If you've ever wondered about the goings on when it comes to social media activity, I've got a little bit of data that you might find interesting. As far as Facebook goes, on average, people log onto the platform about eight times a day. The topic of love drives the most responses (46 percent) and, if you're trying to create a brand, between 9-11pm(EST) is the best time to post stuff. When it comes to Instagram, 95 percent of its users are under the age of 35, a whopping 500 million individuals use Instagram stories on a daily basis and, if you use a handle with your post, there's a 56 percent chance that you'll get a lot more engagement. On Twitter, there are 500 million tweets that are sent every day, 12 percent of people use Twitter as their main news source and, if you post with an image, there's a 150 percent increased chance that what you said will get retweeted (if you use a hashtag, there's a 69 percent increase of you getting a RT too). Pinterest ain't nothin' to dismiss either. 50 percent of millennials use it quite a bit, they spend about 14 minutes every time that they do and, 87 percent of people who buy a product, do so because of something that they saw on the site.
What all of this boils down to is social media has the kind of impact and influence that packs a pretty powerful punch. That's why, it's really important that, whether you are using it for personal or professional reasons, you are careful with and intentional about what you say. Because, just like you can never really take back the words that you speak once you say them, you can never fully take back the words that you write on your social media platforms once you write them.
Which is why it's always a good idea to take a moment to ask yourself the following seven questions before logging onto your accounts every day.
1. Are You Aware That NOTHING Is Ever Really Deleted?
Just recently, I changed my cell phone number. The reason why is because I have a landline and, honestly, I'm even picky about who gets those digits. But my cell phone is really more for the purpose of calling out while I'm out, so it's not uncommon for me to block my number when I hit someone up. Recently though, while catching up with an ex (per his request), even though I blocked my number while giving him a ring, when we accidentally got connected, he hit me back. When I asked him how he was able to do that, he said, "It's weird. Your number didn't show up when you called me, but it just did when I tried to call you back." Yeah, I changed my number the next day, but the reason why I'm sharing all of this is because it's a reminder that while you think technology is doing one thing, oftentimes, it's doing something else.
If you're someone who "posts off the cuff" or worse, has "trigger fingers" and, in your mind, you think that it's not a problem because you can simply delete what you said—yeeeeah…you might want to rethink that. With articles like "Facebook launches 'clear history' tool – but it won't delete anything", "Why Your Data Will Never Be Deleted" and "The story behind 'nothing ever gets deleted from the internet'" that are out in cyberspace to remind us that cookies, caches and screenshots make it pretty much impossible for data to be completely erased, it's important that, when it comes to whatever you share, you always approach your post like it is written in pen, not pencil.
2. Are You Cool with Your Boss (or Prospective Boss) Seeing It?
We're living in some pretty interesting times; times when keeping—or getting—a job is more important than ever. That said, one thing that can cause you to get a pink slip or a "Don't call us, we'll call you" response from prospective employer is how you act on your social media accounts.
In fact, one article I read said that more than half of employers have taken a pass on a potential employee simply because of something that they saw on that individual's social media. Not only that but, 48 percent of employers do "check ins" on the people who work for them, via their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
I grew up in a house where, once I became a sophomore in high school, I was able to have a phone in my bedroom. Still, my mom was on some, "I'm paying for it, so I can pick it up at any time." (And she would.) It's called monitoring. Yes, your social media accounts are yours. But if you think that your employers aren't monitoring you too, you are sadly mistaken. Post wisely. It could cost you, very dearly, if you don't.
3. Are You About to Post Something That Is Truly Beneficial?
Let me be clear. There are a lot of ways to benefit someone via what you post. The reason why I think it's important to make that distinction is because, I'm not saying that you should only post what you think others will like or agree with; no one really grows that way. All I'm saying is it's always a good idea to keep words like "helpful", "advantageous" and "constructive" in mind, whether you're sharing your opinion, an article, a resource or anything else.
Some folks on social media are nothing more than toxic gaslighters and drama starters. That helps absolutely no one. Meanwhile, some folks do nothing but pedestal themselves; I'm not really sure how that is advantageous for others either. But if what you're seeking to do is make people think, to share something that will inform or challenge them (in a good way) or point them to something that will help them to become their own best self—that is only to their benefit. That is something that is worth making the time to make a post about. Do it.
