"Let life enchant you again." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Creativity
November 29, 2011

The Social Media Diet

Time to lay out some plans for social media in 2012.

I was humbled, encouraged and moved by the response to my plans for 2012. In case you missed it, here’s the heart of the scheme,

“No new projects, no new clients, no sales pitches, no networking, no marketing, no branding, no seeking influence, no driving online traffic, no conferences, no workshops, no more business/industry/creativity books and blogs and no new online or social media services/platforms/add-ons.”

Key to this plan is managing the torrent of information that runs through social media. Remember, I don’t plan to go offline entirely. But, there are so many platforms, sites, apps and add-ons out there right now. So, I’ve proposed something of a diet, or controlled regime for social media use in 2012.

No new services/platforms/add-ons

The first big rule I’m imposing on myself is no new platforms or services for 2012. It doesn’t matter if someone launches the Facebook-killer or the next LinkedIn, I won’t be joining, at least not until January 1, 2013.

Downloading new apps, authorising connections, setting up accounts, installing updates, figuring out how things work, deciding if the service is worth the effort. Thank you, I’ll take all that time back for one year please.

No seeking influence. No driving online traffic

I deleted my Klout account earlier this month and will not use any platform that seeks to measure influence or status online in that kind of abstract quantitative way. I believe these kinds rankings are just a ruse, an excuse to collect vast amounts of data and sell it to advertisers.

No more business/industry/creativity books and blogs

I’m going to bookmark all the marketing and business oriented blogs I normally read and cut my RSS subscriptions to them for a year. This will dramatically reduce how many blogs I look at each week (and give me more time back). But, more importantly, it will cut the range of ideas coming into my head about how to run my business.

The Platforms And Activity

In 2012 I’m going to limit my social media activity to the following seven platforms. This is it,

Blogging – I will continue to blog here. Moreover, I have two advanced projects that may (or may not) launch in 2012. If they do, they spawn their own small blogs.

Twitter – This remains my preferred micro-blogging platform and for 2012, it will be the only one I use. I have already stopped looking for “content” to post on Twitter. There’s too much automated clutter on there already. My feed will continue to be very much focussed on everyday observations and experiences.

Instagram – The social media platform I’ve most enjoyed using in 2011. I’ll continue to with it. In fact, it’s become something of a test bed for new photographic ideas.

500px – The best iteration of a nice idea; the social sharing of high quality photos. I’ll continue to post 2-3 images a month to 500px for the time being. But, don’t be surprised if I give up entirely on social photo galleries as a category [ed – something I did later in 2012]. Something doesn’t feel right here.

Soundcloud I haven’t used Soundcloud much in 2011. But, I still think it’s the best social music platform out there.

YouTube & Vimeo These have replaced cable TV for me (via Apple TV). I never post or read comments on either site, however, so they are more like channels than social media platforms (for me).

In The Attic

My accounts for the following are going in the virtual attic for 2012; LinkedIn, Google+, BandCamp, Flickr, Pinterest, SoundTracking, Ping, TopSpin, CDbaby, Indaba Music, BerkleeMusic Network, Behance, About.me, Daytum. I won’t be deleting those accounts, but I won’t be using them or checking them either.

Some of those services, like the DIY music distribution tools, are really useful – just not that useful to me right now. Others, like Flickr & Google+, well, I’m not sure they have much of a future (at least not for me).

That’s it. If it’s not in one of those two groups I’ve ditched it – for good.

The Three Risks

The way I see it, there three potential risks to this strategy. I call these three risks, the FaceBook risk, the MySpace risk and the LinkedIn risk.

The Facebook Risk – If the next killer social media innovation launches in 2012, then I’ll be late to the party, just like everyone who rubbished Facebook, only to join years later. But, the odds are quite low that being late to any great new social media party will really matter that much. Besides, I was one of the early ones to join Facebook – and I deleted my account in early 2009!

The MySpace Risk – By committing to fewer (and more mainstream) social media platforms I could be tying myself to a sinking ship. I think blogging and YouTube will still be with us in five years, but the others – who knows. However, it’s unlikely any of them will tank completely before the end of 2012, when I’ll revise this whole approach and change direction, again.

The LinkedIn Risk – We are tending to make very fast decisions about people’s skills and career potential, based on how they use social media. By looking less “cool & hip” I risk being seen as behind the game. However, I’m not getting any younger, which is a way of saying the cool & hip thing is largely out of my hands anyway. Right now I’d rather be more productive than more cool & hip anyway.

Final Thoughts

I’m not trying to turn my back on social media; I just want to find a balance. I love the encouragement, support and fun. But, I also know that much of what I want in life is not compatible with attention-interrupting intrusions.

I want to be able to measure days and weeks where I not only don’t use social media, but I don’t even use email, or a phone. I need to be offline more often if I’m to stand any chance of being interesting enough to be worth noticing when I am online.

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