Whatever happened to empathy, compassion, and positivity on social media?
From angry rants, racist comments, and microaggressions to calls for boycotts and canceling each other, negative emotions ride way way way way way too high on social media.
As a business owner who can’t avoid social media as a tool to grow your business, how do you show up with authenticity and lend your voice to these conversations without being so overwhelmed by it all that you get burned out and give up on social media altogether?
Let’s talk about this in today’s episode, so business owners can learn how to set boundaries while navigating all of the negative emotions running wild in today’s social media.
In this episode of the podcast, I talk about:
- My client’s controversial video
- Dealing with the emotions of the world
- Using social media for the power of good
- Protecting your peace with social media boundaries
- Why the ALS ice bucket challenge went viral
- What we can learn from the Dylan Mulvaney controversy
- Recognize burnout and doing something about it
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- “A 2018 study by the University of Pennsylvania found that reducing social media use to 30 minutes a day resulted in significant reduction in levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleep problems, and FOMO. I don't know if FOMO is like a technical term, but they have it on here.” – Andréa Jones
- “Are you using social media actively or passively? Meaning are you aware of your emotional experience on social media? Are you aware of how that emotional experience is affecting you? If you are unaware, then it may be time to become aware and make some decisions about how you use social media.” – Andréa Jones
- “I don't get Instagram DM notifications. I don't. If you tag me on Facebook, I may not see it right away. If you write a comment on my TikTok, I'm not gonna see it right away. And I'm okay with that because I do check regularly. Okay? I like to use to-do lists. And on my to-do list in Asana is a little task that says check social media. And I do that daily. Honestly, I like it. So I tend to check it quite often. But when I'm not working, I can not be distracted by social media.” – Andréa Jones
- “Some really positive things that come from social media. Personally, I met my husband on YouTube. We fell in love, and I moved from the US to Canada over nine ago now. I met some of my closest friends through social media and the internet. And so I personally love it.” – Andréa Jones
- “So I think that sometimes when we think about emotions on social media, we instantly go negative. That's where my mind goes. But social media can be very positive and can create a viral positive effect.” – Andréa Jones
- “The downside is like now your content is potentially being pushed out to people who really don't care about it and don't wanna see it. Not only that, they feel the need to say something about it and to be hateful, which, again, I personally don't understand. If I saw something and I didn't like it, I would just swipe and go, huh, next. Especially if it's not hurting anybody. ” – Andréa Jones
- “Be authentic and transparent in the way that you approach social media. Your customers value that. So, for example, if something's happening and you don't know how to respond, I think it's absolutely okay to say, Hey, this situation's happening right now. I have a lot of thoughts about it, and I don't have them collected yet. I will share when I feel ready. …It's a PR answer, but at least you're saying something that acknowledges something that's happening in a way that is true to you.” – Andréa Jones
Watch the Episode Below:
Andréa Jones (00:01):
Emotions are running hot on social media these days, hotter than they ever have been. Feels like everyone is angry and canceling and doing the absolute most. And yet, as a business owner and as a marketer, we are responsible for navigating these emotions. So let's talk all about it in today's episode.
Welcome to the Savvy Social Podcast, the show that blends stories and strategies to help businesses create engaged and profitable online communities using the unique power of social media. And now, your host, Andréa Jones.
Andréa Jones (00:56):
Now recently, one of my client's videos took off. Linda Taliaferro had a video about how there are microaggressions towards black women in corporate America. She shared some stats. She talked about her own experience, and she made an offer for those people who want to continue working with her, a seemingly innocuous video. However, the video took off and the amount of hatred she got, absolute racist comments she got on that video is shocking to me. And as someone who's been in this industry for nine years, I've been online creating content in some way since 2004. I've been around the block. I still am shocked when things like this happen. I am a rose colored glasses type of person. And in my heart of hearts, I always believe that, you know, there's nice, lovely people out here on these internet streets. And, you know, we use the power of the internet for good, but not everyone thinks that way.
