Letting Go of Social Media

 

Let go of social media?! Yes, I know. We can’t do that. We’re not allowed. As writers, we must be on all the social sites to build our platform and brand ourselves and whatnot. But I’m letting go. Does that mean I’ll have less success? Maybe. Maybe not. Probably. I’ll miss out on opportunities if nothing else.

I read this post by Lisa Reiter and it resonated with me. She talks about being busy and organizing her writing. Pfft. Who needs that? With two young kids, a husband, a house, a job, appointments, meetings, blah, blah, blah, I have all the time in the world to sit down (uninterrupted) and write.

As the saying goes, “If you do one thing, it’ll be your best. If you do two things, they’ll each have a bit of your intent to do your best but they won’t be your best. If you do ten things, they’ll suck.” Okay, that’s not at all how the saying goes and I’m not sure there’s a saying even remotely like that but you get my point. Hopefully.

If I do those ten things with a bag full of the fifty things I’m not doing sitting on top of my head, the ten things are going to really suck and I’ll wind up hurting my neck. Something’s got to give. And, if I look back and realize I haven’t sent anything in yet for my column this month or worked on my book or submitted anything to…anywhere, then social media has to go.

Okay, I’m not getting rid of social media entirely, I’m just attempting to stuff it into a box and shove it in the corner. Social media is a rope. (I’m going somewhere with this. I swear.) Instead of throwing the rope to the ground and leaving it unattended or allowing it to lasso me, I have to take control of it. “Letting go” of this rope means untangling myself from it so it doesn’t choke the life out of me but making sure it doesn’t get soaked and moldy in the rain. Hence, the box in the corner.

 

social media rope

The Rope of Social Media (A.K.A. A ball of string I found around the house)

The rope of social media shouldn’t be a noose, it should be a lifeline.

A connection to my audience, potential editors, agents, and other writers.

Lisa says in her post that she has set aside a day (one day!) a week that she calls her “Blog Admin Day”. In the post, she uses words like “addictive” and “compelled”. I feel like that sometimes.

Technically, she’s talking about blogging but I’m applying it to all social media. I don’t know if I can set aside one day to write my blog, read other blogs, comment, read litmags, research submission guidelines, catch up on my Twitter account… Seems a tall order. But I’ll try. Because I need the rest of the week to do that thing I love to do with words like putting them together and making cool sentences (and fragments). I need time to write. Also, I’m on call 24 hrs. a day as a mom so there’s that.

I’m going to attempt to organize my own Social Media Admin Day. Let’s be honest: Days. I think I need two. For now.

Interesting. I wrote this post almost exactly a year ago. This crisis isn’t new. Maybe it resonates with me because I’m going through it (again). Maybe more people are dealing with this. Maybe it’s the time of year. I don’t know. But I do know that many fellow bloggers, writer friends, and tweeps are deleting their accounts, taking breaks, or wondering out loud where they’re headed.

Two days for social media/blogging time didn’t work for me. And I have nothing inspirational to say. Just… You’re not alone.

How do you manage your social media? Do you read/comment on blogs? Do you have time to read anything else (poetry, short stories, books)? Do you have time to write (something other than your blog)?

 

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25 thoughts on “Letting Go of Social Media

  1. Sarah, the theory for me is that my blog is going to be compiled into my book, which is a motivational memoir. I am also wanting to capture our precious family moments on the blog for posterity. The blog is helping me get my head sorted for the book. Personally, I don’t see a conflict of interest there. There is a strong conflict of interest between spending time with my family and the blog and they can resent it, even though I’m often writing about them. That’s not the same as spending time with them. I’m currently not working due to medical reasons, which gives me more time.
    However, I’m not getting far with writing my books and the blog is probably detracting from that.
    I picked up a copy of “7 Habits of Successful People” on the weekend at a Scout book sale and I’m hoping better time management might help.
    I should also mention that I’m trying to fit in 30 minutes of violin practice a day and too many days I simply forget.
    Obviously, I share your pain!
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I know that on Friday’s I spend more time because of Friday Phrases….but I would trade the rest of my social media for that 48 hours because it has not only allowed me to meet lovely, LOVELY people, but expand my horizons and exercises muscles I didn’t even know I had. So each much decide priorities. We cannot judge another’s priorities only support them in the path they wish to take.

