Why I Was Ready to Quit Social Networking

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How Many Social Networks Do You Use?

Social Networking Tips

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Empire Avenue, Foursquare, Klout.

These are the main social networking sites I’ve been using for both business and personal networking.

Nothing unusual or special about that right?  In fact, some of you are probably thinking – is that all?

What about Flickr, Instagram, FriendFeed, YouTube or any number of the hundreds listed on Wikipedia’s – List of Social Networking Websites.

A lot of people are much more active than me at social networking.

So why  was I ready to quit social networking?

Social Networking is Free but There’s a Cost?

There’s so much social networking to be done that it all got a bit too much for me.  I felt I was letting my community down if I wasn’t responding to their tweets, updates, recommendations and shares.

The final straw was Empire Avenue (EAv).  Nothing against Empire Avenue – in fact, I love it.  That was the problem.  My competitive streak kicked in and I felt that if I wasn’t paying enough attention to my shareholders and my stock, that my stock price would start tanking – which it did.  I started spending more and more time checking EAv and buying and selling shares.

It’s “free” but the true cost to me was very high.  I wasn’t getting anything done!

Business, Personal or Both?

I know everyone says to “be yourself” online and I agree to an extent.  I don’t want to pretend to be someone I’m not but I do want to maintain a “professional” standing on my social networks because I use them for business and personal networking.

The problem I have is that I don’t want to clutter the streams / feeds of my ” friends and family” with my business networking. Equally, I don’t want to dilute my business brand by sharing my personal life with my business contacts!

Some people recommend using different identities for personal and business.  This feels like doubling the workload to me.

Others suggest using social networking for  business only.  I like socialising with my friends and family online – especially as many of them don’t live locally so that’s how we communicate.

One of the reasons I like Google+ so much is that I can choose who I want to share information with by grouping my community into Circles.  Sure people can still search and find everything I’ve written and that’s fine.  I don’t have anything to hide.  I just don’t want them to have to read it if it’s not relevant to them.  Google+ is still relatively quiet though so that’s not the solution for me just yet.

I’ve ended up neglecting my friends and family but that doesn’t sit well with my values.  Sure, I can use personal messaging, email or direct messages but that’s an artificial step and not the natural way to engage on social networks.

Systems and Processes are Key.

This is obvious.  I’m an organised person.  I get a lot done.  Yet, when it comes to social networking, I’m all over the place.  I tweet sporadically. I post at odd times, when I’ve got a spare second.  I comment when something catches my attention.  I’m not using metrics to tell me what’s working.

I use Hootsuite which I love.  It allows me to organise the people I follow into categories (streams) and I can update across multiple social networks at once.  It also allows me to schedule tweets, which I do sometimes but it’s clunky.  It also has an RSS feed on the paid version which is a useful feature.  I don’t see the point of “auto-tweets” or system-generated quotes of the day so won’t do that.

I have no interest in attracting hoards of followers just to play the numbers game so I won’t use any of those auto-follow tools either.

I use some digital curation tools such as Reeder which allows me to post tweets and updates directly from my iPad as I find articles and posts I think my community might enjoy.

Apart from that I’m afraid to say, it’s all a bit haphazard.

Leave it to the Experts.

You may think you’ve come to the part of the post where I share my tips and tell you I’ve cracked it and can now manage my social networking in 10 minutes a day.  I wish!

What I’ve decided to do, is get some help from some experts and from you 😛

I’ve got a gazillion things I need to do and I don’t have time to work out my own best system for managing my social networking so I’m going to copy.  My husband (a.k.a. Adonis) shared with me the quote “creativity is great but plagiarism is faster”.  Now generally, that would be a no-no but in this case I think I’ll take that onboard.

I’ve scanned the people on my radar who know about the social networking and I’m going to learn what I can from them and put it into practice.