And Linda's video is a great example of that. I got really heated in response as well, did my own response video that also took off. And I wanna talk though, about all the emotions surrounding this video, because honestly, I find it challenging as a business owner. I find it challenging as a marketer. And so I wanna dive into kind of why that's challenging today, and then what you can do about it as a business owner, because you're not, your hands are not tied. There are solutions here. And I also think it's very important to kind of decide and explore this before something happens, so that you can approach it in a way that works for you and your business, and you're not being reactionary and having to like, create something in the moment. And when we think about emotions and social media, we're with the emotions of our customers.
Yes. So our customers are paying customers and clients. We absolutely have to navigate their emotions. We're also dealing with the emotions of our followers and our audience members who are not the same people sometimes as are paying clients. In fact, majority of the people who follow us probably don't also buy things from us. So we're dealing with the public at large. And even now with the popularity of apps like TikTok, where your videos are put in front of people who don't follow you, have never heard of you before, you're now dealing with the emotions of complete strangers, people who've never even seen something from you before. And they're now in your world consuming your content and leaving your thoughts, which is what happened with my client, Linda's video. This was an Instagram reel that went out to people who didn't know who she was, never heard of her before, never followed her, and felt like they can make a commentary on a simple fact about microaggressions for black women.
And her personal story, saying absolute ridiculous things like, well, if your people, excuse me anyways, I can't go there, I'm gonna get upset again. The point is, we're dealing with all of those emotions. And then to add on top of it, we're dealing with the emotions of us as business owners. We have to navigate our own emotions in these scenarios. You know, we have, like you can hear, you can hear or see me getting upset about this video. We navigate emotions of other things that we consume on social media. We also add to it the emotions of running a business or working our job. Add to it the emotions of family life. It's, it's a lot. So it's not just you. There's a lot happening here. So I found this article from HelpGuide.org that talks about our human nature. And I'm gonna put the link in the show notes.
And as always, every link that I talk about is in the show notes, onlinedrea.com/ 253 for today's episode. Human beings are social creatures. We like to be social. I saw this trend recently on TikTok and I wish I could remember who the author was of this book, but there's an author who wrote a book about something called a Third Place. Okay? So as humans, we used to have a third place. We have work, we have home, and then we have a third communal place. And for a lot of history that usually was related to religion, we had, you know, community spaces, communities based on our belief system. And now as the world is not as religious as it usually is, I know I'm not, I don't go to church, I don't participate in any religions. I don't have a third place, a place where I go regularly, consistently to be in community with people outside of work and outside of home.
And I think that that's important for a lot of people. Right now. My third place is TikTok, which, ah, that could be very challenging. A 2018 study by the University of Pennsylvania found that reducing social media use to 30 minutes a day resulted in significant reduction in levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleep problems, and FOMO. I don't know if FOMO is like a technical term, <laugh>, but they have it on here. So when we think about these emotions that we're feeling, anxiety, depression, sleep problems, FOMO, a lot of that is tied to our social media use. And yet, as business owners, we can use social media for the power of good. So I believe too much of a good thing can be bad. So I wanna ask you, are you using social media actively or passively? Meaning, are you aware of your emotional experience on social media?
Are you aware of how that emotional experience is affecting you? If you are unaware, then it may be time to become aware and make some decisions about how you use social media. So if you've been a longtime listener of the show, you all know I don't have my notifications turned on for social media. I don't get Instagram DM notifications. I don't. If you tag me on Facebook, I may not see it right away. If you write a comment on my TikTok, I'm not gonna see it right away. And I'm okay with that because I do check regularly. Okay? I like to use to-do lists. And on my to-do list in Asana is a little task that says check social media. And I do that daily. Honestly, I like it. So I tend to check it quite often. But when I'm not working, I can not be distracted by social media.
When I'm with my daughter, I literally leave my phone in places. My husband gets so frustrated with me because if he texts me or calls me, I don't have my phone and I just forget about social media for a little bit. And I don't know, live my life. And actually I started wearing an Apple watch, and then I only let his calls and texts come through so that if there's an emergency, you know, we're connected. That's it. Everything else can wait. There isn't rarely I have yet to see an actual emergency of someone sending me a DM on social media. And if there was, my team is also in there too, checking. So somebody's gonna see it. They may not see it the minute that you send it, but somebody will see it. I think that's okay. So finding out your own way to navigate social media here is key.