4. If You Just Got Triggered, Did You Take 5-10 Minutes to Process Your Response?
Although I'm personally not on any social media platform, when I tiptoe out into Twitter World to see what folks are talking about, I'll tell you what—all I have to do is put "Black women" or "Black men" in the search field (because those are two topics that interest me a lot) and I will see the walking definition of triggered, each and every time. Sometimes, people are so quick to "clapback" at what someone else has said that I say to myself, "I wonder if they took a moment to think about what they just said and who might see it". Because, again, nothing on the internet is ever really deleted. Not too long ago, when I wrote the article, "Should You Really Not Care About What Other People Think?", I shared that there are some people whose insights (even on us) we should care about. But trolls and people who don't invest in our lives whatsoever? Why even give them the power to get all stressed out and frazzled?
There are some individuals I know who are always stirring up stuff online because that's how they are offline as well. It's like being combative and a know-it-all are their love languages or something. But spending—or is it wasting?—precious time that you'll never get back letting people piss you off and then going back and forth with them—is it really worth it? If you're like some folks and you're constantly looking for a fight—hey, have at it…I guess. But if you're not, I promise you that taking out some time to deep breathe and process before replying to someone who triggers you could, quite possibly, change your approach in how you respond or…bring you to the conclusion that they don't deserve one at all.
5. Are You About to Totally Contradict Yourself?
Folks are a trip. Whenever I see a headline about someone who said something 10 years ago that gets everyone in cyberspace all up in a tizzy, 7 times out of 10, what I tend to be like is, "Wow. So, a person can't evolve in an entire decade?" If all of us were only held to what we said or did when we were 10 years younger, I'd venture to say that most of us would have days when we wouldn't want to come out of the house. But that's what growth and evolution are all about.
Unfortunately, social media isn't nearly as empathetic to this point, let alone forgiving. So, another thing to ask yourself is if you are about to post something that totally contradicts something else that you have already said. Hey, I'm not saying that if that is indeed the case that you should say nothing at all. All I'm saying is if one day, you've got one perspective and, three months later, that perspective has changed (even a little bit), don't be shocked in the least if someone is more than happy to pull up the receipts that you have changed your mind as they challenge you on it. It happens ALL of the time. Just ask that so-called president of ours.
6. Are You Aware That a Publication Could Possibly Pick “It” Up?
I ain't gonna name no names, but there are certain websites out here that, quite frankly, I don't think would exist if they weren't constantly going to Black Twitter for content. And who's getting paid for what they write? Them not the original creator of the content. That's why I think it's so important for folks to read articles like "Social Media's New Intellectual Property Challenges" and "Intellectual Property Law in the Age of Social Media" because, while social media can be hella convenient, don't think that you're not the media's—and data collectors'—dream when it comes to content that they can draw from.
A woman by the name of Erin Bury once said, "Don't say anything online that you wouldn't want plastered on a billboard with your face on it." Indeed. I'll add to that and say, "Also, don't post anything that could end up making a company thousands of dollars and you nothing if revenue for your pure genius is what you're ultimately after."
Intellectual property is something that a lot of people don't know nearly enough about; especially when it comes to what they put online. It can only benefit you to do a little research before you start hacking away on your own social media accounts. Never say that a sistah didn't warn you.
7. Why Are You Posting What You’re About to Post?
A woman by the name of Adrie Peterson once said, "If you can't say it to their face, don't post it." Say a word, say a word. One day, we'll have to get into all of the ridiculous passive aggressiveness that happens on social media that is actually pretty toxic behavior. So, why do a lot of people do it? Personally, I think that it is cowardly behavior. They don't have the balls to approach someone directly so they will be vague online. It's a twisted motive.
I think this is a good place to end this particular piece. Motive speaks to what causes us to do the things that we do, along with what we are looking to get out of it. Before you make your very next online post, take a moment to really ponder what your underlying reason is. Is it to encourage others? It is to draw attention to yourself? Is it to "start something" with some random person? Is it to give others something to think about? Is it because you can't seem to go a day without saying something? The reasons can run the gamut. All I'm advising is to be clear on what your true agenda is. If you do that, whatever reactions you receive afterwards, you will be better prepared for, all because you know why you are doing what you do. Be wise out in cyberspace, y'all. It's literally a world—and jungle—of its own.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
Social Media: How To Take Back Control Of What You're Consuming
What I Learned From My Two-Month Social Media Fast
10 Instagram Accounts That Will Keep Your Soul Quenched
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Slow Mornings Are More Than A Trend, Here’s Why You Should Add Them To Your Routine
Living in a world where we’re over-consuming and over-producing information and content, it can feel like some trending topics are complete fads. While that may be true, some of these ideas are helpful and can greatly impact our lives, one being slow mornings. Slow mornings can look different to everyone, but the general idea is to counter the fast-paced lifestyle and create more time for ourselves, lessen anxiety, and prioritize self-care.
