Addressing the Challenges of Working in Social Media

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Working in social media is no easy task. From long hours and negative comments to having to deal with being understaffed in more cases than not, being the face of the digital brand is not as easy as people would like to think. (Yeah, most of the people behind the account aren’t interns.)

In a candid conversation, Amara Baptist and Shahbaz Khan discuss mental health struggles while working in social, challenges working in the field, and much more.

Edited highlights appear below:

On Reading vs. Not Reading the Mentions (2:47)

Amara: “It really does take a toll on you. I think the thing with social media is it feels a lot bigger than I think it really is. It’s a huge thing, everybody’s on there, but it feels like everyone in the world is telling you that you’re awful and taking their frustrations out on you because we’re so invested and so involved.”

Shahbaz: “I think it’s multifaceted. You work for the team, so obviously you want them to succeed, right? Then things don’t go according to plan and that takes a toll by itself. I’ll say, in my time with the Kings, we did some stuff that was amazing. I’m still to this day so proud of what we did in Sacramento. A lot of ideas are shut down — not internally, but from a fan perspective — because of the negativity that’s out there, so it kind of hinders some of the creativity and some of the ideas that you’re willing to execute.”

On Struggling With Anxiety (12:06)

Shahbaz: “I’ve been in a place where, quite honestly, I was depressed and I’ve struggled with anxiety, not solely due to (reading the mentions), but it doesn’t necessarily help to read those all the time. And so putting yourself in a place where you’re able to separate those as much as possible, focus on a lot of the positive comments, and the positivity that’s out there is a good thing.”

“I think more than anything, it’s super important to know who you’re working with and trust them. The amount of time you spend with your coworkers is so insane. You probably see them more than your family, so you just need to know to trust them. If you’re having some internal struggles or you’re having some creativity issues, go to them and trust each other.”

Social on the Sidelines is Presented to You By:

On Managing a Staff (14:08)

Amara: “I think it’s important to take these things into consideration for people in manager or director positions that aren’t doing the grunt work every day — that this does take a toll and that they need to be conscious. Sometimes the coordinator or the person that’s constantly engulfed in this place of social media might need a break or a day off. I think this is also really important when you’re you’re hiring interns.”

On Biggest Struggle in Career in NBA (25:41)

Amara: “My biggest struggle since working in social media has been that since our jobs are largely based on metrics, I find that sometimes carries over to my personal life, which I really don’t like. If I’m on Instagram and I post a photo, my brain immediately goes to how many people like this, and I think there’s so much that’s really stressful in itself because you’re already judging yourself on the work that you’re doing, and then it goes over to your personal life.”

Shahbaz: “For me, it was probably the switch from Sacramento back to Minnesota. There’s a lot of different strategies and ways that I would have to go about the job that’s different than what I’m currently doing. It’s one of the things that’s unique about our jobs and one of the things that I prided myself on in going from Minneapolis to Sacramento the first time and being able to implement a new strategy in Sacramento was something that I thought was a lot of fun and something I looked forward to. Then, coming back after some of the stuff that we were able to do in Sacramento, I put too much internal pressure on myself to try to live up to a standard that everything that we were doing needed to be humorous and then taking a step back pretty much two days in and realizing that, ‘Okay, you’re not in Sacramento anymore.’ There’s a completely different organizational tone.”

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