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  3. Oh boy. I wish I had the answer. But I agree with the sentiment though I was having this very debate with a blogging friend yesterday who made the excellent point that I blog ALOT, and wasn’t I a writer and not a blogger stumped me a little as its such an excellent point – where is that line? How helpful is a platform? If your someone like KM Weiland with a million plus hits a year then it helps sell books – where’s the line? 80/20 like Pareto said. I just Duno.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I remember Lisa’s post and you speaking about it in the past. I had no trouble letting facebook, twitter (which I have never understood and will revisit when I get more time) and linkedin all go. The blog I struggle with as I really enjoy it. I do however struggle to visit many people per week. Some weeks are worse than others but I am no longer going to hate myself if I can’t get everywhere everyday or even once per month. I have to prioritise. As far as getting other writing done – yes I am. I have finished a second memoir and almost finished writing my exegesis, enter a couple of competitions a month and numerous other articles. I look forward to the day I can write what ever I want to write without feeling guilty that it is not stuff I have to write. BUT I am not a mother with those demands and I’m sure my husband would like to see more of me. I am a hopeless housewife (it was the first thing to go).
    You just have to do what you think is most important to you at this particular time in your life and change as your priorities change.

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  5. Spooky Sarah, my cyber twin. You are not alone either. I am just penning a tentative post after being away since February. Boring back issues etc and juggling the blog with the limitations on time I can sit/stand still mean something had to give for a while.
    – And it still needs to be on a very long rope much like you are suggesting. I’m going to change my format to give me leave to be a little more haphazard and punchy and address a silent readership who have visited every single day despite my absence.
    Good to re-read my year old post. It is a time of renewal for me too and I still agree with myself from back then! But unfortunately I cannot keep a successful routine or therefore, a regular commitment to my blog, however much I miss the contact. I do not have the answer. It is still evolving but you are definitely not alone and should not feel bad. I suspect history may show us at the weather front of cyber-living and we are simply the fore-runners to establishing a balance.
    Lisa xxo

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I faff and flap around conscious I do too much and not enough. I’m fickle and inconsistent and frustrated and loving it and absorbed and oblivious and supportive and self regarding and sympathetic and selfish and pretty much never ever going to find a balance or be pleased but like life I get more out of it by engaging with it that ignoring it. So I guess I’ll just keep muddling on.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Okay, since I am a big fan of ‘social media detox’, I want to share my experience here 🙂 About 10 months ago, I got really fed up with the whole blogging/ blog hopping/ social media sharing/ retweeting thing ad nauseum. I even developed RSI and cervical spondylosis (stress-induced) as a consequence. That’s when I knew something had to change. It HAD to!

    So I took a break from Facebook, because that was where I was most present. I deactivated the account for a week and came back refreshed. In that time I got to spend more time reading blogs, replying to comments, share good content and network with bloggers.

    And I decided I would do this every month. It’s worked wonders. This month, I have taken a whole month off partly due to blogging concerns but also because I am writing a book and I find that staying off FB has helped me concentrate better. I do interact with followers on my blog, my twitter account and my FB blog pages, because I have an alternate login, but I keep it to a minimum. I blog once or twice a week, not more than that. I find I get more time to be with the family, read books and generate better connections online and offline.

