Before I even begin, I have a confession to make: I am part of the problem. Social media has admittedly become more media, and not so social. It is the fault of people like me who tell you to use this tool on this medium at these times for these people. I am not necessarily saying that what I’ve written and spoken a great deal about was all wrong, but I do feel guilty for the fact that I/we have not made enough effort to emphasize that the real purpose of social media is to connect with people. It is not to spread your message or to further your brand, but to connect with people. Real life human beings.
Now if you think I am one of those people who think that “technology has ruined one-on-one relationships”, then I’m not making myself clear. I love social media. I truly believe it is a revolutionary form of interaction that has personally allowed me to grow my business, as well as meet and/or keep in touch with people that I would have otherwise never met or have remained in contact with. I’m just saying that it is time for us to take a hard look at why we use these tools and if the way we are using them is serving that purpose.
Using myself as a real-life case study, here is what I am doing to bring life back to my social media ecosystem, one account at a time, starting with Facebook.
I just took a hacksaw to my Facebook friends.
It started a few months ago. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and realized that I had gone several pages down and had not seen a single update from a person that I actually, really knew. I never shared a meal with these people and I didn’t know who their spouse was or what they did for a living. At most, I may have rubbed shoulders with them walking to class.
I decided that enough was enough. Cutting my friend list down by about 50% changed my view of Facebook completely. Now, I actually care about what so and so ate for dinner last night because we recently talked about our mutual love of guacamole. I also was concerned for this guy when I learned that he was branching out to start his own IT business because we talked in college about how we both had entrepreneurial aspirations. I actually enjoy using Facebook again. Unsurprisingly, it has improved its value as a referral engine since I actually have conversations with my connections. I know what they’re doing and we know how we can help one another, too.
Next up, I’m going to tackle Twitter. I get a feeling that I will be leaning heavily on Lists to manage twitter better. Though I have routinely used Twitter Lists in the past (in fact, I’ve written a bit about it here before), I haven’t made any changes to my current lists since my epiphany, of sorts.
Check back next week for my second step to reinventing my social media life.
Wish me luck!