Now, social media isn't all negative. There are, like I said, some really positive things that come from social media. Personally, I met my husband on YouTube. We fell in love and I moved from the US to Canada, oh, over nine ago now. I met some of my closest friends through social media and the internet. And so I, I personally love it. And I remember y'all remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, that campaign. So for those of you who don't know, that campaign was started to increase awareness and support. The disease ALS and the ice bucket challenge kind of went viral to me. It's like one of my first memories of something going viral in a positive way. So for the Ice Bucket challenge, you would pour a bucket of ice and water over your head, and then you would attack a friend and challenge them to do the same thing within 24 hours.
So celebrities were getting into it and it was raising awareness for the a l s association, and they raised over $115 million. Now, there's a few reasons why this went viral. And you know, like I said, it's sometimes things don't go viral for positive reasons. So but this one went viral because it was the summertime. So people were able to do it. Celebrities started participating in it. And so there was like lots of social proof people wanted to see which celebrities were taking part in the cause and we all can like pat ourselves on the back for changing the world. Even if you didn't donate to the ALS association, you raised awareness to it by doing the Ice Bucket Challenge. Now, later, the ALS challenge did get a little bit of backlash, but for the most part it was a positive thing. And so I think that sometimes when we think about emotions on social media, we instantly go negative. That's where my mind goes. But social media can be very positive and can create a viral positive effect. I just think these days it's a lot harder. So we're gonna take a quick break while we come back. I do wanna talk about cancel culture and what you can do about it as a business owner. We'll be right back.
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All right, cancel culture. Oh my gosh. So I feel like I can think of a million things that are being canceled. But right now, at the time of recording this one that's on my mind is the Bud Light Dylan Mulvaney controversy. Have y'all heard about this? So Dylan is an actor. She is from the Book of Mormon, and she is transitioning very publicly and has a series on TikTok called Days of Girlhood. And I personally like Dylan's videos. I think she's so bubbly and relatable and I don't know, I just, I find this story interesting, and I like the way that she's creating content as a content creator. I admire her resiliency because she's getting hate along the way, obviously from the terrible people of the internet. So that's not why she's under fire right now. Recently, Anheuser-Busch partnered with Dylan on a campaign that they're doing with lots of other people.
It's called the Easy Carry Contest. That's not important. The part that people are getting upset about is that Anheuser-Busch sent a can of Bud Light with Dylan's face on it, with a message that says Cheers to 365 days of being a woman. And it's referencing obviously, this series of like, she starts a videos with like day 300 of being a woman or being a girl. So people are trying to cancel, not only Dylan, but Bud Light. Like there are so many people who are upset at Bud Light saying they're not gonna drink it anymore. Mind you, Bud Light has had rainbow cans for like the longest, like in long, I dunno, the longest time for years and years they've had these rainbow cans. I don't know why all of a sudden, Dylan is the reason that they've, they're deciding anyways, but I don't understand the logic there.
But people who do not like trans people, they are boycotting Bud Light. They're attacking Dylan. Even at like the influencer and celebrity level, people are, you know, saying ridiculous things and assuming that all the Bud Light cans will now have a face of Dylan, it was just one can that Bud Light sent to Dylan as part of their campaign like they did with many influencers at the time. They're obviously trying to reach a specific demographic of people and trying to bring them into the Bud Light family. And everyone else is like, no, you can't be at this party. We are boycotting Bud Light now. Totally, totally wild. I say all that to say that as a business owner, as we're watching these stories unfold on social media, as a marketer, I'm watching these stories unfold on social media. I get concerned for myself, for my clients because of, I, I love the power of platforms like TikTok, but the downside is like now your content is potentially being pushed out to people who really don't care about it and don't wanna see it.
Not only that, they feel the need to say something about it and to be hateful, which again, I personally don't understand. If I saw something and I didn't like it, I would just swipe and go, huh, next. Especially if it's not hurting anybody. Anyways, all right, so what does this mean? How do we navigate this as a business owner? Okay, so the first thing I'd recommend is self-care. Whether you're a marketer, whether you're a business owner, you gotta set some boundaries in place. So my team and I do this very, very intentionally. We are not one of those agencies where if someone goes on vacation, we can like text and call them their entire vacation. I can think of two times I reached in nine years, two times I reached out to a team member on their vacation because I just needed like lock in access to something.