    So, I completely get you 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I was impressed with Lisa’s article last year, especially the idea of an admin day. I like the rhythm of the ride at Carrot Ranch and when I had a life meltdown, I found that rhythm was the one thing that kept me tethered to writing. Reflecting, it goes back to assigning tasks (to myself) that feel meaningful. Wednesday I launch a FF challenge, Tuesday I post a compilation. I have a regiment of sorts — sharing links on social media, responding to comments. I find that Monday is a great day for me to set up an admin day, yet it is easier if I respond minimally throughout the week and allow for flexibility. I guess I’m finding that it boils down to a few meaningful anchors on social media and daily check-ins that are quick. Mon-Th is heavier on the social media and blogging, but I’m making time for my WIPs. Then F-Sun is like free time with my WIPs. And I’m not packing my days so full that I can’t be spontaneous and just go somewhere or sit and read in my nook for two hours. Each of us has to find what works. I aim for what lifts me up, what inspires me and what keeps me carrying on.

    Liked by 3 people

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  10. Even back when, not too long ago, I had almost no outside commitments, was not employed (and still am not), and a small amount of demands from family and friends I found it difficult to keep up with the various social media / blogging platforms. I was (and still am) not trying to make a living through writing, rather posting, commenting and reading other people’s posts and comments for personal reasons.

    I deleted my Twitter account, put Facebook to back burner most days, and walked away from other blog sites in order to give most of my focus to the WordPress world. The only other platform that gets consistent attention is my Tumblr blog, but this is just re-blogging 15 or so posts from a selected groups of other blogs, so it is not a large commitment of my time. It is an impossibility to read all the posts from all the WordPress blogs I follow and still allow time to focus on my own writing and to live life.

    I have let other sites go, in part, due to feeling “compelled” to read the posts of all those I follow and to comment as often as I can. Over time I follow more and more bloggers, which only increases the impossibility. Like this comment, I find many of my comments require some significant number of minutes to compose. The critical facet is that I don’t see this as a sacrifice: composing a comment asks the same commitment and focus as composing my blog’s posts. The personal rewards of writing comments are basically the same for me as writing, say, a poem. The differences between the two reflect the value of both as a form of creative self-expression and participation in a blogosphere community. So the compulsion is driven in large part by the sense of artistic pleasure I have while participating within the community as poster and reader.

    I consider myself blessed with the time and space to give a significant part of each day to a community such as WordPress. I am awed by those who are able to write, participate and engage in larger amount of commitments and relationships in the world outside of this (or a similar) community than I have. Within the social media realm, there are always going to be choices. I could focus most of my social media / blogging time posting, reading, and commenting on, say, Facebook. This is not a comment on the value of other social media communities, rather a personal choice based on the rewards, from pleasure to the need to pay the bills, that one has chosen to be the best fit for his or her life. As I see it, the task is to never to settle into one pattern, but to consistently reflect — which takes more time from that precious pool — on what is a best fit and to act accordingly, which includes “letting go.”

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I keep my blogging to Wednesday, sometimes extending to Thursday if I don’t manage to visit everyone in one day. It helps my mental state. When I tried visiting blogs every day, I got overwhelmed.

    I pretty much ignore all other social media. I currently don’t have a phone to even check twitter or facebook or instagram. Sure, I can pull up the pages in my browser, but without a phone, I’m not getting alerts popping up. It’s weird. And refreshing.

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  12. Oh my, I feel your pain. I really, really dislike twitter sometimes. I mean, I like some things about it – like the ability to tweet a message to someone and be (fairly) sure they’ll see it, and conversations and what not. But I am not and do not want to be on it all the time, and in fact, I’m hardly on it now because I just can’t keep up with everything. Facebook feels the same way. And then I signed up for Periscope to check it out and that’s interesting to be sure, but I had to disable the notifications because I don’t WANT to watch a video at 5:30 a.m., thankyouverymuch. The only channel that I actually really love is Instagram, and even that waxes and wanes with my ability to post something I feel is “in my focus.”

