The internet is being a right royal ass-hat at the moment. I’ve been in the blogging game for 10 years, the professional blogging game for 5 years and I’ve not witnessed as much algorithm tweaking and platform freak outs than I have in the last few months.
Look, I’m an internet person who makes my living from content creation and annoyingly so is Mark Zuckerberg. I don’t hate the big guys – I think they’re great. They give me free-to-use platforms to find more people who are into the stuff I do and that shit is expensive. My blog (that is 100% free for my readers) costs me a lot of money in hosting, support and fees for things like my campaign management system. I can only begin to imagine what it must cost to run Facebook. They deserve to get paid for it and they have the right to make changes that will suit them. I’ve rolled with the punches on every change to every platform in the last 10 years but last week, I’d had it.
Instagram is like a barren waste land now – anything I post gets shown to 3% of my hard earned followers I busted my ass to get over the last few years and Google made a massive change a few weeks ago that wiped out 50% of my search traffic. I’d already doubled my traffic this year and then Google makes a change and it all disappears. Super fun times right? Someone get me a whiskey.
It really is fine. I mean it’s bullshit, but it’s fine. I have a healthy email list, my daily direct traffic won’t (and can’t) really be affected and I’ll be able to figure out how to move forward but there’s nothing like seeing your numbers drop suddenly for no reason, simultaneously, across multiple platforms that are quite important to your business.
So this was last Thursday for me.
I consequently spent all of Friday searching for full time jobs, bursting into tears every hour on the hour and trying to figure out if there was some way I could just back away slowly from this whole thing and go live off the grid in an eco hut and sell eggs for a living.
If you’re already a touch on the anxious side, it doesn’t take much to totally tip you over the edge. I’ve had situations happen like this before. I lost half my traffic this time last year because of an algorithm change and I built it back up again. Everything is fixable but when you’re in the throes of a freak out like I was and everything seems utterly hopeless, you might need some advice to get you out of it. Here’s what I do when everything is looking like it’s falling apart…
Anxiety and fear look really similar
Last week’s freak out wasn’t about what was happening – it was about what MIGHT happen. Whenever I’m having a freak out, it’s always because I’m imagining the worst case scenario of consequences. I imagined my traffic completely flatlining, every brand I’ve worked for seeking compensation for loss of evergreen content conversion (so not a thing they can do BTW) and me having to sell Smaggle to a Chinese domain acquisition company for $50. Needless to say none of that stuff actually happened and it’s highly unlikely it will happen.
When you’re mid-freak out, try to see what it is that you’re fearing. More often than not, the thing you’re fearing is so bat shit crazy, once you identify it and acknowledge it, it will probably make you laugh enough to forget why you’re freaking out so badly in the first place. Like when I blubbered to Mr Smaggle last week ‘I have to shut down Smaggle. I can’t deal with this anymore!’ he reminded me what I said a few hours later when I had calmed down. Shut down Smaggle? Pfffft! As if.
Think about your last freak out
What was the last thing you had a full on, balls out manic episode about? Do you even remember? Nope. Me neither. A good solid freak out seems so important and totally un-fixable in the moment but the second the threat is gone, you barely even remember what it was about. I can remember years ago, way before Mr Smaggle, being so nervous about talking to my boyfriend of the time about our imminent break up, I actually threw up several times before we met up that day. It was all-consuming at the time and I can remember thinking what an enormous thing this was that I would never get over. That was close to 15 years ago now and I’m still mates with this ex of mine now. We drink a lot of beer and laugh ourselves stupid whenever we find ourselves in the same city. I worked myself up into utter knots over this break up and now I look back at it and it was like I wasn’t there. What a waste of a great weekend 15 years ago.
Find a Freak Out Friend
Preferably one who speaks your language of crazy. Good freak out friends are the best. Good freak out friends will make you have a bath with a glass of wine. Bad freak out friends will make you write heated emails full of expletives and send them before you’ve calmed down. Know the difference and choose wisely.
As for my last massive freak out of last week? Not even a thing any more. I have strategies in place to fix all the shit that went down and I’m feeling much better about it all. In a week, I won’t even be thinking about it.
I hope by next week, whatever is giving you a freak out, disappears. Freak outs are like monsters under the bed. The more attention you give them, the worse they are.
Are you the type to freak out? What strategies do you use to keep yourself in check?
Speaking of internet type things if you don’t want to miss out on any Smaggle stuff make sure you sign up to my newsletter. Just so you choose what you want to see instead of Google being like ‘Hmm…. Smaggle used the exact same sentence twice in that blog post so NO MORE SMAGGLE FOR THE INTERNET!!!’.
You can choose to ignore it but then at least it’s your choice. Take the power into your own hands.