An Essentialist Approach To Social Media

A while ago—maybe it was three or four years—it became trendy to put social media media icons on one’s blog. The point, I suppose, was to allow readers to follow the blogger on various social media accounts. If you like reading someone’s blog, it’s logical to assume you will probably enjoy their musings on Twitter, Facebook, etc. as well.

I’ve had social media icons on my blog for ages now. I’m sure it’s been years, which is an eternity in Internet Time. One thing that has changed, though, is the amount I have. I’ve gone from having a ton of icons—Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, Pinterest, and probably some others I can’t even remember—to having only a few. The reason for this is I’ve shut down a lot of social media accounts over the years. I felt like they were sapping my energy that could be better spent writing on this blog (in the case of Tumblr, see item 15 on this list), were annoying in general (Facebook), or I simply didn’t use them anymore (Flickr). Today, I use only three social media sites with any regularity: Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

British-born author Greg McKeown wrote a book called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. (He also has some videos on the subject if you can’t/won’t read the book. But you should read the book because it’s awesome.) In it, he argues that people are trying to do too much nowadays, and that, paradoxically, is making us less productive than ever. By concentrating on fewer things—the things that actually matter—we can be more productive and less stressed, both at work and in our personal lives.

I’ve found this philosophy to be very useful. Remember when I stopped following the news? It took up so much time and made me stressed and now that I’m not following it, I feel so much better. It was just too much to focus on.

Social media is the same way, at least for me. I’ve heard advice urging bloggers to be on as many social media platforms as possible in order to promote their blogs. If I were on a ton of social media sites every day promoting this blog, I’d possibly have more visits—but I’d have no time to do anything else in my life!

Social media can be fun, but it could quickly take over your life. In general, I think it’s better to steer clear of most social media sites. Do you really need to visit Facebook multiple times a day? (If you think you’ll lose touch with your friends, you probably aren’t that close to them, anyway. The only people I’ve lost touch with since quitting Facebook are people I didn’t talk to for years.) Do you really need to spent hours mindlessly scrolling through Twitter and Pinterest and Instagram? I admit to having done that with the first two, but I’m trying to limit my time on those sites. Instead, read a book, start writing a blog—or best of all, go make a nice crocheted afghan.