Social Media and Comparison-itis

Mindfulness & Mental Health

Last week I saw a post in one of the Facebook groups I belong to. One of my fellow members has a son who has decided to look into to how much screen-time adults have, on the belief that adults are on their phones more than children are.

Well. I do believe he was right. For pretty much as far back as I can remember, I’ve been dealing with anxiety, partly about perfectionism, and partly social comparison. Over the past year or so I have noticed that the social comparison part of this has gotten worse. I am finding it harder to see other people’s success or talent and be excited about it, like I used to. Now, it feels like competition. And I’m usually the loser.

I really, really don’t like this feeling. It was wonderful to see someone do something awesome and feel inspired, or just respond to their work as a reader/viewer. This space of judgement sucks.

Last time I was in this place, I worked on my self-acceptance, and this feeling went away. While I am trying the same approach this time, I’ve discovered that I need to work harder to get the same results.

So back to the experiment. We were asked to download a tracker app onto our phones (I’m on Android so got QualityTime) which shows our usage. The first day I had SIX HOURS of screen time. Imagine what I could have got done in the time that I was checking in on my phone? My average for the week so far (Sat – Thurs, so 6 days) is 4h 15m, with social media taking up about 2h of that time.

Now, there is definitely value in social media. I have made some beautiful connections and very real friendships. It helps build my presence as an author / artist, and also helps sell my books. I can help other creatives out by sharing their work, too.

But do I really need to be on there for two hours a day? I don’t think so. Do I need to be researching, or checking emails, or getting advice from <insert expert here>, or whatever it is I’m doing for another two hours? Definitely not.

I feel that this has something to do with the feelings of comparison-itis. If I am scrolling through other people’s highlights for so much time in a day, and reading or listening to other people’s advice (people who I deem are higher up the food chain), then maybe it’s only natural that this feeds into my social comparison.

Phase one of the experiment ends today, when we will send our stats in and get back suggestions to reduce our usage. I look forward to sharing my reduced usage time with you, and letting you know how I am feeling next week!

How to promote an event on social media [Book Events Series]


Social media is a wonderful tool, and in my experience it’s more about the build-up to an event / product launch than the actual day itself. I’ve found that about a month is a good time to start advertising, with more frequent posts in the week leading up to the big day. Below are some things that you can share on social media leading up to an event (warning: link-heavy).

Progress Updates

If I’m working on an illustrated book, I post daily updates on Instagram, Facebook (and sometimes Twitter) with photos of my drawings as I progress. This helped me with both What Stars Are Made Of and The Caretaker’s Colouring Book to build interest and to get pre-orders. For text-only books, Facebook and Twitter are the best social platforms for updating word counts and editing progress.

dragon, adult colouring book, coloring book, illustration, nz artist, instagram

An Instagram update.

Promote Others

Are there other people who you can promote alongside you? For the book festival, I’m posting an author a day over on my Facebook page. For the book launch of Lucy’s Story, I also shared Jennie Cruse and James Stonley, who participated in my launch party, and my illustrator, Jane Thorne. Social karma works!


A weekly countdown to an event is a fun reminder for people that your event is coming up. A weekly basis is not too obtrusive (I think – let me know if you disagree). I make little graphics using PicMonkey (free, web-based software). They are easily sharable, and if it’s an event that there are lots of other people at, it’s something they can use as well.

Week four countdown to the NZ Independent Book Festival, 2015. See more on my Facebook Page.

Week four countdown to the NZ Independent Book Festival, 2015. See more on my Facebook Page.


Festivals and events need display stuff, merchandise & giveaways, and lots of other preparation. You can share your shopping, your display items, merchandise that you’ll take with you and even just text-only updates about what you’re doing to prepare for your event.


You can also ask for advice prior to the event – do people prefer Display A or Display B? Yellow or blue? Recently I asked about whether people would be put off purchasing if I didn’t have EFTPOS available, which led me to research more heavily into my mobile EFTPOS options.

This article is part of my Book Events Series, leading up to the NZ Independent Book Festival.