I’m a huge advocate for adopting this type of wellness practice into your morning routine. It has completely changed the game for me. Prior to adopting this routine, I’d wake up with just enough time to get ready and go. I never prioritized time to sit and eat, dance a little as I get ready, or any type of wiggle room for the unexpected (I’m sure you can imagine the anxiety that builds when something out of the norm happens). Most times I felt flustered and disorganized, which started to affect my mood, productivity, and my mindset. I knew I needed to make some changes.
I started to incorporate more mood-boosting activities and became realistic about how much time I actually needed to get my day started. If I’m being honest, my slow mornings rely heavily on time management. I try my best to at least get seven hours of sleep and set my alarm early enough to get ready for work at a smooth and intentional pace without interrupting my rest. My work days typically start with music, my favorite podcast or meditation as I get ready, a cup of decaffeinated tea instead of coffee, setting intentions and affirmations, then prayer before my drive to work.
I always get to work early with enough time to sit and eat, review work materials, prep, and brief my colleagues. Slow mornings allow me to gain more without losing anything.
If this hasn’t already inspired you to switch things up, here are six more reasons you should incorporate a slow morning routine.
Slow Mornings Can Work for Everyone
Slow mornings rely mostly on being intentional with what you choose to prioritize and moving at a pace that doesn’t feel rushed. It’s less about the strict routine of waking up at 5 a.m. every day, as that is not realistic for everyone. I have a very flexible schedule so every day looks different and no day starts at the same time. Typically, I think about how much time I have in the morning and prioritize my mornings around that. One thing I do regardless of the time is play something motivational, express gratitude, pray, and say my affirmations. It’s small acts that make a big difference. However, if I start my day a little later, I can do more with my morning like journaling and working out.
Slow mornings allow you flexibility and take the pressure of feeling like you have to do so much with the time you have, to me that defeats the purpose. It’s more about making sure you pour time into yourself without pressure or feeling rushed.
Slow Mornings Reduce Stress and Anxiety
As I mentioned, slow mornings take the chaos, anxiousness, and stress out of planning and getting ready for your day. Slow mornings cause you to start your day in a relaxed and calm way by prioritizing the thing that makes you feel good. Taking the time to physically, mentally, and/or emotionally prepare yourself leaves you better equipped to take on the day.
Slow Mornings Create Time to Pour Into You
I’ve stopped putting myself last. I’ve given up the notion that everything and everyone has to be catered to before I’m able to do that for myself. I remind myself that I can’t give what I don’t have and if I‘m not at my best, I can’t give my best. While I know this, I also needed my actions to reflect it.
Implementing slow morning routines creates the space for you to pour into yourself, fuel yourself, and be more intentional. It makes you examine what your needs are and what focusing on your well-being can do.
Slow Mornings Reduce the Risk of Burnout
Slowing your mornings down will also inspire you to slow down in general. The notion of being busy and glorifying a never-ending workday will seem less appealing. Once you realize the power of being intentional, you’ll adopt this routine in all aspects of your life. This will help reduce your chances of burning out because you have better workload management, a clear mental space, and awareness of when you’re doing too much.
In general, I think we are all overstimulated by our influences and technology, but eventually, the feeling of constant rush and over-exertion will start to fade.
Slow Mornings Increase Productivity
If you take your time to wake up and implement healthy habits, you’ll feel more energized and creative. As I mentioned before, slow mornings allow us to get better at managing time. It helps us focus on what’s in front of us which increases productivity. I used to measure my productivity by how much I can get done, which is a race in itself. Instead, I focus on the quality and intention behind it.
Slow mornings allow you to spend time giving things the time and effort it needs, without falling behind.
It Boosts Your Confidence
If you take the time to affirm yourself in the mornings and do activities that make you feel good, then you’ll do good.
Creating a morning routine that prioritizes time management, peace, and intentional living will make you feel a greater sense of accomplishment and success. It increases our faith and belief in ourselves to do things and do them well.
Slow mornings won’t look the same for everyone, but creating time to prioritize yourself and live more intentionally may be the subtle change you need to improve your well-being. It’s okay to slow things down and get off autopilot. Do what’s best for you and know that you can’t pour from an empty cup.
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