    I have stayed away from email subscriptions for a while because I didn’t have a handle on my inbox, but now, since I got it under control, I think I’d rather just see newsletters from my favorite people instead of trying to catch up through twitter or facebook. I’ve got your blog and the others I enjoy in feedly – so I try to make time once or twice a week to catch up on those.

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  13. I’ve learned to be picky with social media. I don’t have Instagram and I’m barely on Google+. I focus mostly on Pinterest and FB, and even FB I’ve had to scale down big time. I do love reading and commenting on blogs, though I admit it’s time consuming! Still, those are my peeps, and I can’t imagine not returning the favor.

    I’m currently still waiting to pick up my library books tomorrow, but yes I usually do have a book on hand. The last one I picked up though wasn’t too great and I didn’t finish (The Aviator’s Wife, though it got lots of rave reviews).

    And when I wrote my book, I was also maintaining the blog, plus my day job, so I totally felt like I had three jobs! It was stressful but a good exercise and I had to be really disciplined with my time.

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  14. It’s a constant battle for time, isn’t it? Deciding what to hold on to and what to let go. Over the past few months I have prioritised maintaining blogosphere relationships rather than actively trying to build new ones. I keep a record of bloggers who comment on my post and whose posts I comment on. I try to keep a fairly good balance and, if I miss one week, I try to make it up in the next.
    I try to respond to all comments on my posts within a couple of days, but sometimes life intervenes. I always get to them as soon as I can.
    I post twice a week and I find that responding to two posts of others per week feels about right in return. Some people post much more frequently than that and I admit that I do not read all their posts. I pick a couple and leave the rest. Fortunately there are many others readers in the world to read those I miss.
    When I am reading others’ blogs I always have Hootsuite open so that I can schedule tweets of their posts for the next few hashtag days.
    On my posting days, I prioritise writing before any reading or tweeting. On other writing days, I write first before I read, comment or visit Twitter. I rarely look at Facebook, and when I do, I do little more than like or share.
    One thing I have noticed when sharing the posts of other bloggers is that the number of tweets far exceeds the number of shares on Facebook (I don’t look at the others). This surprises me because I thought Facebook was the place to be. It makes me realise that I am possibly not missing as much as I thought. I am also less active on Twitter now than I used to be. I do not seek others to follow with the same determination as I did in the beginning so my number of followers is not growing. That’s fine. I could not cope with many more genuine followers (inter-actors) than I do now.
    One thing I will say to you, Sarah, is what a wonderful Tweeter you are – you always personalise your tweets. I notice that, and am in awe. 🙂
    Apologies for writing a novel in return, just when you were trying to free up some time! 🙂

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  15. I have more time than most (no job or kids) – I know, I’m lucky – but it still needs taking in hand. When I’ve just finished a novel I spend (a month of) my free time blogging, doing soc med, catching up on the reading list, reviewing, etc etc – and then the times comes to start the next novel and I realise I’ve spent yet another day…. blogging, tweeting, commenting on blogs, reviewing – how on earth did I ever find time to write a 124k word novel???

    When I’m writing, what I do is to allow 1 hour and no more, first thing. Then another half hour in the evening. I blog less, maybe twice a month. Yes, the demands on me are different from yours, but the same principle can be adopted. I think if you want to keep your soc med presence going, to do it at least 4 days a week is important. But only do it if you feel genuinely compelled to do so – it should never be a chore!

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  16. always a problem. If you are a writer, you pretty well HAVE to be on sites, every day even if only for a brief time, not to plug your stuff, but to chat to people and read their stuff. It helps if you like it. I do. And what you put in you get back, in friendship, fun and ultimately book sales.

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  17. I’m so with you on this Sarah. I find I’ve been letting go without intending to and it’s such relief. It’s not the “likes” and shares that matter; it’s the spinning out of the words, the time I make for myself to do just that and the way the practice can spark joy. If I only let it. Once I’ve done that in my day, I’m more motivated to engage online with others. Hope you find your sweet spot. xx

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