Journalists are overworked and overwhelmed.
In Cision’s 2019 State of the Media Report, 20% of respondents said “staffing and resources” were the biggest challenges to their job in 2018. More than one-third said they are writing more than seven articles a week.
On top of the growing demand for content output, journalists are expected to be listening and engaging 24/7. Monitoring the latest news and user-generated content, as well as promoting their own stories on social media, can take up a significant part of a journalist’s day.
Unsurprisingly, time management has become a challenge and burnout a possibility.
But social media is a critical part of the job. According to an ING study, 72% of journalists consider social media an important piece of their job.
So how do you find balance between staying abreast of the latest news, engaging with your audience and meeting the entirety of job demands?
Here are some ways to recognize signs of social media burnout as well as tools to help manage it.
Reaching your limit
When checking social media platforms daily for your job, how can you tell when you’ve reached your mental limit?
Here are some common signs of burnout.
Apathy: You used to love engaging on social media, but now this causes a feeling of detachment. You’re noticing a lack of enthusiasm or motivation for this task you used to enjoy.
Brain fog: Having trouble concentrating and focusing on the task at hand could be a sign of burnout.
Avoidance: You’re putting off replying to comments, emails, etc. While you can’t go completely silent, as this could harm relationships with followers and sources, you need to find a middle ground.
Overuse: You obsessively check your phone or computer for social updates yet feel like you aren’t getting anything done.
Anxiety or irritation outside of work: You find that all you think about is work and that post you need to take care of tomorrow. This lack of work-life balance is a common struggle for journalists.
Get your time back
Here are a five things you can do to limit your social media use and structure your day to boost efficiency and productivity.
Set a schedule
Try only visiting social media sites during a specific window of time. For example, give yourself an hour each morning to check messages, mentions, replies, etc. Outside that window? Close the apps or sites to avoid temptation.
You also could consider having a weekly day to unplug.
Turn off notifications
If you don’t see the blinking light on your phone, you might not be so tempted to check your apps.
If you need to focus on writing your next article, try closing Outlook or Gmail to avoid being distracted by notifications for new emails.
If your phone is always within arm’s reach, place it on mute or use the Do Not Disturb feature.
Filter out the noise
Many journalists and content creators already are familiar with TweetDeck, but it’s still worth mentioning here.
By filtering out posts that aren’t relevant to your work, you can narrow your focus, avoiding distractions from the rest of the platform.
Subscribing to relevant newsletters, a slower mode of listening, is another option to focus on news that’s relevant to you.
And if you haven’t already signed up for PR Newswire for Journalists, you can do so at https://prnmedia.prnewswire.com. Cision can help you create a targeted newsfeed that will send you the releases that match your coverage needs on the schedule that works best for you.
Do you have teammates who can help with social media tasks? While you don’t want to distract your co-workers from their own responsibilities and projects, spreading the workload around a bit may be something to consider.
Leave social media platforms that aren’t serving you
Even though I subscribe to the JOMO (joy of missing out) mentality, I understand that many people have FOMO (fear of missing out) and might be checking every social media platform throughout their day because of it.
But when you evaluate the time spent on these platforms, are you gaining useful insights from all of them? Consider which platform your target audience is engaging with most and focus your efforts there.
In this climate of the never-ending news cycle, it’s easy to get caught up in the constant flow of information on social media.
But because journalists are having to do more work with fewer resources, it’s important to realize your limits and create a more sustainable system to help you manage.
Kim Renfro, an entertainment reporter for Insider, had this to say after the company tested a Twitter-free week in February: “I missed it, but I think it was a good reset button for me to think more critically about what I’m doing with my time on there during the day.”