Here are the people I’m going to copy learn from:

  • Lara Solomon – from Social Rabbit – everything Facebook plus she’s Chief Rabbit and I’m Chief Kickstarter 🙂
  • Laura Roeder – for Twitter because she just made a video called “Twitter on 10 minutes a day” and she rocks
  • Lewis Howes – because he’s written a book called LinkedIn Master Strategies and was just in Australia & said nice things 🙂
  • Chris Brogan – for Google+ because he was an early adopter and has already spent many hours learning about it
  • Robin Dickinson – for Empire Avenue & Klout because he is a systems kind of guy and he got me into them 😉
  • Stepcase Lifehack – because it’s about hacks – “tips and tricks that get things done quickly by automating” – gotta be some juice in there

That’s my starting list.  I’m going to choose one topic at a time and see what I can learn and more importantly, action.   I love social media so I hope that I can find a way to get my mojo back and make it work for me personally and for my business.

Do you have any tips and tricks for managing social networking more productively you’d like to share with me?
Am I the only one feeling a bit overwhelmed?  What are your frustrations?
Who do you recommend as the “go-to” person for social networking?

If you liked this post or think others might, please share it.  Let’s connect on the social networks if we’re not already and I can learn from you too.

29 Responses to Why I Was Ready to Quit Social Networking

  1. Leanne Berry August 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Hi there Suellen

    Wow does this post resonate with me lately! I’ve been so busy working that my “social” has suffered badly – but it’s also given me a chance to evaluate my strategy and my new mantra is “less is better” My competitive streak loved Eav too but honestly I can’t see the value to me or my business – so I haven’t even been there for weeks

    Im presenting a session on social media/networking for businessat the annual MYOB Partner Conference at the end of this month and came across a great quote from Jay Baer (Convince & Convert) “Focus on how to be social, not on how to do social” – I like the sound of that prescription!!

    Great post

    Leanne

    • Suellen Hughes August 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

      Hi Leanne,

      Thanks for dropping by when you’ve been extra busy!

      I know what you mean about EAv. I’m going to visit weekly, buy up big, sell a few shares and then out. If my shares slide – so be it.

      I love your quote from Jay Baer – very good. I’m sure your session at the MYOB Partner Conference will be full of useful info. Any chance of seeing a copy on Slideshare post event? Please share any other tips you find as you prepare your session!

      Cheers
      Suellen

  2. Sally Foley-Lewis August 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    I truly appreciate this open and honest post about social media and its impact. I rolled my eyes when Referral Key popped up, I had facial twitches when Google + circle-thingy popped up… To preserve my sanity I adopted a ‘wait and see what the fuss is about’ approach to most (not all) new SM sites; I listen to my trusted inner circle; and dabble in the SM after the work is done. And most importantly I aim not to neglect the current relationships I have with people on the exiting SM I use and IRL!

    Thanks for another great post, Suellen!

    • Suellen Hughes August 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

      Thanks for sharing Sally. You seem to make networking online and offline appear effortless so I’d like to learn your secret. Perhaps I should stop being an early adopter (attracted by BSO) and adopt a wait and see approach too.

      BTW, do you think Catfish was real or concocted?

  3. Jen Brown August 19, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    Great post Suellen & a good question. I too have found it difficult to balance the need (and desire) to stay on top of social media & in contact with friends, family & biz contacts.

    I have never been into EA because I already felt ‘overloaded’ by my existing social media channels. As it is, I haven’t been into Google + in probably the last 10 days as it seems people in my ‘circles’ either aren’t in it or aren’t using it.

    I have no tips to share other than using my lists in Twitter well & turning it off! I *try* and check it only 3 times per day; first thing, lunch & then in the evening. I find if I do that, I can stay up to date but only a small amount of time is needed.

    I hope lots of people share their tips. I can only think it’s going to be an ever increasing problems as new social media sites emerge

    • Suellen Hughes August 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

      Hi Jen,
      It seems I’m not alone with my overload!

      I keep Hootsuite minimised and only check it a few times per day too but sometimes I’m on more and sometimes not at all. I’m going to put more structure around it so that I look at it at set times each day and also “schedule” some tweets using Timely which looks great.

      Like you, I’m hoping for lots of tips and tricks too! Will share all I learn 🙂
      Thanks for dropping by

  4. Sally Foley-Lewis August 19, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    Just following up… M and I just watched the doco ‘Catfish’ … an interesting true tale of a Facebook experience. We downloaded it from iTunes and the story continues on http://www.iamrogue.com/catfish

  5. Bridie Jenner August 19, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    Glad I’m not the only one who is beginning to feel overwhelmed with all the different social media options!

