I’ve been a political junkie all my life. I can’t remember when my obsession started but by the time I enrolled in journalism school at 18 I was hooked. Over the years I’ve covered the town council beat for weekly newspapers, had a poster of Ed Broadbent on my university apartment wall, led the news department at CJSR and worked for Jim Dinning and Ralph Klein – legends in Alberta politics.
I no longer make my living in and from politics, and I’m glad for that. Often described as a ‘blood sport’ by my friend Rod Love, it’s now a hot mess fuelled by the noxious fumes of social media and the ‘Twitterati’, as Rod dubbed them during the 2010 Calgary municipal election.
Seven years later, the Twitterati have gotten worse and, at times, inhumane.
There are times I can barely stomach my Twitter and Facebook feeds as they bubble over with political nitpicking and outright meanness.
So lately I’ve chosen not to bother logging on – except to actively manage my client’s social media accounts.
Having taken the first step, I took a deep dive into a social media detox as we vacationed in Mexico this past week. It was lovely at first. Then withdrawal.
Giving into my craving, yesterday morning I broke down and checked out Twitter. Ugh. Grr. Blech.
Turns out I wasn’t missing the snarking, the one-upmanship, the chest pounding.
But I was missing the spring break photos, the bits of advice picked up from fellow branders around the world, and the funny ‘this is life’ moments from friends.
I wanted more of the good bits and less of the bad. And then, somewhere and somehow, the light bulb turned on. I can follow whomever I want. I can UNFOLLOW whomever I want. I can tailor my social media to meet my needs.
So I did. I gleefully unfollowed provincial politicians and their partisan pool boys, calling out things like ‘Bye Bye Rachel Notley’, ‘See ya later Jason Kenney’ and ‘It’s been great Brian Jean’. It felt good.
And it was a good reminder of what social media can be. It can be fun. It can be entertaining, informative and social. It need not be toxic.
The pangs still linger and I’ll have to continue my detox and go through with the political withdrawal over the coming days, but I’ll be better for it. Not only will I be happier, but I’ll be a better service provider for my clients.
In the meantime, I’m digging in and joining the masses. Happily logging into my detoxed Twitter and Facebook feeds, playing on Instagram, learning Snapchat, hanging out more on LinkedIn, and obsessing over Pinterest.
There’s a great big world out there that I’m now excited to explore, discover, and teach others about.
PS. For a social media treat watch the video below. Apple wanted an online campaign to show off the new iPhone camera. Hiring photographers from far flung places, the video takes us around the world for an evening. Apple enthusiasts were asked to join the campaign and tag their personal photos with #shotoniphone.
People love to participate in social media campaigns. Create a #hashtag for your brand and start sharing.
For me, I’m all about positivity in social media so I’ve been using #somethinggood. And of course #somethinggood pairs well with a little #blackcoffee.
Blackcoffee is a premium brand development agency, offering luxury brand experience to clients at home in Calgary, Canada and around the globe. Brands create experience, set you apart from the competition and drive growth. Anyone can bulid a business but only the exceptional can create a brand. Are you ready?