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Social Media Manager Fatigue
Posted on April 25th 2011
Everyone knows being a social media manager is the funnest job in the world, right? I mean, what's NOT to like about being paid to be on Facebook and Twitter all day?
If that's true why am I spending more and more time thinking maybe getting into this line of work was a terrible idea and maybe editing articles about enteral and parenteral nutrition was actually not boring or tedious? Depending on what people call my job, it's supposed to be the hottest job of all time. What's not to like?
I just read a post about social media and the stages of grief and it really resonated with me and, frankly, also depressed the crap out of me. If you're thinking about making a career of social media, you need to read that post. I think it's important to know that a) the phases (denial, bargaining, anger, and despair) Amber describes in the post are totally accurate and b) when you're a social media manager, all the emotions and upheaval during each of those phases are directed towards YOU. Are you down with that? You sure?
The important thing to know, I think, is that working through these phases takes time...a LONG time. Moving an organization from being "1.0" to social is incredibly hard and can take years. Being the person on staff who's responsible for instigating these uncomfortable phases is really hard. I suspect it's probably easier if there are other people on staff to share in your misery--other members of a social media team, for instance--but especially in the association or nonprofit world, organizations are lucky to have budget to dedicate ONE hire to social media and I don't imagine that will be changing anytime soon.
Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I've been at it for 3 years now and I'm about worn out. And I know from talking to others in similar roles that they're just as beaten down and burnt out as I am. And the thing is that social media is still so new that it's not like organizations are going to be doing any forward thinking about avoiding burnout and retaining talented employees in this role; they're still mostly stuck in the phase where they see social media spending as experimental, and just possibly (fingers crossed), something that they won't need to worry about in a few years.
Anyone care to share tips on how they're avoiding burnout in a social media role? Anonymous comments are fine, btw.