed to the nasty backlash when anyone disagrees with your views and one stars your book or calls for your death or destruction. It’s just too petty and hateful. I think everyone has to determine how they use their accounts and why. Voting still is an exercise of your beliefs and I don’t think everyone has to publicly take up a cause to be a believer or an agent of change. Hugs.

  6. Good for you! It’s amazing how easy it is to get sucked into social media even when you don’t intend to. For example, I usually set aside an a bit of time every few days to create social media posts. It’s amazing how the self-imposed guilt starts creeping up when I’ve gone past a few days. As if anyone but me cares! But now I look at it this way: if I don’t hang around and post on social media it’s a good thing, because it means I’m too busy writing and/or editing.

    • Kourtney says:

      Thanks. I got into this cycle of guilt and feeling like I needed to be there. It was so ridiculous because I’m very reachable on email, my blog, and on social media. No one needs daily access to me. Nor do they want it. Exactly–that’s what’s key, getting the writing done. Social media is useful for making author connections but it can become an out of control hamster wheel that exhausts us.

  7. carlamcgill says:

    Had a long break myself from this arena, Kourtney, but I do admit to loving social media. I am wondering how you are feeling? Did the dizziness subside? Hoping so. You seem to have a good rhythm going in life right now. So great!

    • Kourtney says:

      Hi, Carla. I am a firm believer in doing what you love. Actually, it turned out I have vestibular migraines so I’m on a new preventative medication. It takes several months to see the full effects, but I am finally able to think clearly and listen to music again. I still get little vertigo attacks, but they are minutes to half a day. Thanks. Exercise is really important to controlling the migraines, so I’ve prioritized my health this year.

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