My mother called the other day and asked what the heck was this “Pinterest” site all about.
For those who don’t know, my mom (Sheila Simkin) is an Internet success story in her own right. Mom has had her own adventure travel blog, TravelswithSheila.com, since 2006, I coached her to get her started, but she has done a really great job of blogging on a regular basis for a number of years.
Mom has learned to make money with AdSense, sold text links on her site, set up a YouTube account and uploaded hundreds of videos and maintained a Facebook page.
When she learned of Pinterest I could hear the exasperation in her voice as she said “I have to use ANOTHER site?”
Admit it. You have felt the very same way.
While social media can be a lot of fun, we have all experienced the cruel tyranny which can result from feeling like we have too many obligations to too many sites.
If I were to make a list of the things I could do every day in the social media sphere, they would include, but are not limited to:
- Maintain my personal Facebook page
- Post content on my Facebook fan page
- Tweet several times each day
- Post content to my Google Plus account
- Upload new videos to YouTube
- Post photos on Instagram
- Pin photos on Pinterest
- Buy and sell shares of others on Empire Avenue
This just scratches the surface. There are hundreds of other social sites which I could use to bring value to the online community.
It kind of makes you want to sell all your gadgets and move to a remote island, doesn’t it? I understand the frustration my mother was expressing to me. I have felt it myself. So have you.
But I don’t live in that place for very long. You don’t have to either.
Now I don’t have the power to change what you do or how you do it, but perhaps you will find freedom as I share my philosophy.
Like anything else in life, you often get out based on what you put in. Many people make the mistake of assuming that this is based on quantity of effort, or how much time you invest in your social media efforts.
These people have not yet learned the difference between working hard and working smart. When it comes to your social media presence, quality ALWAYS trumps quantity.
Spinning your wheels is easy. Just observe a hamster on a wheel. Add more hamsters. They might go faster, but odds are they won’t all be able to keep up the pace.
Now that I have prepped you for my advice, here it comes. Brace yourself. It will rock your world…
Seriously. There are only so many hours in the day and social media can consume every last second if you allow it to.
There will ALWAYS be another activity you can get involved in. Always.
There will always be new sites that you can use to engage with others. Always.
How much is too much?
I would suggest that if you are feeling overwhelmed with the amount of activity you feel you should be doing, then you are placing too heavy a burden on yourself. It is likely that other areas of your life may be suffering as a result. Whether they be relationships or true productivity, those who busy themselves with social media because they feel they must often are not being true to themselves.
So chill out.
This is what my social media regimen looks like.
If I have something to say, I say it. If I want to engage, I engage. If I see something I like and want to share it with others, I share. If I take a photo that I enjoy, I post it. If I am intrigued by an image, I’ll pin it. If I like it, I like it. If I want to comment, I comment. If I want to make a new connection, I make a new connection. (Are you seeing a pattern here?)
There are those who hire others to manage their social media presence. I am not opposed to this provided that the manager is handling routine tasks (pinning, uploading, etc…), but I am not a fan of ghost-writers for social media. It removes all authenticity, and that’s what social is really all about.
But for the majority of us who manage our own online presence, there is a thin line between engaging and insanity.
In order to stay sane, my activity typically looks like this, in order of time spent on sites each week:
1) Facebook (daily)
2) Twitter (daily)
3) LinkedIn (daily, but only to approve new connections and read messages)
4) Google Plus (occasionally because I’m still not convinced of mass adoption)
5) Instagram (a few times each week and only if I have a pic I want to share)
6) Pinterest (Meh. I get it, but I’m not a huge fan)
7) YouTube (I sometimes go weeks without a new video)
As for the other sites, it’s touch and go. The majority of my social time is spent on the biggies.
What is best for you? Only you can answer that question.
But if you are feeling the pressure to do more, may I suggest that you cut yourself some slack?
The best and most valuable social network of all isn’t on your computer, phone or tablet. It’s right outside your front door.
Go for a walk. Say hi to your neighbor. Make smalltalk with the cashier at your Barnes & Noble store. Share a meal with a friend. Go to a business networking event and shake hands with other businesspeople (and then add them to your social media accounts!)
Do I still feel internal pressure to do more when it comes to being social online? YES. I am human. On top of that, I am a doer. And I am so attracted to the latest bright shiny object. I really am.
When I feel that pressure, I recognize that what I am doing is unhealthy. I am “shoulding” on myself.
I SHOULD be tweeting more. I SHOULD put up a fan page post today. I SHOULD use Pinterest more.
That’s when I shift gears and move to some other activity. I’ll play a game, read a book, watch a movie, talk to a friend… anything BUT allow myself to get caught up in the what I SHOULD be doing.
It’s not about what I should do. It’s about what I WANT to do. And if I want to do it, it’s easy. It flows. It’s natural. And it comes from a more authentic place.
Is social media hard work? If so, you’re probably doing it wrong.
What are your thoughts? I love when you engage with me by sharing your comments in the form below!