Posts Tagged “social-media”

Finding the Value in Twitter

I think of social media as one of those necessary evils in life. I’m well aware of the benefits of globally connected platforms that keeps people in touch, especially in the event of a natural disaster or event. Social media has proved itself as great way to keep people in contact with others. Like I said, that’s all good, but a good social media platform has value. Things that interest me as a consumer. Links, text, images. Anything that falls within my interests is valuable.

Lately it seems that Twitter has been failing in this respect. There’s doesn’t seem to be any value in Twitter anymore. I’m in a constant battle of finding people to follow and unfollowing people that don’t tweet anymore. This wasn’t a problem when I first used Twitter as I could see the value from my timeline. Interesting tweets and links had value and it kept me checking into my timeline on a regular basis. Now, it seems that I can go a couple of days without checking Twitter and not miss anything.

I was an early user of Twitter. A year after it launched I created my Twitter account. After a few years though I wasn’t seeing the same value that I seen in the early years of Twitter and so I closed my account. I ended up re-creating my account on Twitter last year. There’s a problem though. The problem lies in the fact that I haven’t a clue what I’m using Twitter for. Since starting my Twitter account up again, I’ve had a few interactions with others and it serves it’s purpose in a few areas, but mostly I’m wondering if I even need it at all.

These days though I’m stepping back from Twitter and using it mainly as a source of content to consume rather than to publish things. I’m also keeping my use of it sporadic. I’ve noticed a few other people are changing the way they use Twitter as well. People that I know would tweet all through the day are now down to just tweeting a handful of times a day at most. I’ve even stopped using tools like Buffer for sharing content. I just don’t see the need in tools like that when I’m more of an infrequent visitor to Twitter.

So is Twitter still valuable? I think it’s largely lost it’s value for me. I only check it a couple of times a day. Twitter has it’s uses but I don’t see the great need for it like I did a few years ago. It still has a value for my freelancing business and I’m in the process of moving some of the people I follow to that account, but that is a topic for tomorrow’s post.

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Stop Reacting

Seriously, stop reacting.

Stop checking Twitter, Facebook, email and anything else that’s driven by notifications. In fact just turn off all notifications. Turn them off on your computer, phone and tablet. Notifications are the great reactive intruder that ruins your focus. With notifications turned off, you’ll stop reacting to the outside forces that will destroy your focus.

Stop putting the work aside that should be doing for the work you need to do. Yes there are things we need to do, but we should be smart enough to identify the work we need to do and schedule it in for the appropriate time in the future. It then becomes work we should be doing at the right time. Continually reacting to work that needs to be done shows a lack of planning. Plan ahead to eliminate reactive work.

Stop reacting aimlessly to changes in your life. Aim for a point in the distant future and work towards it. The world will do it’s best to try and push you off track. Changes in family, career, finances and health can be negotiated with a slight detour but you can still arrive at the place that you initially aimed for.

Stop reacting. It can be done.

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Small Is Good

Twitter and Facebook are huge in terms of the number of users they have, but is this always a good thing?

Not a week goes by where I’m reminded of the popularity of social networks. Whenever there’s a global event happening, you can be sure that there will be lots of updates about it. Not only that but when you turn on the television now every company and brand has a related Facebook page or a Twitter account. Twitter and Facebook are everywhere. It seems that everyone is on one or the other. Well okay, not quite everyone but it’s safe to say that most are.

Last night was the opening night of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Aside from the first part of the opening ceremony with the giant dancing Tunnocks teacakes, it went fairly well. Like most big events I wondered if anyone was talking about it on App.net. I fired open my App.net client to check. No one had mentioned it. Not one post. Up until the first hour I don’t think there was a single post about it. I breathed a sigh relief.

Why the relief? Well there was no negative comments, bitching or snide remarks. You didn’t have to cut through the negativity. In this case you didn’t have to cut through anything at all. It was refreshing to not have to filter through people’s views, posts, pictures and other stuff.

And that’s what I love about App.net. It’s a small community of people. Okay it might not have the millions of users that other social networks has but if the people in your timeline are not sharing in the same event as yourself then it’s okay. They might just be doing something else that matters to them. It’s a nice reminder that despite what happening around your part of the world, there’s other things happening around the rest of the world too.

If App.net continues to gain users at a slower rate than other networks then that’s okay. As long as it remains profitable and continues to serve it’s users I’ll keep on calling it my little part of the social internet.

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Limiting Your Social Networks

Many of you will know through my posts that I’m a big App.net fan. It’s my goto place when I want to drop in on conversations, strike up news ones with others and also just as a place to post what I am doing. It’s also the one public social network that I participate in.

I’ve never been interested in creating a Facebook account as I simply seeing as being too much of an overhead to maintain. I also deleted my Twitter account this year. It was coincidental that the timing of this action happened at the same time as Twitter were enforcing new rules on the use of their API. I just felt that I wasn’t getting anything back from Twitter in terms of value.

Since switching to a single public social network, I’ve noticed a number of positive things that have occurred as a result of my limiting action.

No more drowning in micro-information

The first thing I immediately noticed was that I was no longer constantly checking my Twitter timeline. Looking back I wonder now why I even had an account there in the first place. It’s a social network for micro-updates that only offers limited information in each post. I did find it interesting hearing what other people were working on, but Twitter’s post limit of 140 characters seriously limits the amount of context you can put on a post.

Less apps and services to use

With just one social network to my name, I have less apps on all my devices. It’s a minor thing but having less apps on my devices means less time updating them, searching for new ones and of course less time checking them. I also work with a ‘one in, one out rule’. As much as possible I will try and keep the number of products and services I use down to a minimum. That means that more often than not, I will replace older apps with new apps rather than running two at the same time.

Less of a digital footprint

I like keeping a small digital footprint. Nothing to do with trying to stay under the radar in terms of the government spying on you, but more to do with my own data and it’s safety. As soon as I stop using a product or service I try and delete the account I had with that product or service. I do this because I don’t want my login details lying around on another companies database when it doesn’t need to.

It’s not for everyone

Limiting yourself isn’t for everyone, but it was amazing to see how little I depended on Twitter after just a couple of weeks of deleting my account. I used to think of social networks as places to find more information on topics, but the truth is that I find everything I need in the form of blogs, newsletters and podcasts.

I now see social networks as more of a place for conversation. Fortunately App.net does this aspect of interaction very well and I’m happy to remain a paying subscriber to it.

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