During the Christmas holidays I found many conversations lent themselves to discussing social media, specifically Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter; further, what I noticed about these conversations was they consistently had a negative undertone.
Bemoaned comments like:
“Geeze! Jane* posts 20 times a day! Does she have nothing better to do?”
“Goodness! I get 30 notifications a day. I can’t keep up.”
“Ugh! Sandy wants to connect with me, but I don’t even know who she is!”
If social media causes so much stress, why do we maintain Facebook profiles, tweet on Twitter, and connect on LinkedIn?
That’s easy. To be connected. To stay in touch. To view photos. To be informed. To stay hip.**
But with the desire to remain connected, we’ve managed to stress ourselves out. Too many posts to read. Too many emails. Too many retweets. Too many notifications. Too many tweets. Too many invitations to connect. Too. Much.
With the mindset of providing practical tools to help simplify social media, I have compiled a list of my personal “Top 5 Ways to Simplify Social Media.”
If I had a dollar for every time someone complained about Facebook to me, I would be a very rich woman. As you know, Facebook is a massive social media platform with many intricate tools. Because there are so many moving parts, users can quickly become overwhelmed.
Facebook has changed the definition of friendship. Webster’s Dictionary defines friend as… a person who you like and enjoy being with, as well as a person who helps or supports someone or something.
If you see a “Facebook friend” in the grocery store would you a) stop for a conversation, b) politely nod, or c) pretend you don’t see him/her and hide behind the cereal display. If you answered b or c, I would suggest “unfriending” that individual.
Firstly, it is OKAY to “unfriend” someone on Facebook, more so if that person causes you undue stress through excessive posting, sharing, or game requests.
Secondly, that person DOES NOT receive a notification that you have unfriended them.
To unfriend someone, visit their profile, and click “unfriend” – that’s it. I recommend going through your entire friend list and unfriend anyone who is causing you stress and cluttering your life.
If unfriending is a bit harsh for you, then I would suggest “unfollowing” that person, which means you remain friends but stop receiving updates in their newsfeed.
Newsfeed is the first screen you see when you log into Facebook. It is a customized feed of posts from your friends, Pages you follow, and advertisements. Recently, however, Newsfeed has been cluttered with friend’s actions (e.g. Derek ‘Liked’ this; Wil commented on this) rather than actual posts from friends or Pages. “This” content is not necessarily related to the user because it is comprised of actions from your friend’s friends. (Follow that?) Meaning: You may be seeing a lot of content that has nothing to do with you or your direct friends.
To reduce clutter you can hide posts from your friend’s friends. Hover on the post, and click the small grey arrow in the top right corner. Click “Hide.” You will no longer receive posts in your Newsfeed from people you don’t know. You will have to do this action a lot at the beginning, but will eventually settle.
Personally, Twitter is my favourite social media platform. I love the ease of use, and simple design. That said, many people become overwhelmed by Twitter due to the amount and speed of content, use of the pound symbol, and curious looking links.
A retweet is a tweet that you forward to your followers. A participant in a workshop equated it to “an email forward.” The one-click RT is both a blessing and curse, it is easy to share information, but some people abuse this by RTing too much content. If you enjoy following someone because of their original tweets, but dislike all their RTs, you can turn-off their RTs.
To turn off retweets from a specific user, visit their profile, click the cog, and then click “Turn off Retweets.” You will continue to receive all native tweets, but no second party tweets from that specific user.
Within Twitter users have the ability to create lists of users, which can be public (visible to anyone) or private (visible only to you). You can add any user to one or more lists, and DO NOT have to follow that user. Meaning: You can create a list on a certain topic (e.g. news, athletes, clients) and do not have to have these users clutter your main Newsfeed. Think of it as “Twitter on Demand” for specific and customized topics.
To add someone to a list, visit their profile, click the cog, and click “Add to List.” If you currently do not have a list, click “Create New List”. Check the box, then start adding people to your list!
Lists are a great way to stay informed about specific topics on-demand, rather than these topics cluttering your newsfeed.
As the senior-citizen of social media platforms (It launched 1 year before Facebook), LinkedIn is working to redefine itself as a social media site for professionals, and students. Its membership growth is currently 2 new members per SECOND! Speaking of which…
Have you ever received an “Invitation to Connect” from someone you didn’t know? I am going to assume, YES. Invitations from strangers are a common concern among LinkedIn users. Your next step, however, is up to your personal preference.
Firstly, I only recommend connecting with people you know. This is for your personal privacy, as well as to maintain the legitimacy of your ‘professional network.’ It is better to have a solid network of 150 people, than 1500 who stress you out, and continually SPAM you with inMail. In addition, more often that you think, people will say to me: “Hey, I saw on LinkedIn you know John Smith too! How do you know him?” What would you say if you didn’t know the person?
If you choose not to connect with someone you can choose one of two actions: a) click ignore request, or b) do nothing. By choosing ‘b’ you leave the opportunity open in the event you eventually meet this person – making it easier to connect. This is the option that I choose, as I never know when I will meet someone IRL (in real life).
While there are many other tips to simplify social media, I hope you enjoyed hearing my “Top 5 Ways to Simplify Social Media.”
Do you have your own suggestions? Share below!
*Names have been changed.
**I can’t take credit for this comment, as it was made in a workshop I hosted in 2013.