We don't, we don't do that. In fact, when someone goes off vacation, I say, that person doesn't exist anymore. Okay? You don't know them when they come back, then you can bother them. <Laugh>. I encourage my team members to log out of their email, log out of Slack, go enjoy your time off, right? And it's mandatory if we're off, everyone's off, right? I think that's so important to have days off from social media. It's wild to me that we don't think about taking a break from some of that stuff. We take a break from literally everything else in our lives. So taking breaks is super important. Understanding your emotions is also very important. I talk a lot about my free podcast series, Social Media Unwind, if you can find it at socialmediaunwind.com. I made it because I think it's so important to understand when you start to feel those negative feelings about social media, take action instead of letting those fieldings build up, build up, build up, and then you, you're resentful and then you delete it off your phone and now you're really not able to take advantage of the positive cuz you've completely removed it out of your life at that point and for not a good reason, right?
So I'm a huge, huge fan of whether you work in marketing, whether you own a business to recognize the signs of resentment and burnout and do something about it before you decide to delete social media altogether. Now we're hanging out on social media. I do recommend having a system in place for monitoring and responding to feedback if there is a certain situation that's important to your audience, speaking about it both positively and negatively. Being timely about answering questions and responses, taking things into consideration If someone has a complaint, immediately taking it into a direct message or a direct form of communication, like email or phone number and talking to them and publicly acknowledging that you're taking that private conversation private. I think that's super, super important. It builds trust with your audience, your current customers, your future customers, your team, your colleagues. You know, not saying something speaks loudly.
So sometimes we do wanna speak up and it all depends on the situation. So you have to decide now what that looks like, because when the situation comes up, you don't wanna try to think in that moment because you're thinking with like heated emotions, right? I also think it's super important to, I don't like the word authentic, but gotta use it here. Be authentic and transparent in the way that you approach social media. Your customers value that. So for example, if something's happening and you don't know how to respond, I think it's absolutely okay to say, Hey, this situation's happening right now. I have a lot of thoughts about it and I don't have them collected yet. I will share when I feel ready. I think that's, I think that's great. It's a PR answer, but at least you're saying something that acknowledges something that's happening in a way that is true to you.
And, and being honest about all of that, I think there's also a huge opportunity for empathy and compassion. I wish I can like spread empathy and compassion to more people. I think we need way, way, way, way, way, way more of it online. People instantly assume the worst which is not good just as a human. If you're constantly going around the world, assuming the worst, you are just not enjoying yourself and not enjoying life, what's the point if you're not having a good time? Like, ugh. I think there's so much space for empathy and compassion, even with something that you disagree with. I think we could all walk a mile in someone else's shoes every now and again. And then how to use these emotions effectively. You know, emotions play a crucial role in our marketing. So we can use them in a good way.
We can have fun and be humorous. We can share our excitement. We can share like I did with my client, Linda, our frustration. And in that video I did do a call for some positivity as well. I said, Hey, y'all go over to Linda's other video and leave some comments. Follow her. Like, you know, let's out the hate. I think that showing emotion in your brand, especially humor, excitement, and empathy can add more goodness to this social media vitriol. I think showing negative emotion, especially if it's something like anger, is a thin line. I think there are appropriate ways to do this, but in my opinion, being angry all the time, that's now going to be your brand. And if that's your brand, there's a way, there's a way you could do it and still make it funny. Or even if you're just angry all the time and you wanna hate on people, then that's your brand and you can, you can keep doing that.
Lastly, stay up to date. You know, there are so many things happening. Social media's constantly changing. Like I talked about the Dylan story today. We wanna be mindful of these things and there are so many ways to do this, but I gotta recommend the Savvy Social School. Y'all know, that's my baby. I love this program. If you're not in it, we stay up to date for you. You don't have to do it all yourself. And if you ever have a question about something, me, my team, we are in constant communication with our members. We love loving on y'all and helping you stay connected with all of these changes, especially the emotional shifts that are happening in the online space.
Oh, thank you for joining me for another episode of the Savvy Social Podcast. I'll be back with another episode soon. If you like it, make sure you hit five stars on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, helps out the show, kind of dipped a little bit in our ratings. We're like 105 now and I like being top 100. So help us out so we can help you out. We appreciate you very much. I'll be back soon. Bye for now.