Finding stars amongst the social media chatter.

social-media

Blissful or Strained relationship?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Peter Wright

 

 

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  3 comments for “Finding stars amongst the social media chatter.

  1. Roberta
    July 11, 2013 at 9:18 am

    I have to confess that I probably spend too much time on Social Media….well on Twitter mostly because that is where my good friends are.

    That I have made true and real friendships on Twitter was a huge surprise to me. I joined for the express purpose of promoting my blog.

    What I found were wonderful loving and caring people. Maybe part of that is foodies and their love for life and people.

    I have made real and true friends on Twitter and had had the privilege of meting five of them in real life, going as far as St. Louis to meet two of them.

    The circle of friends I talk with everyday or often on Twitter really care for each other.

    Maybe other parts of Twitter are mean spirited. I read news articles so I know it is true. But that is not the case with my circle of friends.

    I now have friends in Australia, a long-lost sister in Thailand, all over Europe, and Africa, Canada, and the states.

    I often tell folks that Twitter is better than the world-wide pen pals I had through school as a child. Why? Cause interactions are in real time. I do not have to wait 2-3 months to get a letter by snail mail.

    That is why I do not apologize for spending too much time on Twitter. It is love and caring. I would never give it up for all the tea in China.

    As always, Peter, than k you very much for the kind words about me and More Thyme. I count you in that group of good friends met through Twitter.

    • July 12, 2013 at 9:10 am

      Thank you for your kind thoughts Roberta, like you, I enjoy twitter and spend more time on it than all the other social media sites combined. I agree that the “real time” or at worst next day for people on the other side of the world, interaction is a huge advance over exchanging letters – even by “air-mail”.

      I don’t let the mean spirited users bother me, there are equally mean spirited writers of letters to the editors of major newspapers. At least we have the ability to block undesirable contacts on twitter.

      twitter has the advantage that due to its format, it can be enjoyed in short “bites”. I find it easy to just spend 10 minutes on it. That is far more difficult on Facebook or You Tube.

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