• Advice for Actors: Social Media

    Charlotte Armitage, Film & TV Industry Psychologist and Managing Director of YAFTA and YAFTA Talent Agency, talks about how Actors can better manage their online presence on social media without it negatively affecting their real lives.

    8th May 2019By ​Charlotte Armitage

    Social media offers a great platform in terms of communication, networking, news gathering and as a cathartic outlet for many but it isn't without its challenges - the impact on self image, self-worth and our mental wellbeing is huge.

    How can we better manage our online presence without it negatively affecting our real lives?

    Social media is undeniably an intrinsic part of modern life for many. For those working in the acting industry it can not only be a great source of news and information but also a fantastic marketing tool for businesses and freelance artists. However, it is important to consider the impact that social media can have on both your career and mental wellbeing.

    Career Impact

    Recently there have been some high-profile examples of actors who have lost their TV roles due to inappropriate comments they posted on their social media profiles have resurfaced. Unfortunately, when you are in the public eye, it seems to be expected that you behave as though you are a perfect human being with entirely neutral thoughts that don’t offend anyone! Although not necessarily fair or realistic, you can find yourself are on a magnified pedestal that is very exposing.

    Essentially, if you become a successful actor and in the public eye, you will be seen as a role model for others, as well as representing the production that you are working in, and therefore, how you conduct yourself in any public domain is heavily scrutinised.

    As aspiring actors, it goes without saying that you should be mindful about what you write online. Any controversial comments, bullying or trolling behaviour that could be deemed as discriminatory or inappropriate should not be put on social media, regardless of whether you are in the public eye or not. It is not a private space. Even with privacy controls applied, who is to stop one of your connections taking a photo and sending it to someone else?

    Think before you write anything online, look at creating separate accounts for personal and professional lives and always ensure the correct privacy controls are applied.

    Mental Health

    Social media is often a highlights reel, portraying the best possible aspects of someone’s life. It rarely shows the mundane, ordinary or raw realities of life. Even though we are all aware of this, the subconscious will still pick up and judge what is being presented to us which will affect us on a level that we aren’t consciously aware of and can ultimately lead to feelings of insecurity and inadequacy.

    If you’re struggling to get auditions or secure work, then comparing your life to others on social media is naturally going to have a negative impact on your mental health. It’s important to remember not to compare your narrative to someone else’s – you might be on page 1 and you’re unfairly comparing against someone who’s on page 201 for example!

    It’s wise to take a break from social media every now and again and limit the amount of time that you spend on it per day. Being constantly connected to technology can lead to being disconnected in other areas of life, including our mental wellbeing. By taking time out from social media and focusing on developing your acting career, you will be much more productive whilst gaining clarity to focus.

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