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Author Topic: Looking for some advice (or just to vent!)  (Read 1198 times)
PineTree
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« on: October 01, 2022 @168.03 »

Hi everyone,

I'm actually curious if anyone else is in the same situation as me. So I made a Neocities site and learned HTML/CSS this year, and have had my main Neocities account for around 6 months now, and made a newer one for my professional design account (not really released yet). Those accounts are under a different username so if you're interested, please send me a DM and I'll share. I just wanted some anonymity for this post. :pc: :ha:

I am studying graphic design and one of our main assignments is social media posting. Now, part of the reason I started a Neocities is probably the same as everyone else. For me I needed to make the web a more positive space since I have serious troubles with social media addiction (I literally spend hours on there) and it's worse when I post stuff. So I made a professional site so help dissociate my professional graphic design career away from social media but it will always be a part of it for the sake of advertising, I need my feet in social media sites to some extent.

So essentially, my mental health is suffering because of this assignment, :sad: I really have a hard time dealing with social media and I would rather not. And as a part of this social media assignment we essentially have to reply to messages within a day or two, so I can't just completely switch off from it either.

I use ColdTurkeyBlocker and it helped me get my social media time under control but because of these assignments, I turned it off (big mistake). Think I'm going to turn it back on again and only give myself a small window to do social media stuff in the evening again. :grin:

So I guess this was more a vent but my question to other forum users is: If you need to use social media for business, how do you manage it? How do you keep yourself sane? Thanks for listening. :smile:
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Gans
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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2022 @346.68 »

My sister used to post Facebook messages for her language course insitute. Lots of cultural things, written in easy language so that foreigners of the languague could understand it.

Even at home, she was always on the phone. Checking this, checking that for work... making a post here and there. Jeez, she was so stressed with this!

But the truth is, that's my sister's own fault. Because she let the workplace intrude her home time!
If your boss demands for that, get options on board where this is not the case. Get a better workplace then! Oh, there are actually bosses around that care for their employees. Search, and you'll find.

At work, switch to drone mode, autopilot your things, that's where you represent the company...
But at home, you're a different person. Treat your space like something sacred. Work is work and home is home. Seperate that! Works for me at least.

Although... not the worst thing to be paid for being on social media, when this is your addiction. Dammit, you could be paid well one day for representing a company on social media!

In the case of you having enough of social media, graphic artists have other topics too, haven't they? What's with humble webdesign? Or agencies that design companies logos. Or adverts in general.
I've installed a huge printer for two local advert agencies and had a look around. Looked like a cool place, although I felt the artists egos somewhat made the group a bit uncooperative, just from the outside view. And well, you'd measure "creativity" in a different way when designing the weekly market brochure. But if they can afford 10 Super-Macs they probably can afford to be nice to the employees too. Story of a small company, that can be found in every moderately-sized town probably.

Let me throw in another idea: Always consider taking a time off this. Do some easy "analoge" jobs, if money is a concern. For example: Driving the post around with a bicycle. Or tidy up the horses stable. I did this for 2 years and it helped me from liberating my mind from sitting too much in front of a desk.
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graveyardsoup
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« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2022 @369.48 »

I've been struggling with similar myself so I totally feel your pain. It truly is an addiction and I know its not as simple as just stopping.

I think you're on the right track by using a blocker to limit your time. You say this is part of your job, so what about blocking out a certain time of day where you make your posts for your job? You said that youre only required to reply to messages ever 1-2 days so what if something like 11:00-11:30 AM is your post checking time? Think of it like clocking in and out of work.

You could also try going somewhere else when you do this to put yourself in a "work" mindset and sort of build a barrier between social media and your home. I have to do this sometimes when I take online classes because having my home also be my 24/7 workspace stresses me out.

Lastly I'd say be patient with yourself! :transport: I've been trying to quit social media as well but I know if I just stopped cold turkey it wouldn't last. Allowing yourself a little bit of time each day to do whatever and then slowly cut down on that time is more effective I think.
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purelyconstructive
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« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2022 @374.93 »

You have a good sense of self-awareness. Short of choosing to not do the assignment altogether, I think being stringent on time-limiting and ad blocking are probably the best things that one can do in this situation.

You are already using a timer, but a lot of the manipulations of "social media" are related to the advertising and the "dark patterns" built right into the platforms. Although you might already be doing so, this is why I also suggest using an ad blocker. One can set plugins like AdBlock Plus to remove pretty much any feature of a webpage that is invasive, usually just by right-clicking and selecting "Block element". One may have to play with the settings a little if one accidently blocks something that makes a webpage hard to navigate, but it is pretty reliable. There are similar "blocking" plugins for specific "social media" platforms depending upon which web browser one is using too.

Doing graphic design work can be difficult even under the best of circumstances, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a compromise of one's constructive values. A nice, quick read on this topic is The Design Activist's Handbook by Noah Scalin and Michelle Taute. Used copies go for very cheap (~$5-8 USD). Some artists have shared their personal experiences with "social media" that are similar. Moreover, any job in any field that is damaging to one's mental-emotional well-being and/or physical safety is not worth having.

