Over in my Social Media for Critter Bloggers Facebook Group, this week, we have been discussing how we feel about various aspects of social media interaction.
My co-moderator, Amanda Socci, asked a couple of questions, and I want to share my answers (expanded a bit, here, after some more thinking), and encourage you to share your own thoughts in the comments:
QUESTION: Does social media ever feel like a chore?
“Social media is all about connecting with people through technology. It is intended to be a fun experience, and in some cases, a work experience. If it ever feels like a chore to you, that is a good time to stop social media altogether.”
Years ago, when I was under the impression I HAD to check in with all my favorite politics, cycling, and news blogs, it did, in a way become a tiresome chore. Admit it, you probably have, or used to have, at least a dozen blogs and news sites that are, or were, must read every day.
I finally accepted that I just couldn’t keep up, and still do my own writing, or get out of the house on days off.
I want to have the time to go for a walk, or bike ride, attend an event, participate in open mics and any number of other things that might inspire me to more creativity, while not breaking my bank account, but I can’t if I am glued to my computer, or even the TV.
On Thursday, for example, I went on my first long bike ride in Houston and came home with a $60 something that is a priceless addition to my creative branding related to my cat blogging.
If I had stayed home all day I would also have missed an opportunity for note and picture taking that I will turn into a series of posts on my own blog, making a connection with some recent Houston Chronicle articles I’ve been meaning to comment on.
Learning how best to keep up with things related to writing, and related to my particular blog niche, makes things manageable and enjoyable. Understanding how best to used social media tools makes the social media experience understandable, useful, and fun to be a part of.
QUESTION: Staying on top of it all”
Are your social media decisions influenced by your own perspective on not being able to “stay on top of it all?” What exactly is meant by “not being able to stay on top of it all?” Everyone has a different perspective on this issue. What’s yours?
I can’t keep up with everything I’d like to and have learned to accept that checking in when I can is the best way to go. I am learning to use things like FB, Twitter, and G+ and doing so in such a way that I don’t feel like I am spending too much time doing it, yet still finding ways to get something from participating.
Amanda expressed a bit of puzzlement: “It is so strange to read that people feel that they can’t keep up with everything. Social media is not an obligation, folks! It is meant to be a tool for pleasure, to connect with others through technology!”
My response was that maybe people tend to forget that, getting caught up in the “checking off the list” mentality.
Am I suggesting, as Amanda asked, “that people are saying to themselves they have to stay on top of social media because they impose that obligation on themselves as something to check off their list?”
Way back, when I was a wet behind the ears newbie to blogging I had maybe 20 favorites that I visited every day, religiously. It was one of those things I did every day, as regular as eating. I felt like I was somehow out of the news loop if I didn’t. This was before I began to use things like Facebook. I think that some users of social media tools DO treat their use of such tools as something they MUST do, instead of something that they can usefully, creatively, enjoy doing for their benefit. If you don’t know how to use a social media tool very well, but still think you have to use it, a lot of the joy and usefulness can be lost.
What are your thoughts on all this?