    I rationalised my SM recently and got rid of my Facebook page – it wasn’t doing anything for my business but was eating up my time.

    I now concentrate on twitter and LinkedIn – I love the instant and conversational nature of twitter and have made many friends, as well as accrued some new clients along the way. And LinkedIn I think is essential for more serious social networking.

    I love Hootsuite too and avoid the use of auto anything – tweets, DMs when someone follows me and blog posting. I also tweet as myself and incorporate personal as well as business-related tweets – hopefully it shows that I’m a business with some personality!

    • Suellen Hughes August 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

      Hi Bridie,
      Interesting that you weren’t finding value in Facebook. I love it for personal engagement but I haven’t had as much success with my business page. I think that’s because I don’t manage it well. I’m going to persevere with it for a while – especially if I can learn a few tips from the experts about how to make it work. I will reassess in 6 months.

      I like LinkedIn too. The conversation is definitely more business focussed and I’ve discovered a lot of value in Groups and Answers. I’d be interested to hear views about whether the paid option is worth the money – I’m still using the free version at this point. Thanks for commenting over on LinkedIn too 🙂

      I think I will continue to use Twitter for both personal and business but will perhaps use Facebook more for personal and just the occasional personal tweet.

  6. Linda ~ Journey Jottings August 19, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    Can of worms here Suellen LOL

    You have to go and at least play with each one to see how it fits – or get an inkling of how each form of social media fits/doesn’t fit your niche –

    If you’re in the corporate world, you’d be mad not to be on LinkedIn (friends daughter was head-hunted there and was offered, on a platter, an awesome job)

    Young muso’s it seems head for My Space

    Empire Ave struck me (so I didn’t dip the toe) to more suit networking consultants – although I hope they’re not all just networking with each other???

    However, I have maintained a Facebook Page as travellers use FB to stay in touch with family and so its a great central spot to have a forum situation and simply be accessible/available to my end users and offer the opportunity of conversation with them. I put a FB symbol/address on my products now.

    Twitter, I think, is particularly appealing to travellers as there’s such a strong element of serendipity to it – Everyone I’m sure has ‘moments’ when they feel as though they’re drowning in SM –
    But then… a fantastic connection raises its head above the waves and it all takes on a brilliant new meaning.
    Putting a $ figure on those ‘finds’ though I’d say the cost is high –
    But a few of the ‘finds’ or ‘connections’ I’ve made I feel have been so priceless, soooo worthwhile, its a bit like panning for gold ~ the gems are worth the hours of panning!

    I’m with you though that it is a skill that has to be honed/managed/controlled as the most overwhelming element of it all is the ceaseless waves that flood your streams all relentlessly vying for attention to be read – and they simply can’t ALL be read, so… Enough’s enough – get over that, and you’re home and dry LOL

    • Suellen Hughes August 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

      Great points here Linda thanks.

      Sounds like Facebook and Twitter are your thing and are woking well for you from a business perspective. I’ve made some amazing connections through Twitter too and it does seem more personal too me. As you say, there is a LOT of noise though – so it is a matter of just switching off and realising it’s not possible to keep up with absolutely everything. I would iike to clear out my “following” list on Twitter but it seems like such a huge task. One of my goals is to work out a quick and easy way to cull. Any ideas?

      Thanks for throwing your pickings into the can of worms 😉

  7. Jay August 20, 2011 at 7:49 am #

    Suellen you are a lifesaver! I am just about to launch my business and am trying to get head around all this stuff – just spent 3 frustrating days trying to work out Facebook!!! I will read this info with complete focus (which is saying something as I’m usually doing 10 kazillion things at once). Will get back to you if I have any light bulb moments. Thanks again,
    Jay

    • Suellen Hughes August 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

      Hi Jay,
      First of all good luck with the launch! I had a quick look at your website and am already enticed by:

      “Whether you’ve had the day from hell and crave comfort, need to celebrate and deserve indulgence, feel a little spicy and desire something exotic, or have a hangover and need relief now; you’ll discover it here. Oh, and did we mention that most of our recipes have under 10 grams of fat?”

      When’s launch date?

      I think as small business owners, we’re all doing 10 kazillion things and that’s part of the challenge with social networking – how to add that the the 10 kazillion!