In regards to your current situation, at possible risk to your grades and popularity, you can patiently point out to your teacher and classmates how harmful "social media" is both individually and collectively.

This is completely optional of course, but if you are interested, a couple of informative videos on this topic are...


Personal Comment: The music and editing is a bit annoyingly dramatic in my opinion, but the examples and advice are helpful.


Personal Comment: Shoshana is a social psychologist who has studied this subject. VPRO has high quality documentaries. Together they are grand.

While I haven't read it yet, the book Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O'Neil seems to go into the technical side of this in depth. Generally, it is part of a much larger social problem. I could give many examples of how this has developed throughout the history of technology and how prevalent it is nowadays as a result, but I won't belabour the point any further.

I hope that helps! :4u:
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tarocchilla
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« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2022 @492.86 »

Hi! i totally feel your pain, in my friend group we often joke that if i were asked to post on social media i would change job haha!
Some of my friends tough, have picked career where social media is seen as a necessity (artists!) and ironically they are my friends who hate them the most!
They both have pretty different approaches, because they both have to do different things.
My friend who is a illustrator literally just posts, the only page he opens is the "post" page, its not really effective in social media reach but as everyone probably knows already social media follows are a trap and we shouldn't look at them!
My other friend is an actor and he needs to.... interact on twitter, i know, there is no bigger torture, but he's pushing trough, he is using tweetdeck and has twitter blocked on the phone, so he only does what he needs on pc and he treats it like a worktask (like: today from 2pm to 3pm ill reply to tweets)

On a side note: i am an environmental activist, and like most activists we have a social meida page, of course i don't deal with that but i discovered that the person that does has a dumbphone, and a smartphone that she uses ONLY for environmental activism online, she said she never had a smartphone and i treating this like a job too!!

hope you find a solution that works for you, asking to use social media is a violation of human rights (/j)

 
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« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2022 @733.99 »

It sounds like you're recovering from a true social media addiction, so I don't think others' advice to try and dissociate or show self-control to complete the assignment is the right course for you. You don't want to mess around with this.

I would recommend speaking to your instructor about it as soon as possible. Don't leave it until just before the assignment is due.

Be cordial--not confrontational! But be very clear with them that you consider it an addiction and that being required to participate in the assignment is a serious risk to your mental health. Offer to complete a different assignment instead to make up the credit.

If your instructor is understanding and willing to listen, work with them to find an alternative. If they snap back at you despite you being professional, go to the head of the department and bring your concern to them.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2022 @735.44 by MamboGator » Logged
purelyconstructive
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« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2022 @900.76 »

It sounds like you're recovering from a true social media addiction, so I don't think others' advice to try and dissociate or show self-control to complete the assignment is the right course for you. You don't want to mess around with this.

I would recommend speaking to your instructor about it as soon as possible. Don't leave it until just before the assignment is due.

Be cordial--not confrontational! But be very clear with them that you consider it an addiction and that being required to participate in the assignment is a serious risk to your mental health. Offer to complete a different assignment instead to make up the credit.

If your instructor is understanding and willing to listen, work with them to find an alternative. If they snap back at you despite you being professional, go to the head of the department and bring your concern to them.

Yes! I second MamboGator's advice. Do not hurt yourself over a school/work assignment. Your safety, health, and well-being are infinitely more important.

The same probably applies to many of us here, not just OP. If you are in a workplace context and being coerced into doing something that is harmful, please take those issues up with "human resources". If they give you a hard time, ask what your "legal recourse" is as you quietly look for another job. Your life is precious. Do not waste it on "toxic corporate culture".

There are some practices and criteria that one can look out for to try to gauge the state of the working environment before attempting to get hired, but they are not always reliable (and sometimes even hypocritical):

..etc.

Ultimately, some of the most important questions to ask oneself are:

  • Is the amount of time, effort, and skill that I contribute to a project a fair exchange for the resources that I receive in return?
  • How do these thoughts, feelings, and actions affect myself and other people on both the short-term and long-term? Is it constructive for everyone?

As a more general comment: It seems like "social media" has ingratiated itself into daily life to such a degree that we (collectively speaking) keep trying to find ways to get around its manipulations rather than completely change them. It is almost like a form of "addiction denial", which keeps a lot of people stuck within it.

Thankfully, trying to strike a balance between enjoyment and survival does not have to be needlessly difficult, especially when we help each other out.

You all have my support. Thank you all for sharing your experiences and insight.
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PineTree
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« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2022 @998.66 »

Hello again,

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful replies. First I want to clarify that I am not making money from my business yet (I have not started) but this assignment is essentially a part of advertising for that business. I'll be starting it at the end of the year. Anyway! So the assignment has a good reason to do this, as an illustrator most of my art is on another account and has been for years - it's difficult to completely not use it since that's how I've made some connections and built an audience over time.

