What’s social media doing to you?

Hi everybody, I’m in Northern California and the sky is pretty orange up here… I’m hoping for everyone’s safety during this time and sending all of you good vibes, no matter where you are.

This week, I want to respond to a question I received from a community member in response to my email on information diets a couple of weeks ago.  

This person has friends who are deleting their social media accounts to be more mindful of what they consume online.  And while he wants to be mindful as well, his job requires him to evaluate creatives on Instagram and TikTok. He can’t just cut off his social media consumption completely. In fact, the problem is that he’s finding himself on social media way more than he would like to be—and he even mentioned noticing how it made him anxious (conscious thinking in action!). I’ve faced the same problem in my career, and I know this is a pretty common challenge in general.  I’ll share my own experience and advice for anyone in this situation in Final Thoughts.


Before we get started, just a reminder that the beta version of Personal Learning by Edvo is now live! Ever since COVID hit, I’ve been building this personal learning management system to help me keep track of my learning / all the questions I've had about our world... and I’m so happy to be able to share it with all of you! 

Here’s a sneak preview of how I’ve been using it so far:

If you want to test it out, start organizing your learning, and help us make the best personal learning management system out there, feel free to grab an invite for the private beta here

Okay, on to more good stuff 🎉


💼  CAREERS AND MEANINGFUL WORK

Personal projects and side-hustles are often some of the best ways to showcase your talent, and find our work rewarding. But after coaching hundreds of people with great ideas for projects, I’ve realized that far too many people never get their idea off the ground for one very sad reason:

They don’t get the external validation they’re looking for. 

Before starting on their idea, they look for someone else to tell them it’s a good idea—preferably several people. If they don’t get the response they’re looking for, they decide to shelve it. Sound familiar? That’s probably because we’re all taught from a young age to look outside ourselves for validation. We get it from teachers, bosses, institutions—everywhere you look, there’s another person giving us a stamp of approval before we can do something. 

If you’ve got an idea—even just a partial one—your interest in that idea is enough. I’ve found that when I see ideas/projects through to completion, then I attract people who are interested and see my vision. 

If you try to get validation for your ideas first, you’re going to wind up feeling disappointed more often than not. Trust in your instincts. Become your best cheerleader. 😊

  • A great side hustle and passion project idea: create and share an online course on something you care about and are good at! If you want to dive into creating and selling your own online course, here’s a free workshop from Jen Glantz happening on Monday, Sept 14th.

  • Check out this upcoming free Career Summit that has workshops on topics like:

    • Let’s Talk Data: Learn the Essentials to Make You More Marketable

    • Remote Revolution: How to Land a Remote Job + Succeed

    • Personal Branding & Positioning Yourself for a New Job

    • Getting Paid Fairly: Negotiation Workshop

  • Jeremy Caplan shares his 4 favorite tools that he’s used during the pandemic (one of them is Mental Models by Edvo!).  Jeremy reached out to me for the first time this week and I wanted to also share his curated list of tools that you can browse if you’re thinking of starting your own side project, or just want to be more productive.

  • Andrew Seaman of LinkedIn just updated the Who’s Hiring list today - check it out here!


👋  SOCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL HANGOUTS

  • Meditation for Creatives

September 11th, 7:15 p.m. PDT

Albert will lead us in a powerful 20 minute guided meditation to release stress, manage anxiety, and enhance creativity. This will be followed by a fun and innovative 30 minute writing exercise designed to help initiate or further support your mindful writing and/or creativity practice. We will conclude with sharing, discussion, Q&A, and additional resources for staying grounded and connected to your creative awakening in these challenging times.  More details here.

  • Virtual Summit: Power Your Career

September 14th - 18th

Join us for a REMOTE conference called “Shift[Ed]: A Virtual Summit to Power Your Career”, which is scheduled for September 14th-18th. The goal of this conference is to support job-seekers through educational workshops and inspiring speaker sessions as they search to find work that matters to them.  This virtual conference is completely FREE and open to everyone. More details here.

  • Tips and Tricks for Personal Branding

September 15th, 10:00 a.m. PDT

This workshop will break down best practices for creating a personal brand, as well as strategies to effectively communicate your worth to employers and peers. Creating a strong professional brand allows you to confidently sell your skills and potential to land your next career move or achievement. Branding also allows you to become a thought leader and go-to in your specific role and industry. More details here.

  • Dance It Out

September 15th, 5:00 p.m. PDT

GROOV3 is a beginner level grooves class where the music plays the entire time. The choreography is broken down and simplified in an easy to follow format, making it more accessible to those at the start of their dance journey.  GROOV3 is for anyone who wants to feel good and provides a non-judgmental & supportive environment. Perfect for beginners and those wanting a challenge, this workshop will leave you feeling sweaty, refreshed and rejuvenated.  More details here.


⭐  FINAL THOUGHTS

Check out this passage I saved from a book I’m reading (and obsessed with), Adventures with AI: Age of Discovery by Rico Roho. For most of us, it probably hits a little too close to home when we think about our social media consumption. 

Now, a lot of people will say, “Well, then you should just get off social media. Problem solved.” 

The issue is that sometimes removing social media accounts altogether isn’t the easiest answer. For some people, social media is the best way to keep up with loved ones. For others, like the person who emailed me, social media is part of their job. They can’t just quit unless they’re ready to find a new line of work.

I’m in the same boat—I can’t just get rid of all my accounts. So, here’s what I’ve done:

  1. First, I’ve worked to become aware of how social media impacts my thinking. The first step is actually recognizing what’s going on. You probably won’t feel a reduction in critical thinking, even though the passage from the book mentions it as one of the impacts. So, that’s why step one is simply gaining awareness of the potential impacts of social media consumption.

  1. Then, I ask myself how I can increase my critical thinking skills to counteract those effects. For me, that means subscribing to social media accounts that make me think differently and actually consider what they say. I don’t only follow friends on social media; I can get any “updates” from them directly. I treat my social media as a learning tool, so any friends I follow are on there because they share interesting and different perspectives.

  1. Finally, I also try to counteract one of the worst aspects of social media—comparison and envy. When we see someone else living “the good life” on social media, our brains react with a fight or flight response. We either disengage or we get envious, which turns to misery when we think about how we stack up. So, I started a new habit for myself. Whenever I see someone living it up on social media, I repeat, “That’s so beautiful for them—they deserve it.” 

The trick here, in all of these steps, is to avoid passive consumption.

The mindless scrolling and constant search for the next funny or eye-catching post is what tends to get us in trouble. We don’t realize what we’re training our brains to do, but that doesn’t mean our brains aren’t learning. It turns out that the person who messaged me was actually doing a lot of critical thinking and evaluating while he was working. But a side-effect of being on it so much was that he was also doing a lot of passive consumption.  So I gave him the advice above and he’s been actively adjusting his “follows” on social media. This way, he’ll primarily get content from accounts he finds empowering in his personal time.

We are always learning, whether we realize it or not.  So it’s better to be a conscious consumer, and be intentional with our learning and how we use the tools around us.  After all, social media is simply a tool, and it’s up to us to use it effectively.

Ever since I became intentional about the accounts I follow on social media and the content I browse, I’ve actually connected with more like-minded people and learned more about my interests than I thought I would through social media.  I hope the tips above help you do the same.  

If you have any questions, or your own suggestions, feel free to simply reply to this email and write to me!

Stay safe, 

Shireen