Posted in: Opinion

Avoiding social media burnout

17th March 2010

Avoiding social media burnout

Avoiding social media burnout

I’m an average kinda guy. I have social network profiles on Twitter x two, Facebook, LinkedIn (Including four groups), Flickr, Slideshare and Friends Reunited. I have my own blog and contribute to a company blog. I Subscribe to, and read regularly, eighteen blogs through my reader. Thats a total of 31 connections with different social networks and contacts.

We have on average (Dunbar Number) 150 social connections, so for me that represents 4650 potential social connections. There isn’t time to manage all these social connections effectively, we’d be mad to try but some people do and I’m seeing more people dump their profiles all together as they’ve hit social media burnout.

Social connections are important and valuable both to the individual and the communities they are part of. This has been well documented over the last two years and I won’t go over well trodden ground but I am concerned that people have begun to question the benefit of their social connections. This is on the back of feeling their commitment to keeping their social connections open has begun to affect their work and home life. There are lessons we can all learn to ensure we don’t find ourselves in a similar situation.

Chose to lose some social network platforms.

Dumping the social networks that you joined in a rush of enthusiasm but aren’t actually value social networks will free up your time to focus on the connections that really benefit each other. By value social networks I mean those social network that don’t feed you personally in terms of knowledge, learning and connections or you don’t feel contribute to the growth of the community.

Remove overlapping contacts.

If we stick to the principle of one person equals one connection, how many duplicate connections do you have with a person across your social networks? It’s easy to accept a friend and a follower, without giving it a second thought when we connect with them on other networks already. Consider how many people use Twitter to feed their Facebook profile or vice versa? If you follow people on both networks you’ll expose yourself to the same content twice.

Recognise what is social media noise and and then ignore it.

Remember when you were a kid traveling on holiday with your parents. You’d sit in the back of the car watching the cars coming in the other direction. Then you simply started to not see them. They were there, but you didn’t register them any more as they’d become part of the background noise.

Social network noise is the same. We waste a huge amount of time reading stuff that neither requires our input or really warrants it. I skim read quite a lot of content taking time over a few posts, comments and messages. If I can’t answer quickly, I’ll go back to it later in the evening if I have time. Important note here, no one will suffer if you don’t respond or comment. The world and your life continues regardless.

Time to read, time to respond, time to leave it be.

Be regimented about when you log onto your social networks. During work time (Unless your business is online and driven by social networks) focus on work. Keep lunchtime for re-charging the batteries, read comments, posts and messages during your lunch break but leave answering them until later in the evening after you’ve spent time with your family, done chores and have an hour or two spare.

I tend to leave Twitter and Facebook until evening and sometime don’t look at them at all if I don’t have time. If you refresh Twitter and Facebook on your smart phone, laptop etc. every couple of minutes, you’re spending too much time on your social networks and it will impact on your home life. How many of you have heard “Do I have to post a message to your Facebook to get your attention?” Be conscious of the amount of time spent online.

It’s all in the mind.

Ever spent hours and hours thinking about what someone has written on their Facebook or Twitter profile, trying to decipher if a message has more then one meaning or if it is meant for you or not? I have.

A hard lesson, but a useful one is to never take a post personally, it’s not worth giving it mind space. Some people write deliberately cryptic messages designed to attract attention and comments. It’s about control and you could be surrendering your control if your respond to them. Take control back and remember, maybe not everyone you know on your social networks are a real friend.

Do you really need to join?

I get lots of invites from friends and contacts to join them on new social network platforms something which is only going to increase over time. Most of these are automated features of new platforms designed to grow participation quickly.

Ask yourself:

Do you really need to be on this social network platform?
Does it provide the same features and benefits as other networks you’re on?
Are the same people on that platform as are on your existing social networks?
Can you contribute your knowledge and expertise to that network, is it of value?
Can that network provide learning and useful contacts for you?

It’s import that you value the social interactions you have and feel your contribution to them adds value to that community and in doing so you gain learning from them. If you feel burdened by your social media connections I hope these ideas will help you maintain your interest without sacrificing your work or home life.

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