It all started with this article and a challenge from Patrick and so I decided to go 30 days without social media, or more accurately, only 5 minutes per day. Eeek!
But I love social media… I protested to myself. It’s lovely. Connecting and supporting and caring about people who need help, that’s what I do! But I could see the point. I get to do more in depth and actual support by writing, building new content and serving clients.
So June 20th the smackdown on social media began.
I knew that it would not be easy and this is a long post to give you my tactics, my challenges and the tools I used to change my habits over 30 days.
First was installing a Chrome Plugin called StayFocused. Of course it was a little silly because I was in Firefox most of the day, every day, so that wouldn’t help me. So I decided it was time to migrate to Chrome where I had no bookmarks, no autocompletes so when I type www.f it wouldn’t show up facebook.com and where I could reorganize and create my bookmarking system.
It was a great plan but since I’m such a creature of habit that I kept using Firefox because that’s where my passwords are stored and where I don’t have to remember the exact URL for everything. Consider this a work in progress.
The next challenge was the business. I teach my clients that they need to show signs of life and care and be active on social media! Frequently! Because engagement is essential and you can’t disappear, unless you’re the CEO of Twitpic. So it was back to the drawing board for automation tools.
First, Twitter. I already use Hootsuite but I began to use it more often and refocus on what is really important to be posting. My posting has definitely been sporadic this last month but I’ve made up that time with an absurd amount of content creation for an upcoming launch!
Second, Facebook. If you’re on the Facebook page for She’s Got Systems you know I regularly post quick systems tips. Now I’ve always written these a few days or weeks in advance but now I had to get serious. So I completed the tips for the rest of June and July and I scheduled them.
Say again? Yes, you can do that now and it’s pretty simple!
But there are other things I like about Facebook so the StayFocused option gives me 5 minutes per day. Often times I would read and read and then get distracted and have nothing to share. So instead of posting for the sake of posting, I decided to think about what happened in my day that was truly important.
Who really cares that your cousin’s nieces’ baby spit up yogurt? You ate a sandwich. It’s raining. Instead I decided to refocus on the extraordinary events, sharing inspiration and being grateful.
Because I’m a member of several groups on Facebook I decided to spend my 5 minutes scanning, commenting and connecting off the facebook platform with colleagues who wanted to chat. For many months I’d been frustrated with the message feature in Facebook because I would forget I’d seen a message and no follow up would occur. Now I have settings so that only direct messages to me alone would push to my private email account.
Why? Again, it all comes down to why. In the original post Steven gave great reasons like to run every day, meditate more, write a book. You know, noble reasons.
My first reason was something pointed out to me by Patrick. Whenever something goes wrong (tech won’t work, get a difficult email, tired and don’t want to write) my first response is usually Facebook. It’s like a little drug that temporarily distracts me from my problems.
Now, I like to marinate on ideas sometimes and I get great copy when I drive (probably because I can’t physically write and steer at the same time). So instead of wasting time on Facebook until I get inspired to respond to a difficult email I decided to leash up my dog and go around the block or head to the gym and swim.
The second reason is the most obvious: time. Instead of feeling behind because I didn’t see all those status updates I am being intentional about the media I consume. A few years back thanks to another challenge with Patrick, I stopped watching the nightly news, reading it online and paying attention. While that may make me a bad citizen it does make me more focused, calm, and significantly less stressed. Now at the end of this 30 day challenge I can say that most of the days I failed miserably. I was on much more than 5 minutes a day and well, it was just too easy to cheat using my iPad or smartphone!
However I did learn some important lessons in my 30 days of low social media:
1) Intentional action is key to making progress. It’s not about being perfect but getting better!
2) Some opportunities are worth it. Namely the biggest interview given to date which was announced on Facebook that I would have otherwise missed.
3) Big milestones deserve some social media love like this month when my first fiction book proof arrived and I saw a lot of comments that were encouraging to read!