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Social media fatigue and what to do about it

Photo courtesy of JunCTionS via Flickr

Being the Social Media Community Manager, I’m on social all day…literally. I get to the office around 7:45am and leave between 4:45 and 5pm. I really don’t give myself a lunch, unless my co-workers force me out of my cubicle, because I’m afraid I’m going to miss some huge crisis or breaking news. I know it’ll be fine without me, but it’s hard to pull away. It’s natural to be fatigued from time to time. I had blogger’s block the other week, and after taking a break, came up with a post that has been re-tweeted 101 times so far! (I know, I’m a festival of awesome!)

So how do you prevent the fatigue that comes with trying to be plugged in 24/7?  This is what I’ve learned so far…

Limit your friends/who you’re following

  • Smaller niche groups of people that you have close interests to will help you be more inclined to stay connected. When you’re friends with and/or following hundreds or maybe even thousands of people on Facebook and Twitter, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by your news feed. You want to read everything, but who has the time for that?
  • If you’re a community manager it’s tough to limit your friends and who you’re following, so utilize Twitter and Facebook lists. Start categorizing the people you follow. If you’re best friends are on Twitter, place them in a BFF list. In the mood for some news? Make a list of the accounts you get your news from. Follow a bunch of people you’re influenced by or follow a lot of celebrities? Make lists for them too. Making lists will help you get the information you want and avoid all the “noise.”
  • On your Facebook feed, switch your default setting to “Top News” instead of “Recent News.” Facebook’s Top News algorithm feeds you the most popular content that you want to be reading. It may not always be accurate, but it’s not too far off for me at least. And you can toggle between the two options.

Figure out your target market and find your passions

  • What does your target market want to talk about and where are they asking those questions? You don’t have to be on everything, so choose platforms and tools that benefit who you are (as a brand or as a person) and who you connect with.
  • Identify your passions and find a network that allows you to highlight that. Are you into photography? Try Instagram (which I highly recommend even though I’m not a photo fanatic!) Are you a foodie? Try Foodspotting. Do you enjoy music? Try Spotify. Don’t sign up for the latest thing without some understanding of what it is or because a blog is telling you to. I know I’m guilty of this, but it is part of my job to learn about all these things so I’ll stick with that. But remember, you don’t have to be on top of everything. If you’re not a tech expert, it’s unlikely you’ll ever be on top of all the new techie stuff.

Unplug and take a break

  • Get some fresh air! Seriously…go outside and enjoy nature. I know it’s been almost unbearably hot (in Chicago at least) but it’s good to get out and get some vitamin D. The sun will be going away shortly in the Midwest so enjoy it as much as you can now!
  • You don’t have to stay connected online. Put your phone down, step away from your computer (seriously, do it after you finish reading this post :P) and go hang out with your spouse/kids/mom/dad/friends.
  • Unplug at least once a week and remind yourself that life happened before social media, and goes on without it. Call your best friend or mom on the phone instead of saying “hi” on their Facebook wall.

Remember why you enjoy social media…especially for those of us in the social media profession.

  • Behind most social profiles is an actual person (Hi, I’m Yvette…nice to meet ‘cha). Don’t forget that humanity makes social media meaningful and, well, social.

And my favorite piece of advice comes from @amycao, writer, blogger, native New Yorker and head of community @Foodspotting.

                “Prevent social media fatigue by taking short breaks. Ice cream and cupcakes help, too, as does walking to Union Square where you might find a woman selling nothing but lavender. Stand there for as long as possible to recharge blogging battery.”

It would take me a while to walk to Union Square, but I can head over to Daley Plaza and scope out some cheese and lavender. Or just wait for one of the many Food trucks navigating their way around Chicago! Where are you @Sprinklesmobile or @themoremobile? I’m also taking a few days off soon, so I’ll have to let you know how “unplugged” I actually stay.

Social media has added to our lives, but don’t forget that it’s not life itself.

Tags : social media

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