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Social Media Overwhelm?

Posted by on Mar 12, 2011
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A few days ago I was once again the radio guest of our friend Beverly. We talked about the subject of social media overwhelm, as well as social media in general, and it was pretty neat. If you wish, you can listen to the interview through this download. Oh yeah, while I’m at it, I was also interviewed by Karen of Blazing Minds for her blog, so you can check that out as well.

Overall the topic is an interesting one because obviously I do believe some people suffer from this, even people who haven’t started using it yet. It was just under two months ago when I wrote the post titled Social Media Isn’t For Everyone after all. In that post I was talking about the reality that if you don’t have the time or if something can’t help you out if you’re only using it for business purposes don’t even get started.

However, the topic of overwhelm is something different entirely. With the exception of LinkedIn I have gotten obsessed for at least a short time with most of the social media sites I’ve participated on. I was initially obsessed with Twitter, even though I didn’t write all that often, because it was just amazing seeing all those messages and seeing all the information that seemed to be available. I was initially obsessed with Facebook because of all the games and the groups. I was initially obsessed with Ryze for the groups. And I was obsessed with YouTube because, well, all those videos, not only music but the goofy stuff people put up.

At a certain point one calms down and gets back to business; at least we hope so. True, I haven’t given up on blogging, but I have that as more of a purpose thing than an obsession. I do think that the major appeal to Facebook has to do with all the games that people can play, because overall I still don’t think Facebook is all that social. Twitter is much more social if you connect with the right people. I talk to people all the time there, sometimes for upwards of an hour or more, though it’s usually late night. I haven’t had chats like that since the old days of ICQ; who remembers that?

If you start feeling overwhelmed with social media, take a step back, take a deep breath, and try to think of what you feel your needs really are. If you like playing the games, go for it. If you feel the need to be, well, needed, whether it seems that you are or not, that’s something you now have to deal with. If you’re using it to get lost from the real world and find it hard to leave, that’s an even bigger issue to deal with. And if you feel overwhelmed but have never done anything with it… well, just remember these words from President Franklin Roosevelt: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

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17 Comments »

I remember ICQ. :) Like you I was a bit obsessed with Twitter when I first joined 2 years ago. I was also shy and felt very much like an outsider. I watched as some people seemed to grow to thousands upon thousands of followers while I had maybe 20, if I was lucky. Not that I minded too much, I wasn’t saying much (that hasn’t changed too much). I still have fewer than 2000 followers and feel overwhelmed by the stream sometimes, so I’m not longer disappointed in my short list of following/followers.

I’m not big on Facebook either. I like the idea of it all, but I’m not all that social. IRL I’m not that social. I’d rather be reading. Guess I better not quit my day job.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

No Anne, don’t be quitting your day job. lol Actually, I find it easier to be social online, which is possibly a problem for someone looking to be a professional speaker.

March 12th, 2011 | 4:19 PM

I felt nearly similar way about a year ago, I thought that social networks are taking over my life and work, but honestly the reason was different. It was boring period in my life when things were not going well, so I think I tried to escape from reality with social networks. However, that’s correct, different businesses benefit in different way from social media.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Carl, as I move in this direction I think that the time I spent on it is appropriate. But I will also recognize that I do spend tons of time on my computer, which means I’m never far from being immediately connected to anything.

March 13th, 2011 | 3:23 AM

I don’t think I was ever obsessed with any of them, although I did play poker of FaceBook for awhile but that was more to do with having fun than the social media aspect. They certainly do not consume my time.

I like twitter the best because it’s quick an easy. I use tweetdeck when I remember to fire it up, and I can see when friends say something interesting and I add to the conversation when I can.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

And I even see you there from time to time, Sire. I’ve never played poker on FB, since I play at Pokerstars instead.

March 13th, 2011 | 5:46 PM

I don’t think someone can become overwhelmed by social media, especially because it’s something that you can choose to do or not.

I too get obsessed with some websites sometimes, but I usually snap out of it in 3 or 4 days max. And the thing that brings me back is my business, I know that the time I spend on this social media (if it’s not for the business) is wasted time, so I have an OMG moment and slowly go back to what I was doing previously.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Alex, I do think some people can get overwhelmed; after all, we know that people get addicted to video games, and that’s also something people can choose to do or not. It’s good that you have a way to break out of it when you notice it’s getting weird.

March 14th, 2011 | 6:49 AM
John Dilbeck:

Hi Mitch,

I was overwhelmed with social media last year, and it was a combination of trying to do too much while dealing with a major health crisis.

So, I dumped all the sites that were “make work” with no real results.

I used to spend hours a day on Twitter. Now I drop in now and then. I never enjoyed conversations there, because the 140 characters is too limiting for anything but very simple thoughts.

