I think everyone is in agreement that social media clutter in the head is a real thing in our world today. By clutter, I mean those annoying “PiTING!” sounds from my tablet, cell phone and other devices from every email and social media account I have. It’s about getting stuck on Facebook reading and posting for hours. Have you ever been on Twitter for so long that you dearly wished something would kick you off? So you sleep with a laptop with the blue lights glaring right next to your bed? Then, you wonder why you can’t sleep. Hmmm …
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How It Began
About 10 years ago, I promoted a few of my former websites through LinkedIn, Pinterest, MySpace, FriendFeed, Plaxo, Tumblr, YouTube, Vimeo, and about a dozen Ning niche network sites. Whew! Can you spell burn out? After keeping that up for about four years I realized that I had to streamline.
“Every decision you make requires resources. Neurons are living cells with metabolisms. When they work, they need to replenish themselves with glucose, and that’s not in unlimited supply in the brain. So, whether you make a tiny decision or a big one, you’re using up those resources.”
— Daniel J. Levitin, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload
Given the usual reverse rubberband effect of too much followed by too little, I stopped for a time. Then, Facebook became my main stop with infrequent trips to LinkedIn. It’s as if Facebook became my comfort zone in which I could escape from all the rest.
However, I’m happy to say that for the last several months I am purposely more mindful about how I spend my time. Once I took a good look at how I spend my time, I saw the value in some of the venues I left behind. I now spend time on the social networks that are the most responsive to my needs. I find that it streamlines my process and lessens the buzz of clutter.
It’s How You Use It That Counts
The really wonderful part about social media is that I’ve connected with long-lost cousins, old friends, and made new friends all over the world. And, for that, I am eternally grateful. But the rest needs a business plan and a budget to succeed.
The last thing my mom said to me before she passed was, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Funny thing to say to a daughter as a parting message? Not if you knew her. I was about to get all her “things” that she had collected and kept in pristine condition since she was a child in the depression. She was very concerned about her “things”. God bless her spirit.
My point is, the use of social media deserves a well-thought-out plan of action. Each social venue has its value and it’s up to the member to decide what they need for their business and to use the appropriate social media platform for that purpose.
Turn Off the Blue Lights!
Blue lights are emitted from our cell phones, laptops, radio dials, and more in our modern world. Do you know that some truckers use blue lights to stay awake on their long hauls? The issue is that blue light interferes with the production of melatonin in our bodies. We need melatonin to induce sleep.
I routinely turn off my printer, screens, laptop, and tablets before I go to bed. I recommend that you turn off all devices about an hour before bedtime to allow your body to produce the melatonin it needs to sleep. A good night’s sleep will calm the clutter in your head nicely but little or no sleep makes it much worse.
Don’t Let Them Tug Your Heartstrings
Emotions of every kind run rampant on social media. Good marketers know that emotions are a very effective tactic. But, to be continually barraged with tear-jerker posts confuses your own emotions and contributes to the clutter. I find that the best and most enduring posts are those that state their message simply and carry a quiet impact.
I am so weary of ads and images that are purposefully designed to tug at our heartstrings. I’m fairly ‘socialwise’ and have developed a thick skin compared to when I first got on social media. However, I still have to be mindful about the amount of time I spend simply looking through the feeds because it’s emotionally draining and counter-productive.
Meditate Daily to Dissolve Clutter
When you meditate, clutter naturally dissolves and flows away. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to take time in the morning and again in the late afternoon for 20 – 30 minutes of quiet meditation. Until the world stops and there are no more stressors to be found, we need to meditate.
Sometimes my head is buzzing so much that I can’t relax enough to meditate. When that happens I do deep breathing (in through the nose, out through the mouth) and stretching. That usually helps enough to relax enough to enter into meditation with good results. Though sometimes, it’s impossible so then I try to think “above the clutter.”
“… It’s tempting to think that, in order to meditate, you need to clear the clutter away. There’s logic to that, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work. At best it creates a temporary vacuum that quickly gets filled with pretty much the same clutter. Instead, you need to bring into your meditation efforts something more attractive than the clutter, something that can lift you above the level of clutter. Make God that “something.” Meditate with God as your partner. Ask Him/Her to guide you, to show you how to reach for a higher octave of your own being. Cultivate your devotion to God, because that will lift you above the clutter, into the light.
Next, let’s examine a daunting yet motivating stressor of our social media times which is the ‘influencers.’ I’m impressed when people put their heart, soul, and hard earned money into building their presence on social media. It’s not easy. When someone reaches the status of ‘influencer’, they have my respect. But, anytime we compare ourselves to someone else, we put ourselves in a poor state of mind. So, let’s see if I can put this into perspective.
First of all, there’s a lot of people out there who buy their followers and appear to be influencers when what they are is ingenuine. Then, there are those public celebrities who post and have huge followings but they follow no one.
For the ordinary Joe, however, it takes a long time to build those followers. I’ve noticed on Twitter that some people or businesses never follow back so I unfollow them. I don’t need them for my business. So I don’t have time to play the game “you follow me but I’ll never follow you because I am very important and you’re not.” Ouch! Why would I let someone disparage me like that?
Ok. But, What About Social Proof?
So, that’s a tough topic because we need ‘social proof’ that we are viable members in order to successfully promote real statistics, products, philosophies, or whatever. Numbers are important on social media. They’re a ‘first impression.’ It’s a simple fact that people are drawn towards the most numbers. Rest assured, however, those who purchase followers will soon be disappointed. Social media technology is catching up with this little trick and putting the kibosh on it.
If you’d like to get a brief outline on how to drive more social proof than the number of followers, take a look at this excellent slideshow from Mark Schaefer. Additionally, you might want to check out his new book, The Content Code: Six essential strategies to ignite your content, your marketing, and your business (Paperback)