A slower social media?

Is there a need for a slower approach to social media? I’m starting to think so.

I’ve had a love hate relationship with social media for years now. I love the way that it allows me to connect with people and share stories and information. To have, dare I say it, a social life during the various lockdowns over the last year or so. But it’s also a terrible sucker of time and with so many platforms out there to subscribe to and keep up to date, something that can be dreadful for our mental health.

I was chatting to a group of people on Clubhouse yesterday morning. The guy who was running the room expressed the frustration and fatigue that he felt and the perceived need to be present on so many different sites and apps. He was trying to post content across LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Clubhouse, podcasts and was even wondering about the benefit (for his work) of being on TikTok.

I felt exhausted just thinking about it! Various suggestions were made about making content that is “evergreen” in that it can be posted across platforms and used again in the future without being anachronistic. But to be honest that left me feeling a few of things:

  • Where is the time, in among all of that social media posting, to do the work you are meant to do?
  • Posting formulaic content that works across platforms seems to be a lazy way out. Surely each platform has a kind of content that it’s best for and which should be created well for that site or app?
  • For each of us, in our lives and the work we do, there will be places online that our ideal audiences hang out, and places that they don’t. Focusing your efforts in those places will give a richer and more rewarding experience to both of you

I’ve written about this before, but I am convinced that we all have something to do in life that is uniquely ours to do. Our contribution to make with the skills and abilities we’ve been blessed with. One of my favourite authors, Cal Newport, writes about this extensively in his books “Deep Work and “Digital Minimalism”. The first explains in great detail just how toxically impactful social media can be on our abilities to do good work.. As we try and extend our attention over more and more platforms, that corrosive effect will only multiply.

Social media does have some great benefits, but enabling the creation of great and lasting content is pretty far down the list. It’s easy to create and share something really quickly and a lot of people are doing that. Quantity rather than quality is definitely the theme. I’ve fallen into the trap myself too, having made almost 50 episodes of my podcast in the last six months or so. What I’ve learned from that is this:

I’d rather spend more time, less often to create content that I’m more proud of. That I find more satisfying to make.

I’ve always love blogging, but the fact that it takes hours rather than minutes to write something worth reading has been off-putting to me recently. I feel like I’ve created a lot, but not much that I’m especially proud of.

So I’m slowing down for e bit.

I don’t know what the stats are around how many people actually read blogs these days. But I what I know to be true is that I have a short list of really good ones that I check in on each week. I take my time to read good content. I’d rather read three fantastic blogs each week and look at a small handful of photo websites than get lost in the endless postings and banality on Facebook and Instagram.

So I’m going to take my time to create good content too.

Maybe only one, well-written (for me at least) post per week. Maybe a handful of shorter posts in between, every now and again.

Perhaps only a handful of people will read it but as Seth Godin often writes, it’s not about getting your work in front of ALL of the people, just in front of the right people for you. If that’s a tiny audience, but and audience that enjoys what I write and benefits from it then so be it. I’m cool with that.

And if you’re one of those people. Thank you.

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