A number is a number is a number; on weight loss and social media stats

Recently, I’ve started spend more time on various social media platforms.

Blogging more frequently. Tweeting and updating my status and promoting my posts. It’s been fun getting to know my fellow FitFluential Ambassadors and their diverse viewpoints on health and fitness. It’s been exciting to see my Twitter and Facebook numbers shoot up and the overall traffic to my blog increase. So exciting, that I’ve been checking my stats often. Daily, for sure and sometimes even more. My husband has noticed and hinted that it might be a tad obsessive.

(There are many other types of statistics you can generate about your online ‘importance’. So as not to encourage you to spend even more time analyzing your own impact, I’ll refrain from describing them here.)

This morning, a tweet from @nomorebacon caught my attention;

Intrigued, I followed the link to a wonderful article about the slippery slope between passion for and obsession with Social Media.

In a nutshell, if you use social media as a means to an end (i.e., promoting health and wellness to the masses), you’re passionate. If the means and the end are equally important (i.e., your sense of self-worth is a direct reflection of how many people are reading/liking/following/re-tweeting you), you’re obsessed.

As I read the article, I found myself thinking about the parallels between social media statistics and the bathroom scale. A blogger checking her impact daily is no different than a dieter jumping on the scales every morning. Happy when the number goes up (blogger) or down (dieter), unhappy when the opposite occurs, both are allowing the number to dictate their self-worth.

Page views and pounds are simply numbers. How big your audience is. How much you weigh. (I so wanted to write ‘how big your butt is’). By themselves, they don’t mean a thing. Only when we compare them with another number, a number that we’ve decided is an attainable goal, do they take on significance.

A little bit of focus on numbers can be helpful when pursuing a goal. But when the number becomes more important than other aspects of the process (how much you enjoy writing, how good exercise feels), passion is on its way to becoming obsession.

A number is a number is a number. You get to decide what that number means and how much power over you it will wield.

I only weigh myself once a month, just to make sure I’m on track with my health and fitness goals. Passionate about maintaining a healthy weight, but not obsessed.

I need to do the same thing with social media statistics. Check less frequently (note that I didn’t say ‘once a month’, ha ha!) and with purpose (to see whether my posts are resonating with anybody, to gauge whether I’m attaining my goal of motivating others).

Use it as a means to an end. Passionately, not obsessively.

How much time do you spend each day on social media?

How do you use social media?

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  1. I can’t answer that question because I’m too busy mainlining Twitter!

  2. This is a good point. I’m not scale obsessed anymore nor Twitter obsessed but used to be both. I tried to “win” at Twitter thinking that if I had tons of followers my blog would become an overnight sensation. I quickly realized that building a large Twitter audience takes an obsessive amount of time and you don’t necessarily garner an engaged audience. Often, my Twitter stream seems like one loud chorus of people shouting, “Pick me, read me, like me, follow me!!!”
    So, now I give Twitter 20 minutes or so a day for fun. If my followers check out my blog, great. If not, that’s ok too. There are a lot of people that I think are more entertaining on Twitter than as a blog writer. I’m sure plenty think the same about me.

    • Love your common sense approach Barbara. I’m still searching for the best way to use social media as a tool for connecting with a wider audience. I like the daily time limit option.
      Thanks for stopping by!