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.