Social Media Stress

I’ve had this post ready to go in various iterations over the last year or so, never really ready to post it, and continuously changing it. This is mostly due to the ongoing changes I’ve seen in social media – and more specifically how they relate to me. But a trend I have started seeing become more ‘popular’ made me decide to finally post about this – the cool thing is to actually leave social networking!

A lot of the various social media blogs (and even those that aren’t, because anything talking about this topic is link bait and easy ad revenue) have started writing numerous posts on how to delete your accounts, how relaxing it can be to not want to check Twitter obsessively. But I bet you – over half of those users ended up coming back to various social media sites, probably because they couldn’t actually kick the habit. But if you have gotten this far – I really feel like you are looking at this all wrong.

One (almost laughable) issue I have personally seen is various friends of mine on Facebook actually complaining about information overload, and trimming their friends, somewhat making them seem some elitist because ‘they have too many friendships or to popular’. And these aren’t people ‘into social media’ – they are the ‘OMG I can play with my virtual farm and ‘like’ Adam Lambert on here!’ type of users. I mostly find this funny – because those people really are doing nothing more than trying to inflate their ego, probably because they have nothing better to do. Doing this – trimming your connections on a social network, or heck, even in real life – is normal, and one thing that makes these sites dynamic and interesting to me. No one is telling you who you have to be friends with. But ‘bragging’ about it really is just being egotistical.

Which gets me back to my point – if you are having to think about this (or having to ‘brag’ about it) – you honestly are doing it wrong. We should be embracing the connectivity to other people, not annoying ourselves that we probably wouldn’t relate to outside of social media.

TechCrunch (who I really can’t stand) actually posted a great post about this today, saying “If you have social media fatigue, you’re doing it wrong“. I have felt this way for a while (not fatigued, but the gist of the actual post – it shouldn’t matter). If im tired of listening to someone complain or talk themselves up continuously, its pretty easy to rid my life of it. I shouldn’t be reading my twitter feed and keep on saying ‘man, this person is annoying’. I shouldn’t care about their feelings – for two reasons: 1) Theres a pretty huge chance they don’t care about mine, and 2) if they really get upset because someone stopped following them, they honestly need to get a life.

I have had very similar experiences to what is mentioned in this post – just general communication that either helped me or someone I know:

  • Impromptu meetings to get to know someone new (be it at a concert, outing, etc). If I am at something with others, we probably share similar interests
  • Met new clients to do some side work for, helping both me and them
  • Answering a programing, computer, local area, or automobile related question someone I follow has
  • Learned a new method (be it in programing, photography, or anything) that someone I followed shared a link to.
  • Met awesome people who I may not have met otherwise

I know writing this post is actually almost calling myself out on the topic I actually am speaking on – and I’m not trying to do that. I could easily tell you how I cut about 1/3 of the people I follow on twitter and started removing some people from Facebook. But this cleanup isn’t even social media related – I have been deleting tons of music and photos I have built up over the years – to make things easier. I removed about half of my RSS feeds (which I will write about soon) to stop wasting my time reading the same old thing. We generate so much media today that it’s nearly impossible to comprehend it all, and most of it I am sure is not needed.

I use all these technologies – Social Media, RSS, Blogs, etc – to learn and share. Outside of that – social media gives us the benefit of meeting new people and even connecting differently to people we know. But if it’s getting you down – you really need to first decide what you planned on getting out of it – before removing yourself completely and blaming others for it.

Remember – when you are consuming media (be it articles, blogs, or even less than 140 character blurbs on Twitter) – you are the one that put yourself in that place.