I know a lot of people in my network nowadays have stopped writing, left their blogs by the wayside, have moved to different social networks and online communities. I get that. Life gets in the way and let’s face it, social networks nowadays are not a safe place to be. You can get sucked into arguments, battle with trolls and spammers and have conversations with bots thinking they’re actually humans.
This year has got me thinking about a lot of things especially in how I use social media.
I chop and change my mind as to whether I should completely remove myself off the remaining two social networks I have left: Twitter and LinkedIn.
However, this is doing my head in.
After all, as someone who has been on social networks since they first began and who has met so many interesting, engaging and wonderful people all around the world, it would be like cutting off electricity for me.
Cutting off all the potential opportunities to be exposed to new ideas, new insights, new concepts that come from a diverse group of people from all around the world who are talking, sharing, commenting, griping, complaining and sniping at each other. Even from the grips, complaints and whines you can still find some gold in what they share (especially if they have a sense of humour and laugh at the situation then you start a conversation and find out that they too, are knitters like you (hey!), or they’re French speakers (hey, guess what! I’m learning French!) or whatever.
If I cut out the last remaining two social networks (especially Twitter – I’m not too fussed with LinkedIn) then it’s akin to going off the grid completely.
Am I ready to go off the grid?
There’s a lot more people telling us to get off it. They make all make excellent points and these are exactly what I’m grappling with now.
What Do I Risk If I Get Off Social Media?
This is the question I’ve been asking myself A LOT and trying to think of ways to INCLUDE the many people I have met online around the world in other ways such as email or text messaging.
However, I’m not going to lie that even cutting out the other media from my life, it means that I have to work DOUBLY hard to remain connected to people. My close family and friends are not the issue (as I have their emails and phone numbers and a great network of Greek aunts who can give me the low down of what’s happening where, with what and with whom), however my weaker ties are a lot difficult.
I certainly can’t email them a newsletter of my updates every so often because it would be like rocking up to an acquaintance’s front door without an invitation. It’s nice in the beginning to catch up but then it gets a bit “awkward” as they figure out if you’re going to stay longer than a cup of tea. You get my drift.
It’s also a bit hypocritical of me to get off social media when my entire existence online has been talking about how to build learning experiences and networks on social media.
Maybe I just have to get SMARTER at HOW I use the social media and make a concerted effort to REDUCE the social networks and use them in such a way that they provide me “bang for buck” (well, I can’t use that expression as they’re free so I’m not paying anything for them).
You know what I mean, use the social network that provides me the MOST value and USE it in more CREATIVE, INNOVATIVE AND INSPIRING ways BEYOND how others are using it. To stand out, to make the network work for you and in return you become happier using it.
The truth is, I’m still unsure of the answer. Whether I go cold turkey and say goodbye to Twitter and LinkedIn and so then completely reduce my networks and access to interesting conversations and ideas with random people around the world?
Or do I start to explore different online communities and then go into those knowing that I’ll be flitting in and out of them?
Truth is, I’ve always been more for the network than the community but I need both in my life. One feeds my desire to broaden my experiences, access to wide ranging knowledge and people from diverse backgrounds; and the other to delve deeper into topics and subjects of interest.
I like the noise of the networks sometimes because out of the noise comes patterns and trends that go towards sparking an idea for me to do, to create, to learn something. Networks send me down tangents and rabbit holes and they spark my curiosity – and this is what I would miss.