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How to Use Social Media Sanely
We””the bloggers, blog readers, twitterers, people who spend a lot of time on social media””are growing up.
Our relationship with social media is maturing. In the beginning, we just played around and drank it all up.
But more and more of us are finding we now need to consciously create our relationship to social media – to find boundaries and practices that make our engagement with social media work – not just for our businesses, but for our happiness and peace of mind.
This is my list of Social Media Commandments – the guidelines and intentions I’ve set around my use of social media. We each need a list like this. What’s on yours?
Don’t compare. Don’t compare your number of followers, likes, RT’s to others’. When you find yourself thinking comparing thoughts, close the computer, and refocus on your purpose””your big important work that is so much more important than all the ego stuff.
Be transparent and truthful in what you share. At the same time, be sensitive to the little voice inside that says, “Hmmm, no, that thought or experience doesn’t want to put out there for public consumption right now. Keep that one close.”
Take social media relationships offline when you have an authentic interest in doing so. Is there a person you’ve connected with on Twitter or Facebook whose work you really reasonate with? Ask if they’d be up for a Skype chat. Share a laugh with them.
Don’t tweet “me and these three bloggers are having so much fun together right now!” Really, who does that serve? Don’t write the kinds of tweets that might cause others to feel left out, the kind that have caused you to feel pangs of left-out-ness or not-good-enoughness when you’ve read them.
Don’t get lost in the machine. Set an intention. If that intention is “click around for the next 30 minutes and see what I discover,” fine – set a timer and enjoy. But try to avoid “surfing mindlessly” as Gwen Bell puts it.
When you do end up squandering time on social media, don’t make it worse with self-judgment. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, get curious: What happened today that caused that? Was I avoiding something? Did I not have enough contact with people in my day, and was trying to find connection on Twitter as a result? Am I feeling insecure and seeking validation? What might I do differently next time? Curiosity and compassion.
Keep the smart phone far from the bed. In the other room.
Remember that most of the people who really need your work are not hanging out in the oversaturated twitterverse, but in places where what you do isn’t common. Get out of the crowded room and go where there’s a dearth of and a thirst for what you do. Don’t try to shout over lots of shouting.
Watch out for social media “should” thoughts. They are just as pernicious as any other kind of “shoulds.” I should get on this network too. I should post more. I should find a way to get connected to so and so. Find practices that feel good, aligned with your style. You really can build your platform and your business in the unique way that works for you.
Enjoy the sweetness. For me, that’s the unexpected connections and the ability to extend love to people I’ll never meet. What’s the sweetness and joy in social media for you? Don’t forget to savor that.