082: My Love/Hate Relationship with Social Media

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Welcome back to Tuff Love with Rob Kandell. This episode is all about the usage of social media. Rob has a long history and a love/hate relationship with the concept of social media. He was hooked on the concept way earlier than 2003 and 2004 when Myspace and Friendster began. Rob was building computer games at 10 years old, coding and saving on floppy disks. In 1989 he got to college where there were things called news groups, which were about anything from woodworking to Star Trek to porn. That was the beginning of the dopamine validation experience, posting things on the internet and hoping somebody would respond.

Rob’s addiction to social media started with Friendster, the precursor to Facebook. He started to advertise using it, for OneTaste in 2004. It was an advertising tool to get attention, but it became addicting.

Facebook arose in 2006 and was at first only available to Harvard students, and then released to the world in 2007. It’s now 2017 and Rob realized that for 10 years of his life he has used Facebook almost every day. Facebook wasn’t just a way to connect for OneTaste, it was also a way to flirt, and connect with the ladies Rob was interested in, a way to see high school friends. There’s a hunter inside, and Rob was hunting on Facebook for the next new thing, the next new experience.

Then there’s Rob’s business. He has been solo since 2014, building Kandell Consulting, which led to the debacle of LA Mother, which led to the creation of Tuff Love, the podcast you’re listening to. If that’s all he was doing, Facebook would have had a presence. But he is also writing a book proposal for Hay House and the main thing about the book proposal is that you need to have a platform. You could have the best book in the world but if you don’t have the platform to self-promote the book, the odds of you getting picked up by a publishing house are significantly less. So for the last 3 – 4 months Rob has been diligently working on his platform: Instagram, Facebook, email list etc.

Where it was a high level of engagement before, it’s now become a little ridiculous level of engagement because Rob’s so focused on the book proposal. It’s starting to make him feel a little ill. He’s sick of being bombarded by questions from other coaches in the newsfeed, but it also makes him question what he should be doing and starts getting jealous of their engagement. There’s an addictive nature to it. The phone is calling in Rob’s pocket, saying ‘check Facebook, you might have gotten a like.’ It’s a mix of business and pleasure, and of the elements of Rob’s personal life and they’re so entwined now it’s ridiculous. Something about the likes validates him. Some piece of it is always looking for a level of acceptance and connection.

So, Rob did some research and this is what he found:

  • There are more social media platforms than Rob had even heard of.
  • One article is called, ‘61 social media apps you should know for 2017.’ There are the regular ones Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+, Skype, Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Foursquare, YouTube
  • But there are also ones he had never heard of QQ, Xing, Xanga, Funnior, Tout, Mixi, Douban, Skyrock, CafeMom
  • It makes Rob wonder, “Am I not doing my job by not spreading the message of TuffLove on all 61 apps?”
  • As of March 2017, there are 1.94 Billion active users on Facebook. There are 7.5 billion people on the planet.
  • 60% of active users are on the phone
  • Of the 1.94 billion, 307 million are in Europe,
  • There are 83 million Fake profiles
  • 50% of people 18-24 look at Facebook upon wakeup
  • Instagram has a mere 700 million users, and Twitter has 328 million active users

Rob’s question is: what do we do about this?

  • This is getting more intense. We go into restaurants and we see people talking through their phones instead of to each other, they go to concerts and they’re not watching the concert, they’re watching it through the phone, recording it and then posting it on Facebook.
  • We are now relating deeply into our phone. One thing Rob tries to do is when home with the kids the phone goes away. He closes the laptop when Morgan comes into the room and wants to speak, thereby trying to demonstrate that she is the highest priority, not the electronic device.
  • It’s about consciousness. Everything becomes a habit.
  • If you want to pay attention to it, start to look at your relationship with social media. Look at where you’re the victim of your profile and your likes. Look at those little details of how you can escape the black hole of the Facebook participation.

Arielle is back for her second time as a coachee, and she mirrors a lot of this conversation about social media. So much of the platform she has built for her business as a coach has been through Facebook. Last summer, she was writing a lot of posts about sex and the intention was to get a lot of attention. And she got kind of hooked by the response.

  • Now she is feeling into the energy of ‘why am I making a Facebook post here? Is it to draw attention or is it something I’m truly inspired by?”
  • Arielle notices her posts tend to be super vulnerable, to the extend that it doesn’t impact her when she shares it, but she almost feels like people value what she says less if she’s putting it out there for everyone to see. Does is negatively impact her business to be so vulnerable, she wonders?
  • Her energy is getting drained more than it is getting replenished. She spends several hours cumulatively per day just looking at Facebook.
  • Rob explains the real life case that if you write something on social media that goes negatively, that can affect your business. Social media is checked by potential employers. Airing your dirty laundry can have detrimental affects. There is some reality to what you’re feeling.
  • They discuss getting triggered when people will post comments on posts that challenge our own perspectives.
  • Rob tries to post provocative things and personalize them. Life is interesting and exciting—in relationship with a powerful woman, co-parenting which he’s never done before, the multitude of people he coaches and how they show him things—he does believe he encounters things that are useful for the world. He also does like controversy a bit.
  • Detaching your ego from how you look on social media is the name of the game.
  • A lot of teachers come across as pedantic. ‘This is the way it is and if you have a different opinion you’re dumb and you’re wrong.’ They do this through definitive statements.
  • Rob finds you can get the same statement in a way that’s open for interpretation, discussion and modification.
  • There are a lot of leaders who fill guru roles these days, or ‘show up as the perfect being’. But Arielle wants to show up as a person who shows humanity and vulnerability. This feels important to her. She put teachers on pedestals and that had a negative impact on her level of self-worth because she gave her power to them. She now has some fear of showing up as that person because she doesn’t want to cause the same trauma in someone else.
  • We like to be authentic and real, and we like to be unique and special. There is nothing wrong with that, but when the fear is driving your approach that’s where things get skewed.
  • All you can do, every step of the way, is be good to yourself, kind to yourself, and do your best. When you miscue, apologize. If someone comes up with an alternative say ‘thank you, I appreciate that.’
  • On the flip side, know that people out there are really lonely and depending on Facebook for connection. That’s the irony. We are in the most isolated situation of people living alone in the history of the world.
  • When you do offer insight you can inspire someone to face the day and feel connected, you can change someone’s life, so it’s the balance between the two. Know that you’re doing good in the world and that’s an important role.
  • Arielle also feels how being so actively engaged in Facebook takes her out of her reality. In the present world, we’re constantly creating, constantly attracting magic. When she’s present she becomes a magnet, a powerful gravitational force. When she’s totally sucked into Facebook for considerable amounts of her day, it makes her feel less grounded.
  • It’s all about the balance. Social media is here to stay. It’s our job to find that healthy balance. It’s difficult and going to be a continual challenge. The manufacturers want us to get hooked so they can sell more products. It’s on us to go against the grain to find the balance so we can live the life we want to live.
  • Resource suggestion: Technology Time Out – Kelly Pullman