      I really think there is value in just outsourcing all of the initial setup of the social networks. I’m not convinced outsourcing the day-to-day engagement is as straightforward.

      I will share all that I learn and look forward to hearing more from you about your experiences and launch!
      Best of luck
      Suellen

      • Jay August 22, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

        Launch date? Now you’ve done it and I need to put an actual date on it! I’ve been so long in saying “in a couple of weeks”, so let’s decide on 6 September (fingers crossed). Will let you know once it goes live and glad you were intrigued. It’s gonna be great!

        • Suellen Hughes August 23, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

          Pleased to be keeping you accountable 😉

          Looking forward to dropping by on the 6th for a look!

  8. Wendy Buckingham August 20, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    Great tips. I’m on a few social networks mainly for business networking (not twitter) and I set up a Rules Folder for each, so my In Box doesn’t get inundated. I also set up a “deleted” box for each network to store the old ones in for a week or so, rather than put them in the general delete file for the same reason. I then periodically delete the whole delete folder and start a new one.

    Each day I check them our for about an hour or so and add any comments.

    If someone requests to connect with me and I don’t know who they are, I ask them to remind me how we are connected. This weeds out the spams.

    • Suellen Hughes August 21, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

      Hi Wendy,

      Thanks for sharing these practical tips. I’m definitely going to set up folders based on your advice. I minimise the number of emails from social networks but I do get some notifications which can be a distraction. Great tip – thanks.

      Thanks for sharing the link to your article – some good advice there too.

  9. Annabel Candy, Successful Blogging August 20, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

    Oh yeah, it can get too much! That’s why I ignored the Empire thing. I’m already overloaded. Prefer to do some things well and just accept that I won’t feature on others at all.

    Re: “I don’t want to dilute my business brand by sharing my personal life with my business contacts!”

    In my experience you should. In moderation of course. There are a gazillion business experts I could go to for advice but you’re the one and only Suellen Hughes and that’s why I’m here.

    In my experience a little bit of personal (but not toooo personal!) makes business better:)

    • Suellen Hughes August 21, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

      Hi Annabel,

      Thanks for your advice on sharing the personal me and the business me. I will do that – as I said to Bridie, will use Facebook more for personal though.

      Thanks for dropping by and for your encouraging comments 🙂

  10. Catherine White August 21, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    This was a great discussion last week, it was interesting to hear how others are managing or mismanaging their online persona.

    It was also in line with thoughts of my own on the subject, but for different reasons. As for Empire Avenue, I just couldn’t bring myself to go there with that, as it escaped me how this could be beneficial and add value to my life.

    Thank you for opening this timely discussion here on your blog.

    Warm regards
    Catherine

  11. Helen Crozier August 22, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    Suellen hi.
    Social networking fatigue seems to be an epidemic.
    I have been reading several books – some of them even hard copy on the subject and also following other ‘experts’ who are incorporating digital sabbaticals into their lives.
    What seems to be essential is to always be mindful about how you are spending every minute. Sounds simple but there are many reasons why we get hooked into spending more and more time online without necessarily making dollars for those hours lost.
    Often the mere fact that we are fatigued makes it easy to lose momentum and just ‘hang out’ online.
    I’ve recently spent a lot of time offline and feel as if I’m getting a life back. I was on Empire Avenue and quickly became addicted – no shame in admitting that…. I was going in there far too often for my own good so I actually deleted my account.
    I have now as of last week relisted but I’m not playing the game. I haven’t decided if I will go in daily – more likely it will be weekly – but what I’ve noticed is since listing my fan page has received about a dozen more ‘like’s. Just another place to have your electronic sign post pointing to your other active sites I guess.
    Digital breaks are essential. William Powers the author of Hamlet’s Blackberry disconnects the internet in his house from Friday night to Monday morning. With iPhones connected via 3G attached to every household member here that makes it difficult but even if we took one Sunday off a month it’s a start. It’s nothing compared to the 6 months that Susan Maushart took in The Winter of our disconnect!
    A lot of people are bucking the trend and finding the need for digital white space. I’m one of those…. and as you know Catherine White declared last night she was detoxing for 7 days!
    I’m thinking if you make a routine for the times you go on to specific networks and stipulate how long that might work. I think if you time how long you spend on there you will be surprised.. it’s always more than you think and when that time could be spent on other areas of your business or life you might start to feel a bit stressed.
    De-stress by detoxing… go out without your phone… honestly nothing bad will happen… I’m doing it more and more 🙂
    best wishes
    Helen

    • Suellen Hughes August 23, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

      Hi Helen,

      Thanks for sharing your experience and research! I must take a look at The Wiinter of Our Disconnect – we need that in our household. We are often all beavering away on our devices, in our own little worlds when we are supposed to be having “family time”.

