Is Social Media helping or hurting?

A friend of mine and I recently made a pact to never look at Pinterest again…”It makes me feel completely inadequate,” she complained to me.  I know the feeling well! Lately, everywhere you look, websites are making you feel bad about yourself: too much gluten, too little exercise, not enough sleep, too much caffeine. What about your massage practice? Social media and the over-abundance of information online are giving therapists low self-esteem about their businesses, too.

So what can we do about this?  Where do we turn for advice?  Sometimes it seems like all those Facebook groups would have the answers, just join one and ask a question and more seasoned therapists are there to lend a helping hand.  Great  idea?  But is that really what is happening?

I feel like many of these groups, well meaning though their origins are, have become a bastion of therapist shaming.

“Work at a franchise?  You are destroying the world that therapists knew before the dawn of franchises!!”

“Use Groupon?  Oh my god, how can you get yourself out of bed in the morning, you are undervaluing yourself and ALL massage therapists everywhere…you should be ashamed of yourself for trying to bring people into your business!!”

“Need help with a client who has a medical issue?  What the heck is wrong with the school you attended…how could you possibly be allowed out in the world with such little knowledge of massage!!”

“Want advice on how to deal with a co-worker?  What the heck is wrong with you, why aren’t you out on your own, in the open world giving chair massages to whomever will sit there long enough!!”

“Want to make more money in your private practice?  Hire people, work out deals with the concierge at high-end big city hotels, surely there are a couple of those in small town America where you have your practice!!”

Obviously, some of these are hypocritical and self-defeating, and that is half of my point.

Here’s my solution…Quit looking at Facebook too!!  Those kind souls who started Facebook groups didn’t mean for things to turn out the way they have.  And those people who are giving advice… do you really know them?  Do you know how long they have been practicing?  Do you know if they have a successful practice?  Do they know you?  Do they know if you live in a small town or a big city?  Whether you are a single parent working three jobs or someone who is just doing massage on the side until you retire from another profession?  Find a coach; find a mentor.  Find someone near you that you admire who is willing to be your support.  Ask at your school or your place of business.  Don’t rely on blind information; it’ll just make you feel bad.