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To All The Social Accounts I’ve Run Before
The strange feeling of seeing posts from the brand account you used to work on.
Earlier this year I posted a TikTok about working in social media and seeing posts from the brand account you *used* to run. It was my take on a popular trend: Use a crying filter paired with the sound of a voice repeating “it’s no big deal”. The TikTok got 600,000 views, 60,000 likes, and over 500 comments. Clearly, it was a big deal.
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As much as social managers would like to separate ourselves from the accounts we run, it’s hard to not feel a personal attachment. Working in social media isn’t just putting up posts every day. It’s building a unique brand ecosystem that lives, and grows, and thrives. It’s finding community and speaking with them directly—even building inside jokes based on what they find funny or what stories they want to hear. It’s posting something you’d personally want to share. It’s responding to external factors and tweaking your strategy in real time. It’s building trust, and it’s also feeling a pang of disappointment when something you wanted to do well ends up tanking.
It’s impossible for a little bit of yourself to not end up in the brand’s social presence. So when the day comes to leave a job in social media, it’s kind of strange. You didn’t mean to care so much about the accounts you and your team were responsible for, and yet they feel like yours. A thing you nurtured for 6 months, 1 year, 4 years. You post one last time on the account, even though the audience has no idea. You log out of the account you instinctually toggle between with your personal social accounts. You hope that the transition document you made actually works.
And then, a few days later, you start seeing posts you didn’t work on. For a second you worry that you scheduled something on the old brand account and forgot. But then you remember. It’s like running into an ex on your feed. Familiar yet not. Do you really hope they’re doing well?
Some of the comments on my TikTok about leaving a job in social were:
“Why does it hurt on a physical level 😂”
“i had to block them i couldn’t take it”
“IT’S LIKE A BREAKUP”
“It’s literally painful”
“so much of YOU goes into it.”
When I left my job at Bon Appétit, I felt all of these things. I knew I should mute the accounts I used to run, but I couldn’t look away. Thankfully, like any good breakup, time helped. I found myself relieved to no longer get 7 a.m. texts about a caption for a photo of pasta. I would never have to post about Amazon Prime Day ever again! That typo on IG Stories was not mine to fix. And, ultimately, I realized that, in my new role as a social consultant, I’d get to build new, more exciting social ecosystems.
Even if you had the healthiest relationship with your work—and what person who works in social does?—I think you’d still feel the sting of seeing a post from an account you used to run. It’s inevitable. But I know I took a lot of comfort in the replies of my TikTok, knowing so many people in this field feel the same. Seeing posts from an account you used to run IS a big deal, and that’s okay. But, just like with an ex, time heals most wounds…and muting them is never a bad idea.
Before you go—a quick favor! I’ve teamed up with Zaria Parvez, Social Media Manager at Duolingo, and Julian Gamboa-Ramos, Social Media Director at Maximum Effort, on a very exciting panel for SXSW. It’s all about navigating calculated risk on social.
But we need your help to make it happen! Please vote for it below. Thank you thank you thank you!