The internet is a place where one should self-curate and present the best version of themselves, after all we museum professionals are magical and powerful creatures. We are all absolute forces to be reckoned with. However, I know that like all super heroes, every one of us have our weaknesses. Because themuseumgirl has a mission to help museum professionals, I believe that is important to share the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. We can learn as much from other’s failures and shortcomings as we can from their triumphs. That’s why in grad school we studied cases of museums which thrived and those which failed.
Here’s one of my weaknesses: confidence. It is something that I work on each day. Some people have it naturally and have a lot of it. I wasn’t born a confident person, but I’m working on it and I’ve come a long way. So, I totally count as a confident person now. Growing in confidence takes daily effort. Some days I wake up feeling like a queen. And then sometimes I feel like Piglet. Regardless of how I wake up feeling, confidence is a conscious choice that I make, reminding myself that I’ve come a long way and that I’m my own person.
Social media evoked the unconfident in me. When I opened Twitter and Instagram, I felt unaccomplished, uninformed, and unplugged when I saw so many interesting and engaging posts. Some of the posts have authors with thousands of followers. The authors seemed to know everyone and exactly what to say at a very fast pace. Sad and uninspired, I closed Twitter and played with my dog’s Instagram account because, ya know, cute puppies.
Is it ridiculous that an accomplished, educated young woman should feel so dashed after looking at social media? Maybe. But that is how I felt until I realized a few truths about social media that put things into perspective.
Not My Job
A lot of the amazing social media accounts are run by folks whose actual jobs are social media and marketing. Not all of us have jobs that require constantly creating engaging content for social media. Some of us have positions that require equally important work with duties that are behind the scenes.
It’s not Personal, It’s Business
These amazing folks are not crafting these posts to make me feel bad. Their contribution to the field is sharing thoughtful and important information online. They are doing their jobs well and I should commend their hard work, not be jealous.
Be Careful What You Ask Shazaam For
The grass always looks greener. Social media is great because you can really dig in to content while keeping your name out there. However, this is a burden and a gift. A bad or uninformed tweet can ding you, especially if you don’t delete the missive quickly. Anything online never truly goes away.
Time is the Essence
Like New York, it’s a city that never sleeps. Social media can be constant. You must commit to being responsive and timely. A strong account is a commitment of time and energy. In ways, one gets out of social media what one invests. If my investment is not high (TBH…it’s not as high as it should be), then my return will be low.
It’s Constantly Changing
Every other year it seems that a new social media platform arises created by some 8 year old at MIT. Everyone under 30 will be on it and it will make all museums relevant again. At some point in my life, I will not care about the next social media platform. I mean, I’ll care, because I care about museums staying relevant. However, I won’t feel like using it because I will never not play with voice-changing Snapchat filters.
You Do You
While I write for a blog and am slowly picking back up on my social media activity, realizing these five things provided perspective and made me feel less stressed out. I too am a powerful and magical museum professional, so comparing my online performance to someone else’s is not healthy or productive. If you too struggle with a social media FOMO, don’t let yourself feel dragged down by the same thoughts that haunted me and remember that your success is not measured by your social media stats.