Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Not surprisingly, this very adage is true of social media activity, whether you are an avid participator, eager onlooker, or a psychologically disturbed stalker.
Okay, maybe not that last bit (although you know you who are—yes, you Mr. and Ms. Stalker!)
In any event, it’s no secret that practicing moderation in virtually any endeavour yields optimal results. So lets apply this logic to social media sharing.
Here are five reminders that can diversify your day-to-day social media tendencies and help secure a useful and sustainable way to engage online:
- Be mindful of what you share
It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment and have the gushing urge to want to share every minute detail that seems so significant to you. But what may feel steeped in inspiration and promise for you at a given moment may be completely irrelevant (if not meaningless) to someone else. Before posting anything, ask yourself, “Is it necessary? Is it harming anyone? Will your life be less valuable if you kept it to yourself?”
- Be fastidious with whom you connect
I am a huge advocate of online networking: reaching out to total strangers with whom I instinctually have a natural affinity and collaborating with them on creative projects. So many new faces and perspectives can bring a kind of novel engagement and fresh sense of belonging typical of today’s burgeoning online communities. However, be very careful and selective. Filter through the overwhelming range of online identities and voices, and give yourself enough time to really get to know a virtual presence before committing to fully engage with them. You never know, Sassy Sally or Funny Freddy may randomly turn their true colours and end up draining instead of inspiring you.
- Avoid the ‘all eggs in one basket’ approach
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Foursquare, Path, Medium, Pinterest, Vine, Snapchat. The list just keeps getting longer. Inevitably, you’ll gravitate to using one or two of these on a regular basis. And while these social entities have their respective, unique ways of encouraging you to share content (for both professional and personal reasons), it is prudent and practical to apportion not only the types of content you share but also the frequency of your urges to share. Too often, I see follows becoming more and more predictable in what and how often they share online. Sadly, I am not entirely immune to this tendency either. In fact, this is why I want to articulate these thoughts in this post to also help myself reaffirm the value of these basic principles.
- Schedule regular breaks from sharing
Remember life before social media? Well, if you’ve forgotten, try digging up memories you’ve lived through prior to 2005. You’d be amazed how your ‘old school’ ways differ from how you create moments now in our intensely digital, mobile mode of existence. Before Twitter and Facebook, did we ever have daily urges to want to capture and collect moments aside from snapping photos from cameras, recording videos of weddings, graduations and the like? If you have to, use your smart device and schedule time to take a break from social media sharing. The digital world won’t go away. But your appreciation for the real world may well be compromised by getting too caught up solely in a virtual mode of existence.
- Control your inner narcissistic beast
It can be a tough call. And I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit to giving in to this confounded beast from time to time. For instance, this blog of mine is primarily focused on sharing content for professional purposes (i.e., marketing, communications, etc.). My earlier posts can certainly attest to this. But I’ve quickly realized that one’s own writing voice can be boring without giving the reader a hint of one’s own personal lexicon and perspective. Of course, it’d be entirely different if I were writing a highly technical piece. But even then, I tend to prefer employing a storytelling style with a healthy blend of (hopefully non-pejorative) philosophical musing, colloquialism and humour. This is part of my personal identity, which in turn defines the way I write. Consequently, it is only natural that I accept a degree of existential narcissism that influences how I formulate ideas and articulate them. Nevertheless, this gives me no excuse to keeping the narcissistic beast at bay. When in doubt, I always try to think of #1 to #4 above. After all, it would be pointless if I didn’t practice what I preach 😉
What about you? How do you diversify your online social engagement?