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Social Media Burn Out and Why You Shouldn’t Try to Do it All



Sometimes I feel like one of those kitchen gadgets they sell on late night TV. It slices, it dices, it makes perfect julienne fries, diapers the baby and writes your blog for you while you sleep. The irony is, that the computer age was supposed to help us get things done faster so we could have more leisure time, but in reality, it’s given us even more to do.

Yesterday, Zen Habits delivered a refreshing post on living the minimalist lifestyle. Avoiding “Groundhog Day” syndrome and 4 hours a day to contemplate my navel while at the beach sounds nice, but truthfully, I’m not ready to give up my TV or my internet.

Where’s the middle ground? I found that in, of all place, The New York Times. In an article about digital fatigue, the author profiles several people who have taken the bold step of narrowing their social media reach. For one woman, it meant focusing only on Twitter at the expense of Facebook and LinkedIn. For others, it means using tools to pre-load social media messages one day a week. Then forcefully blocking those sites the other six days.

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Though tough to do, the people in the article say they’ve benefited from social media detox. They reference the joy of “checking in” with themselves while standing in line at the bank instead of with the world. Another speaks of sharing lunch with a friend instead of sharing his lunch with friends through Foursquare.

I’m not saying you can’t do it all. I suppose you could if you have enough money, help and the proper tools. What I’m saying is, you shouldn’t try to do it all. It’s not worth it. That one extra click you get from posting a midnight message to Facebook isn’t going to make or break you. What will break you is the avalanche in your head when you realize you’ve made public mistakes in the rush to post everything everywhere.

Figure out which two social media sites work best for your company. Let the others go for a month and if you don’t see any noticeable change in your bottom line, cut the cord permanently. For those who use social media both personally and professionally, this can be a challenge. Believe me, I’m right there with you but I hear you’ll feel better when the detox is done. That’s what I hear, I’m still working on taking my own advice.

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  • http://www.sociablepractices.com David Lawyer

    Wow! This is crazy talk Cynthia! I think I’d take up drinking like a fish if I gave up and forsake my social networking interactions for more than a week, let along a month!! :)

    All kidding aside, it would be an interesting experiment (not that I’m willing to even try it), however because of the amount of time it takes to truly make an efforts through social media worthwhile, I’d be hesitant, if I were a business with a full blown social media strategy in place and running, no matter how stressful it is, to put a portion of it aside so I can get some piece of mind. But hey, who knows. I’d like to hear from others who have indeed tried something like this.

    • Cynthia Boris

      From the comments, I think I didn’t make the point I was trying to make. Which is how many companies still keep up a MySpace page? (I know of several off the top of my head.) Is it worth the time or could you put that effort into Facebook or Twitter. Now there’s Google Plus, should you add another half hour to your day by promoting over there as well?

      What I’m saying is, there’s no benefit in jumping on every social media avenue. If you run a small cafe, spending your precious dollars to create a Foursquare promo might be better than an ad on Facebook. I’m not saying drop something that’s working. I’m saying forget the scattershot approach and put your time to good use.

    • GiantWashingMachine

      David, I agree with Cynthia, you shouldn’t necessarily try and do it all. You could have 100 hours in a day and you wouldn’t be able to keep up with everything going on all of the major social networks, let alone all of the smaller niche ones as well. If you’re doing social media for business purposes, there are ways to reduce the amount of time you spend on it. You can hire employees to do that or just outsource some of your promotional time to any of the numerous companies listed at http://www.buyfacebookfansreviews.com for example. I spend a lot of time online everyday but I realize that I can’t possibly see everything and do everything. There are better ways for people to spend their time and while social media is important, spending time with your family, reading, developing your business products, and other things you can be doing throughout your day can be much more uplifting than spending all day on Twitter.

  • http://www.englishleap.com/ Amit

    Social media seems like a big bubble right now. Finally it is the product that counts and not the PR or media around it. That said, thanks for the insightful article.

  • http://www.skeletonproductions.com Andy

    Social media is just as much of a headache as overall SEO is. This post is right on the money, you really need to pick your battles. There are a lot of social media sites all with different audiences, which you need to cater for. All social media sites have different benefits, but they mostly just allow you to create trust with potential clients and make your business recognizable online. If you’re using social media as part of your online marketing and branching into other online marketing areas this post here is worth checking out – http://bit.ly/nAR4cA

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/social-seo-solutions Nick Stamoulis

    You have to be active in social media as it makes sense for your business. Maybe you don’t need to be on every social network out there; it’s just overkill. “Doing it all” sounds great, but there comes a point where you’re just spinning your wheels and not actually accomplishing anything.

  • http://www.orbitalalliance.com Simon Yohe

    If Google+ can take off, it can truly be the one-place stop for all your social needs… but that is a big “if” in regards to acceptance…

    We’re getting to that point where there is too much noise in the system…. people expanded and grew their friends/followers/connections/etc and were not picky in regards to who they signed up, because they were attracted to expanding their overall numbers…. now, people are starting to realize that what they thought was fun and exciting has simply become a chore/work.

  • http://www.basati.com Think Business.. Think BASATI

    Great article Cynthia! I think Google Plus would be a more great help aside from Facebook for business owners. Lots of improvement are being fix and they are on the process of making it more useful for business.

  • http://blog.us.cision.com Ryo Yamaguchi

    Cynthia, great post all the way around, and great links here, but I really like your last paragraph. Just focus on two. I think that’s a great way to control things. There is so much anxiety with things like G+ on the scene that I definitely think it’s time to take this specific kind of breath.

    • http://www.pamscom.co.uk classified

      I am looking forward to G+, facebook is like a childs toy imo.

      Good article thanks.

  • http://www.andemarketing.com/ web design

    Social Media is here to stay, and is only going to develop further, so you might as well get on board. We’re in the 21st century here, people! It’s no longer purely a social network for sharing how bored you are at work or the latest picture of a friend’s bonny baby, it’s an essential platform for marketing and business today. You can reach further, increase visibility, strengthen reputation and show you can move with the times. Throw away those argyle socks and get yourself an iPad.