How is you relationship with social media? Blissful or strained?
I have a very difficult relationship with social media, on the one hand, I resent that the various platforms that make up “social media” are an enormous time trap. Like a black hole that sucks in ever-increasing amounts of time. On the other, I have to acknowledge that social media can provide huge opportunities for our businesses and our personal lives.
The trick is to find the balance, to use discernment, be selective in what we spend our valuable time on and above all to be disciplined about how much time we do allow to slip by while we are getting distracted by interesting or entertaining but probably useless stuff. That I find is the biggest problem, plan to spend ten minutes on a couple of tweets or updates and in the blink of an eye, an hour has disappeared into the black hole.
My solution has been to cancel my accounts with many of the more frivolous sites and to severely limit when and how much time I spend on the few where I maintain some level of activity. I also “lurk” on a few others without much activity. I now rarely follow or friend people without a compelling reason, refrain from endorsing, liking or otherwise praising people or pages who I know nothing about and am far more selective about participation in groups.
No offence intended to any one to whom I have not responded, but as a solo operator, time is my most precious commodity.
It’s not all bad, I have re-established contact with old school friends from 40 years ago, former business colleagues from my previous life in Africa and other long lost friends. I have also made some very good “virtual” friends through social media.
That is where this post is going.
Many months ago on twitter, my path crossed that of Roberta Hunter and her More Thyme Than Dough Blog. She is a prolific blogger and very versatile chef, all her blog posts feature a recipe with mouth-watering photographs of her culinary art. Roberta’s blog is well worth following. If, like me, your kitchen skills are limited to boiling water and opening cans, you will still enjoy her posts on a range of topics other than cooking.
More recently, I stumbled upon the path of Andrea Kahn and her website PetSpeakArt. Andrea recently authored a wonderful guest post for this blog: Diving In. Andrea is a great example of someone who has followed her passion and turned it into a successful business. Visit her website to see her unique pet portraits.
Through Andrea, I came into contact with Eric Model, we have moved from a purely “virtual” contact to regular telephone conversations. Eric is a fascinating source of information on America and Canada “beyond the highway”. He has documented his numerous journeys into small town America and Canada, with side trips into the world of hockey, beer and election campaigns, amongst other topics.
Eric has recently started a new blog, Eric Models Blog as a hub to connect the spokes of his other “journeys” oriented websites. Whether you are a baby boomer like me yearning for nostalgic reminders of our youth in a simpler era, a hockey fan or interested in little known facts about small town North America, you will find plenty of material to enjoy. Eric provides an excellent example of successfully transitioning his “old media” skills to the new media of the digital age.
For the record, I have no commercial relationship with any of the people mentioned above, I am happy to recommend them to you because they are all good, both in what they do and in the quality of their art.
Here then are the takeaways from my difficult relationship with social media:
- Manage social media involvement, not be managed by it.
- Choose the platforms that provide benefits for you and / or your business.
- Use time spent on social media effectively.
- Look for and nurture the valuable connections that cross your path.
There really are good people on social media who can become wonderful sources of inspiration, education and enlightenment, the trick is to find them amongst all the chatter. As I have found with my three examples here, it’s worth the effort.
Be honest, how well do you manage your relationship with social media? Leave a comment.
Wishing you success and an extraordinary life.