I don’t visit any of the other sites more than once or twice a month, and then only for a few minutes. Some I no longer visit at all.

The exception is Facebook. I spend a lot of my time there socializing with my friends. I have never played a game there and have no interest in doing so. I’m there because so many of my friends, relatives, business associates, and clients are there.

Sometimes it probably looks like I live on Facebook, but it’s an illusion. I drop in for a few minutes several times per day and frequently respond to friends’ posts within a few seconds, thanks to the notifications I get on my iPod.

I spend maybe an hour or two per day (spread out over several sessions) on Facebook and enjoy it a lot.

I hardly ever visit LinkedIn, MySpace, Ryze, or the other sites I used to visit a lot.

I disagree with your statement that Twitter is much more social than Facebook. I see it as the exact opposite. I don’t know if that’s because of our personalities, interests, groups of friends, or what.

I no longer watch the stream at Twitter. When I visit, I scan the last several hundred posts to see if there is anything of interest or something to which I want to respond. More and more, I’m finding nothing of interest — just more of the same old same old.

On Facebook, I engage in conversations with people around the world just about every day. If a thought requires a couple of thousand characters, it’s no problem. Neither are shorter thoughts.

I find that I use social networks more for personal reasons than for business and I’ve recently separated most of my business use of Facebook to pages and keep my profile mostly for personal interaction.

I’m active on social networks much less than I used to be. A couple of years ago, I spent six-eight hours per day on them (mostly promoting my business) and now I’m down to less than two hours (mostly for personal interactions).

If I were replying to your post on Twitter, I would have had to say:

“No social media overwhelm. No MySpace or Ryze. Much, much less Twitter. More Facebook. More personal than business.”

You can see why I don’t like conversations on Twitter.

(grin)

Act on your dream!

JD

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

John, you’re definitely your own man. I can’t get any real conversations going on Facebook at all. Yet I can talk with someone for hours on Twitter, and in real time as well. I’ve tried getting more people to talk on FB but it just doesn’t happen. I don’t belong to too many groups either, but those I do belong to, including my business page there, have nothing at all going on. You’ve seen my business page; almost no feedback ever.

Still, overall it’s the question of overwhelm, and I think it’s good that you have a nice balance.

March 14th, 2011 | 12:37 PM
John Dilbeck:

Mitch, I think I’ve identified a difference in our personalities that may account for part of this.

I can’t stand chats or long real-time conversations on any site. The same goes for telephone conversations. I want to say what I have to say and move on to something else. I like the asynchronous nature of email and other non-real-time communications.

That may explain, partly, why I prefer Facebook over Twitter (and I have my chat turned off on Facebook). I don’t participate in groups on Facebook, either.

I don’t have many business conversations on Facebook, but find it relatively easy to have personal conversations there. I see, based on site logs, that some of these personal conversations lead to increased numbers of visitors to my business sites from Facebook. So, it’s an indirect method of promoting my business.

I agree that most business pages on Facebook are mostly dead, with some very active exceptions.

As far as being overwhelmed by social media, I agree that I’ve found a nice balance. That’s a good thing.

Hope you have, too.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

That would be an interesting difference in the way we interact, John. I like the real time way that Twitter can work, and trust me, you can get to the point, if that’s the intention, then get it over with. But I also like every once in awhile online to have long conversations about different topics with both my friends and new people I meet. That’s why I say Twitter is way more social; you can really only address one person at a time on Facebook, but on Twitter, sometimes you can talk to, well, hundreds at a time, especially when there’s a Twitter chat going on.

March 15th, 2011 | 10:02 AM

Mitch, I think most of us suffered from social media overwelm at some stage.

March 15th, 2011 | 1:39 PM

Mitch, I think most of us suffered from social media overwelm at some stage.
In most cases it’s a passing fase and once you get to know your way around the social media curcuit, you’ll become more selective. I have met wonderful people and made great contacts this way!

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Same here, Anne. We regain balance and move on with life, but some folks do have issues they never overcome unfortunately.

March 15th, 2011 | 1:47 PM

I’m the opposite of you with the Facebook/Twitter thing. Facebook seems much more social to me than Twitter does. I would imagine it has a lot to do with who you choose to follow on Twitter, though. The vast majority of my FB friends I’ve actually met or known throughout my life. For me, that’s only true with a handful of my Twitter peeps. I also think Twitter is way less personal, but yes, there’s a ton of information and opinions there. I decided to give Twitter another try and I’ve been trying to alter my following list, but it just seems so overwhelming.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Jessica, you might need multiple lists like I have. And there’s a lot of people on Facebook that I’m actually friends with, but I’ve had almost no conversations with any of those folks other than a sentence or two. But on Twitter… well, you see. lol

March 18th, 2011 | 6:35 AM