One day, you decide to start freelancing. Maybe you lost your job, and maybe you quit your job. Maybe you can’t afford childcare or maybe you don’t want to use childcare. No matter what the reason, the fact is, you’re a freelancer now – and probably working from home. What does that mean for your social life?
For most of the working world, socializing is built into their schedule. On the subway, at the office, and during their lunch break, these working adults interact with other adult human beings, face-to-face.
Is this bad, good, or neutral? In today’s world of technology and the Internet; of Facebook and WhatsApp, is it really important to spend every lunch break with a friend? Or is it enough to catch up on Facebook while eating your sandwich?
Social Media Doesn’t Count
If you’re spending most of your day in front of the computer, it’s hurting your health, and not just physically. Contrary to popular belief, social media doesn’t actually gain us more friends. Instead, it replaces real-life friends with virtual ones.
That’s because humans have a limited capacity for friendship and socialization. When those capacities are filled nearly to the brim with internet friends and acquaintances, there’s less room left for the people who really matter – those you know in real life.
It’s Real-Life Friends Who Help
True, Facebook groups can provide a feeling of sympathy and moral support. They can offer advice and suggestions, and help you network.
When it comes down to it, most of the time, internet friends can’t help you with the nitty-gritty of everyday life. Usually, it’s those real-life friendships, cultivated with neighbors, relatives, your community, and friends from your kids’ school who step in to help out. Sure, there are exceptions but remember that many of those exceptions make the news because they’re exceptions.
When you cut down on face-to-face interaction, in favor of social media interaction, you’re selling yourself short. Put effort into those real-life friendships. They’ll help you in more ways than one.
Don’t Drop Social Media Yet
If you’re shy, social media may have benefits. Without the pressure of face-to-face meetings, many shy kids (and adults) are able to open up and express their personalities. By practicing some but not all, social skills in an online setting, they allow themselves to gradually learn how to interact positively and with confidence.
And if you’re a freelancer, social media can help you successfully market your business and skills. Precisely because we live in a world of technology and make friends on the internet, our marketing capacity is expanded, releasing us from the limits of our specific localities.
Find A Balance
There’s a saying that, “Everything is healthy, and everything is unhealthy. It depends on the amount.” Okay, maybe it’s not a saying, but simply my husband’s wisdom. Either way, the key to healthy social media practices is moderation.
Make sure to set a limit on how much time you spend on social media, per day. Even if you’re a freelancer. This might mean giving up Facebook chats, because you need your social media time to promote your business. Or, it might mean only socializing on Twitter when you’re in the bathroom or just one day a week.
You also need to make sure that you’re getting out of the house every day. Maybe this means jogging, and maybe it means going to the store. If you want, you can choose to work at your local library, instead of your living room “office”. What’s important is to make sure that you’re not isolated.
If you have a friend who is studying for a degree or freelancing, perhaps you can arrange to work side by side. That way, you’ll have some of the benefits of an office, but without the boss looking over your shoulder.
Do you think social media is overrated? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
This is a Guest Post from Chana Roberts, an experienced freelance writer and blogger. She is a mother and writer, motivated and passionate about both roles in her life. Chana currently lives in the beautiful land of Israel.