How do you tame the Social Media Monster?

Are you, like me, sometimes overwhelmed by the proliferation of social media and the expectation that we ALL participate — in everything?

The arguments are persuasive:

  • Writers need a platform, a following, to show agents they’re able to promote their manuscript
  • Businesses need to connect with potential buyers and generate “buzz” about their services or products
  • Nobody in the entire world can possibly connect with as many people in real life as is possible online

But all that connecting can be exhausting, especially for writers (who tend to be introverts anyway and often find it easier to hole up and just write).

And perhaps it’s lots worse on those writers who, like me, can’t write full time right now because they must work at a paying job. Or those with small children. Or aging parents. Or…whatever.

We can all find excuses for NOT connecting online. Yet the reality is, there are only 24 hours in a day and, if you listen to the “experts,” we need to be sleeping 8 of them. That leaves 16 hours. For those who work, subtract 8 more (or 10 if you have a long commute), bringing your total “free” time to 6 hours.

Six hours to do basic personal maintenance (like bathing), run errands (banking, grocery shopping), taxi the kids to and from lessons and sleepovers, kiss the spouse, walk the dog, cook meals, and clean the house.

That doesn’t include time for yourself — to read, soak in a spa, exercise, paint, take up piano, or write.

What’s the answer?

If you look at the history of social media, you’ll find that blogging started in 1997. Facebook debuted in February, 2004, Twitter in March, 2006, and Google Plus in June, 2011. More than 845 million people are on Facebook and at Twitter’s five-year mark, some 350 billion “tweets” are delivered each day. In addition, countless webinars are now available, on everything from how to make your small business successful to how to plot that story lurking in your head.

No wonder we feel deluged!

Some people address this problem by periodically scheduling a vacation from online activities. They fold up the laptop, turn off the i-pad and phone, and unplug from the busyness.

That’s a good idea. We all need to recharge occasionally.

Other people set a timer. When their hour (or however much time they’ve allotted) is up, that’s it. No looking back. No cheating.

Do our online friends miss us when we don’t show up? I’d like to think so because I miss them when they’re absent for a time. But, if we announce that we’re taking a sabbatical, at least we’re letting everyone know we’ll be out of touch.

My suggestion (and it’s more a “Memo” to me rather than something you need!): Remember why you started down the social media path in the first place. Enjoy your time connecting. But don’t feel you have to be connected 24/7!

How have you tamed the social media monster??