To (f)b or not to (f)b, that’s the question

I have been on a couple of one-month social media vacations* over the past year, to increasingly realize the futility of being plugged into social networks (SN/SM) all the time! SM is useful, no doubt – but I ended up using it for a lot of bad reasons. So here they go:

5 crappy reasons to log on to fb/twitter:

  1. I don’t remember B’days:
    If birthdays are why you get on fb, then “Fb-Google Calendar Birthday sync” link was built for you – it cuts the crap, saves time. Plus, a birthday e-mail/phone call/SMS is far more personalized and effective than a wall post lost in a sea of thousand others!
  2. Nothing better to do:
    NOT POSSIBLE! If you actually think there is nothing better to do, then you need to meditate, do some soul searching and find something to do!
    A few ideas:
    exercise (Ahaa!);
    read/reread the other posts on my blog 🙂 ;
    go to wordpress’ freshly pressed section and read a good article;
    cook/swim/play/paint – get a hobby!;
    clean-up/organise your Hard-drive! (<< this one never fails to keep you occupied)
  3. I want to be connected socially:
    Social interactions involve more than just “liking” or “commenting” on posts…try calling/meeting/IM-ing people once in a while!

    Busy being social eh?

  4. “I am bored at work, I’ll just update my fb/twitter status!”:
    Big Mistake! Studies reveal that a single twitter post can distract you to cost around 10 minutes of your productive time!.. More importantly, friends, family and even colleagues might be following your twitter stream – imagine the impression you create when you are found tweeting during work hours!
    (I have been guilty of indulging in social media at office when I didn’t have work – but I have now restricted it to my lunch/tea-break/EOD times)
  5. Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)**:
    FOMO on important information, the latest happenings, current affairs, things about my friends lives… This fear though rational, is unsubstantiated!
    a.  I end up wasting more time going through useless posts and crappy memes with just an occasional good post! I’d rather follow a few good blogs/magazines/twitter accounts and that would provide me with all the dope!
    b.  After these SM breaks, I realize that even without fb/twitter there wasn’t even a single important event in my friend’s lives that I missed – of course, I called/IM-ed my friends more often – and the thought it, if the news and your friend are THAT important, you’ll find out one way or the other!
    c.  I started reading the newspaper more regularly – very important!

That being said, there are some really good uses of SN:

  1. Share photos/videos:
    Not just share, preserve/back-up these memories. This is also one thing you can do more effectively through SNs than, say, over the phone
  2.  To read good posts:
    I follow some people on twitter exclusively for the links they find and post. Even some fb friends have the knack of finding amazing posts and sharing them! I go to their profiles regularly to read them
  3. To share good posts:
    Follows from point 2
    You read -> you like it -> you share – circle complete!
  4. For being heard/to find like-minded people/to start a movement:
    I don’t need to speak about the effectiveness of SNs when you are looking to spread a message among a targeted population. I once started a page on Maharashtra Tourism as part of a competition (along with Prachur Goel) and the page still receives a lot of traffic (and “like”s) – the point is, if you have an effective message, PEOPLE will find YOU!
    In addition, this can be a brilliant place to publicise your blog! (on that note, please share/like this post on fb/twitter, will you?)

Now I am going to use these insights to make my social media activity more effective. Hope this was useful to you too!

* Social Media Vacations: spending a month without logging on to fb/twitter. Reading other people’s profiles/watching their photos/videos on fb/twitter are included. Blogging/LinkedIn/YouTube/GTalk do not count.
Again, it follows that I talked/IM-ed with my friends (more) often during this period – this was not a break from society, just from the online social web

** FOMO: I read about this term in the book “Ahead of the curve – 2 years at Harvard Business School” by Philip Delves Broughton – highly recommended!

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