      I have been following more of a routine plus exploring some useful apps – such as timely.is and am starting to feel more on top of it – but still a ways to go 🙂

      As for going out without my phone…now that’s a step too far!

  12. Helen Crozier August 22, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    Oh and I should have said no need to reply to my comment unless you feel the urge… blog posts and their comments…. hmmm very time consuming…
    🙂

  13. Ted Kolovos August 22, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    Suellen,

    If any expert tells you that they manage their social networking in 10 minutes a day, then they are probably trying to sell something;) “Dominate social media in 10 minutes a day” seems like a good headline for something like that.

    You’ve definitely talked about emotions that many social networking users have felt at one time or another. For example, I sometimes wonder what the line is between business and personal life on social networking. The answer depends on the individual because all of us have different tolerances and not everybody will agree on a solution.

    My social tips are:

    1 – Limit the number of sites. Don’t create a bunch of accounts on all the latest and greatest social sites and try to keep up with them just because it seems like that’s the right thing to do. Choose the top 3 or 4 that you like best and that your audience or family/friends use and stick with those.

    2 – Stop feeling like you have to respond to everybody all the time. This just isn’t realistic. Choose what you feel are the most important conversations and respond to those.

    3 – Take your time responding to conversations unless they are urgent. Don’t get in the habit of thinking that you immediately have to respond to everything. Twitter streams and feeds sometimes have the tendency to make everything seem real-time. In reality the world isn’t going to end if you don’t respond to a tweet right away. Think about it!

    Hope you enjoy these. I enjoyed your post and it gave me things to think about as well!

    • Suellen Hughes August 23, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

      Ted,

      Yes, there are lots of people trying to sell me their 10 minutes a day magic!

      Thanks for your tips. I particularly liked number 2 because I do find myself feeling bad if I miss replying or retweeting something from my community. You are right. It’s just not realistic to catch everything. I have done a bit of a purge of my Twitter followings (still more to be done) and am also my lists so that I can quickly scan my “watch-list” and focus there first.

      Thanks for dropping by and pleased you enjoyed the post.

  14. Robin Dickinson August 23, 2011 at 7:05 am #

    Thanks for the rich discussion, Suellen – and the mention! 🙂

    I find having a time-effective ‘system’ the best way for me to learn and progress online. It helps that I’m only online for professional reasons. Every action is underpinned by a commercial objective. I’m very disciplined in the time I spend because *any* time spent by me is a cost to my company in terms of wages and potential lost opportunity doing ‘non-line’ things, and must be accountable in some way.

    Best to you,

    Robin Dickinson | Facilitating your best-ever business.

    • Suellen Hughes August 23, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

      Hi Robin,

      You are welcome. As you know, I’ve been struggling with this and admire the way you seem to manage it all so effortlessly.

      Looking forward to catching up with you on Skype to talk ebooks and social networking systems. Might need a couple of sessions 😉

      Thanks for dropping by.

  15. Lara Solomon September 2, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Hi Suellen,

    Thanks for putting me up there as someone you are going to copy 😉

    Social media can be total overload, there seems to be a new “network” popping up what feels like every second and it’s hard to keep up…. I think that you just choose your weapon and use it well 🙂

    Love all the comments 🙂

    • Suellen Hughes September 7, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

      Hi Lara,

      What an honour to have the Chief Rabbit hopping by my blog 🙂

      I love what you do on Facebook and can only hope to learn what I can from you. The STEPS learning program is a great tool for people new to Facebook and LinkedIn.

      I’ve been trying to make Facebook work for a few years now and while it works for me personally on my Profile, I haven’t cracked the Business page yet. Your tips, resources and practical how-tos are going to get me there I’m sure.

      I love all of the comments too – I feel in good company.

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