After my post I set up ColdTurkeyBlocker again and based on the advice in the thread I set up a one hour window for me to use social media in the afternoon (4-5PM). I think this will help a lot. :cheesy: (Thank you graveyardsoup for the practical suggestion!) I need to find a new app to block social media on my phone again, though, unfortunately my new phone is quite conservative and will automatically shut off almost all the blocking apps I download due to a battery drain. :sad:

To Gans, your comment about shifting my graphic design focus away from social media posts is a great one and actually what I've been trying to do (as much as I can as a student!). Like by making my professional website I can shift emphasis away from social media by posting more stuff on my site. Additionally, I have plans for my career to try and not make it about social media as much as possible - focusing on web design for example (I have several web design pieces I can put in my portfolio), focusing on web graphics and animation, illustration, with less emphasis on branding as much as feasible. I also plan on doing some training for web accessibility later in the year as it's something I'm very passionate about, helping to mark up documents like Word, PDF, and websites, so it's easier for everyone to use.

To purelyconstructive, those links are amazing. Especially deceptive design or dark patterns, as a designer I think it's really important to be aware of these and it helped put a name to some patterns I've noticed in web design myself! I also really appreciate the link to the Design Activists Handbook as well, that seems completely relevant to me.

To tarocchilla, it's good to hear from other artist's experiences online, especially how people use Twitter (it's my primary social media site as well). In general it's Twitter where I spend the most time.

To MamboGator, in general, I think if I was braver I might have asked the teacher for an alternative but the thing is I do see potential value in social media (in fact I've gotten commission requests from followers before). That's not to say I don't want an alternative (I know Mastodon is a thing but not many people use it yet). I also see it more as a personal failing that I can't control my social media time well especially since I know I've had it more under control in the past when I was using ColdTurkeyBlocker regularly. In a way that might sound like victim blaming because of course we all know social media sites are the problem for making their sites addictive. I'm mainly seeing this assignment as a temporary thing, because they're making us post relatively frequently when in reality once the assignment is over I know I would not be posting as much (on Instagram, at least). But I appreciate the acknowledgement that I have a social media addiction. :4u:

To purelyconstructive for your second post, I appreciate that you're taking my problems seriously. At times it does cause some stress. Just to reiterate, I won't be requesting another assignment from the teacher since it's quite a large assignment with two parts, and I've already completed part 1 (it was making a plan for posts essentially, part 2 is implementing the plan). But in the end, I just see this as a temporary thing since in normal circumstances I would not be posting as frequently as this assignment is making me do (it might normally be half or a third as frequently). So I think I can find ways to manage this assignment. However we do have to actually talk to the teacher about our social media posts for the assignment to discuss our progress so I think I might actually bring up some of the issues I've encountered with addiction to them and how I'm managing it.

Also a related issue is that the problem was worse recently because I was on break from class, but once I go back next week I'll have less time to spend on social media so it will partially help. :grin:

Thank you everyone for the thoughtful posts, practical advice, and resources. :ha: :smile:

 

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purelyconstructive
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« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2022 @170.76 »

Always glad to help! Thank you for both starting the thread and the extra context PineTree. After reading MamboGator's reply, I was a little worried that my suggestions, while coming from a place of friendliness, might have been a little too cavalier if someone was suffering from a serious case of addiction. I want to help people to be self-empowered rather than relapse into behaviors that they would rather avoid.

The very last link that I shared mentions a model that I've found helpful. I hope that it causes you progressively less stress over time and that the discussions with your teacher are fruitful. :transport:

...I've been wanting to learn more about accessible design too, especially when it comes to websites, as I've somewhat neglected that aspect of mine. :drat: Hopefully, I can fix that soon.

Take care.
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PineTree
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« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2022 @208.81 »

Quote
...I've been wanting to learn more about accessible design too, especially when it comes to websites, as I've somewhat neglected that aspect of mine. :drat: Hopefully, I can fix that soon.
Accessibility is something I've been digesting in small chunks. For example, if I'm adding something to my site I might look up a post online about how to improve it for accessibility purposes. WebAIM is a great website for that but sometimes I need to go a bit further and poke around a bit online. I always feels a bit happier knowing I've tried to fix a common issue that is often overlooked. The WCAG document is helpful but also a bit overwhelming, it has some specific advice. I usually refer to it if I don't know where to start looking for improvements.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2022 @209.97 by PineTree » Logged
Deckade (Tolo)
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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2022 @581.05 »



I think you're on the right track by using a blocker to limit your time. You say this is part of your job, so what about blocking out a certain time of day where you make your posts for your job? You said that youre only required to reply to messages ever 1-2 days so what if something like 11:00-11:30 AM is your post checking time? Think of it like clocking in and out of work.


I definitely agree with this and use the 'checking time' myself. Another thing is finding other things to fill that time in. If you want the social feeling of social media, as obvious as it sounds the best way to do that is to meet people irl (it is kinda cool ngl). Another thing I do, although this isn't related to having to use the internet for work is set a time I will start using tech in the morning. As a uni student this is pretty flexible for me so I do 10am. It's incredible how much better my days feel when I do this, it's almost like a guarantor of a better day.
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