Balancing Messaging and Mental Health: Social Media Management During Trying Times
By Erin Ryan, J.D.
May 19, 2021 | 3 minutes
Technology Management Social Media and Engagement Content Type Article Additional Options Content Level: Essential Firm Size: Small Firm Size: Medium Firm Size: Large
Today’s social media professional operates in a hyperconnected digital world — an increasingly contentious and often uncomfortable space. April’s Well-Being Wednesday featured an enlightening conversation with Social & Digital Media SIG Co-Chairs Katherine McCoy Rivera, formerly of Adams and Reese, and Meghan Spradling of Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP, about the challenges and rewards of a social media professional. We learned that the role demands constant attention on trending topics, newsfeeds, and breaking news at a pace that rarely slows down. As our society continues to combat tough topics like racial injustice, social change, and other hard-hitting topics, social media professionals also face a multiplying effect: they live through it as citizens — as humans — but are also tasked with communicating a message that’s often uncomfortable or difficult to put into words, especially when speaking for an organization made up of individuals. And, when there is incongruence between the organization's message and its internal or external actions, social media professionals can find themselves in a tough mental spot.
On the brighter side, social and digital media professionals feel empowered and confident in the responsibility that comes with their jobs. They enjoy being part of a movement where law firms are actually FIRST to speak out loudly and clearly against injustice. Unlike many other marketing and business development roles, a social media professional is encouraged to see things differently, be creative, and allow room for healthy discomfort.
Rely on firm leadership or higher-ups as allies. Even if you don’t have the proverbial seat at the table, allied firm leaders can be your proxy at that table.
The breakout rooms following this conversation allowed participants to share some of their own experiences and offer their own mechanisms for coping with the mental well-being challenges of social media professionals. Here are a few of their suggestions:
- Find allies. Rely on firm leadership or higher-ups as allies. Even if you don’t have the proverbial seat at the table, allied firm leaders can be your proxy at that table.
- Build rapport. Continue to build good relationships with attorneys — investing in that rapport will carve an easier path when you’re navigating challenges.
- Self-coach. Talk to yourself and proactively build a mental narrative that what you're doing is right.
- Vent. Do it freely and openly with a trusted group.
- Set healthy boundaries for yourself. But importantly, you stick with them. You can't be mad that someone invaded your life at 8 p.m. if you responded!
- Educate. The people who make your role challenging may not know what this process actually looks like. (Clue: It's not just opening up Twitter and posting something off the cuff). There is a whole process in place, so keep educating them on it.
- Learn as much as you can about emotional intelligence. For example, read up on implementation intention, a self-regulatory strategy rooted in EQ. “If X happens, then I’ll do Y.” Having a plan can help you cope during times of heightened stress.
- Take a walk and leave your phone behind. Even if it’s just to the kitchen or a lap around your office. Stepping away from your device even just for a few moments can bring a new sense of peace and clarity.
The monthly Well-Being Wednesday program has been created by the LMA Well-Being Committee to create a safe space where we can drive discussions around topics that impact our well-being and that of others, to encourage LMA members to engage and interact and of course, to bolster a sense of well-being within our community and within ourselves.