“Wealth is now defined, at least in part, by the ability to be offline whenever you want” Fernando Gros.
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Blog // Thoughts
August 3, 2014

Finding Time For Social Media

I love podcasts. Back when I lived in India, podcasts kept me sane, as I perpetually found myself stuck in traffic and local radio had a limited appeal. I listened to shows (often repackaged radio broadcasts and even to this day I make time to listen podcasts like This American Life, RadioLab and Sound Opinions. […]

ClareValley
I love podcasts. Back when I lived in India, podcasts kept me sane, as I perpetually found myself stuck in traffic and local radio had a limited appeal. I listened to shows (often repackaged radio broadcasts and even to this day I make time to listen podcasts like This American Life, RadioLab and Sound Opinions.

But, increasingly I have to admit, I don’t have time to keep up. This prompted me to ask on Twitter how we will find time to listen to all the new podcasts being launched every week. As it always happens, I soon had a great question in response.

What Is Living?

At the risk of getting all philosophical, my response to any question like this is to ask what is being assumed, in this case, what we mean by living.

To me living includes socialising, including sustaining existing relationships and fostering new ones. Social media is woven into the way many of us do this today. Also, living includes working, sustaining, supporting and promoting our work. And, again, social media is woven into this as well.

I guess the real question is how much time do we invest in social media and to what extent does social media get in the way of other more important aspects of life.

A Little Instagram Example

A photographer friend was asking me recently about Instagram. I admitted that I’ve never really grown my following there and always struggled to get my photos to make the “explore” section. While my photos get likes, they don’t get enough, as a percentage of my following, to fit the algorithm.

But, then it occurred to me; how many of my followers are active anymore? After all, I do seem to get a lot of likes from the people I see posting regularly. A quick check revealed that an awful lot of my followers are not longer active. But, flushing those dormant accounts out is a laborious, time consuming process.

Is it worth it for sharing photos on what is, essentially, a dying platform? Social Media these days throws up so many of these kinds of situations.

Some Ideas To Consider

There are so many questions to consider when it comes to how social media. I know my desire these days is spend less time with social media but enjoy the time I do spend there more. With that in mind here’s a few ideas that reflect my current practices.

Be In Or Out

– There’s a temptation to be on every platform. But, unless you want to make social media your full time job it is impossible. I’m not on Facebook and to be honest, I’m more likely to leave a social media platform these days than join one.

Narrow The Scope

– On Twitter, I recently deleted my lists, which means less to read every time I log in and less maintenance as well. Defining what you want from social media can help.

Own Your Curation

– Relying on Twitter and Facebook to feed you links and interesting content is random. You can own your inputs by curating them yourself. Maybe go back to using an RSS reader and subscribing to blogs and newsfeeds? It’s an old school solution, but it can be incredibly effective.

Automate (A Little)

– I’m not a fan of heavily automating social media; it defeats the purpose. But, you can get offline a little more often if you use tools like Hootsuite to schedule some updates and also set up your blog to share out links to social media platforms when you post updates.

Have Unshared Moments

– I love the scene in The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty when Sean Penn’s character, the elusive photographer Sean O’Connell, decides not to photograph a rare Snow Leopard. His reason is that some moments are just for experiencing and don’t need to be photographed. We don’t have to photograph every meal, sunset or moment. Some experiences can be richer, more precious, for not being shared.

Have Social Media Time

– sometimes the answer to spending less time doing something is actually to make time for it. Give yourself express permission to check & update your social media at certain times of the day (e.g., morning commute, afternoon tea, etc) then you may feel less like checking in at other random times.

Get Off The Grid

– Nothing beats social media over reliance like getting off the grid. Last week I spent four days off the grid. Not internet and no mobile reception. Nothing beats the feeling you are spending too much time online quite like not being able to get online at all.

Responses
Paul Fox (Foxlore) 5 years ago

I think social media is much like other social activities (gaming, clubbing, eating, etc.) in that there is a focus on the ‘consumption’ aspect. Where are we spending (wasting?) our time? Where is our attention focused.

And a contrasting kind of binary to this is production. Whether in the office or working on our own projects, consumption of content can lead to a lack of productivity (i.e. production) with regards to our own work. In the past I have had periods where I was so wrapped up in consuming (podcasts, games, books, movies, etc.) that I had little time left for being creative (productive). Despite the tremendous amount of inspiration I would receive from those texts I would consume.

The irony is that creators want us to be good consumers. So to be a creator as well can be challenging amidst the sea of consumable things.

    Fernando Gros 5 years ago

    Paul – I agree. In fact this is helpful to me. I do see a lot of my interaction with social media as being about production. Of course, not all, but some.

Fred Thompson 5 years ago

It is easy to get so busy being inspired and interacting with our potential customers that we can forget to be productive. I find that it is easy for me to be so busy using social media to interact with people that I do not dedicate the time needed to create the content that answers their needs instead of mine.

Fred Thompson 5 years ago

One more thing I forgot to say. I really love the picture on this post. The transition from light to perceived darkness has always fascinated me.

Bo Tipton 5 years ago

I come from the land before Social Media and have seen the change of how we interact with people. In your blog you mention about interacting with a subject and finding the real person. I believe when we look someone in the eye we find the real person. That is something that cannot be done in Social Media.

As social media has become a part of our everyday life, more for some than others, it can be hard to separate from our real life, let´s call it that way. I like the interaction with some people you get to know throw the social networks but what is better when you get to know the person in real life, and you have more perception.

Like you mentioned, having a break for some days and be completely off-line is a good thing. That´s one reason I don´t bring my laptop though with my phone or tablet would be enough but I tend to use it just the basic. Take pics, keep moments but is not a must to share all of them. Just read some words from Eric Kim related some photo oppoturnities he didn´t have time to capture with his camera but how lucky to keep those memories in our mind, is more valuable for sure.

Good thoughts Fernando.

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