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Social Media Fatigue: How To Fight Back

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Do you suffer from a lack of focus?
Do you think in 140-characters?
Do your fingers hurt from holding your iPhone for long periods of time?
Do you speak in shorthand?
Do you run to the restroom while out with friends so you can check your status update?
Do you yell “LIKE!”, “RETWEET” or “PLUS!” when you agree with someone?
Do you reach for your smartphone when anything funny/sad/noteworthy/notatallnoteworthy happens?
Do your loved ones ask you to “just put the phone down for five minutes.”
Do you hear your phone ping even when you have no new notifications?
Do you miss what people verbally tell you because you’re too busy looking at your screen?
Do you stress over how people will react to your status updates?
Do you feel sad when no one comments, likes or retweets you?
Do you say “Hashtag Funny” after telling a joke?
Do you feel compelled to check all of your social networks right before bed?
Do you look like a zombie 14 hours out of the day?

If two or more of these symptoms hits close to home, there’s a chance you have, or are quickly on your way to getting, social media fatigue. Now before you non-sufferers start laughing, it’s a very common issue. In fact, all of you reading this probably “suffer” on some level.

Social Media Fatigue, or SMF, is a real condition. And it’s not just happening to the “techie” sector of our population. Which isn’t surprising considering the amount of time spent online and the amount of information processed. To prove my point, we’re going to look at the statistics of your average Facebook user. Not Twitter, not Foursquare, Not Google Plus. We’re talking your average Facebook user.

  • 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • Average user has 130 friends
  • Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events
  • Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month

On top of that, Facebook’s 250 million active mobile users (which the vast majority of SMF suffers are) are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users.

Whew. And that’s JUST Facebook. Add to that other social networks and an influx of news, videos, blogs, articles, RSS feeds, family updates, friend musings, eblasts, emails, text messages, online advertising and you’ve got a lot of information coming your way. And when you encounter all of these interactions on a daily basis, it’s quite possible you’re feeling the effects of social media fatigue. I know that I’ve felt it.

So what do you do? Do you quit social networks? Nah. Do you turn your phone off? No. Instead of abandoning social media, you must embrace the positives that come from it, shut off the negative and learn how to properly manage it. It’s a must – for you and your sanity. So to help, I’m sharing with you what keeps my sanity (well most of it) in check. If you have other suggestions, please share them with the rest of us, too.

How To Combat SMF: Tips From A Social Media Manager

First and foremost, a few general tips: only YOU have control over the type of content and how much content you interact with everyday. Stop blaming social networks and other people for what you read. You, my dear reader friend, hold the power to unfriend, unsubscribe, unlike, hide, filter and unfollow.

Now take a deep breath and repeat after me “IT IS OKAY TO UNFRIEND PEOPLE.” It’s a proven fact, the birds won’t stop chirping if you unfriend someone.

Take control of your notifications. If someone sends you a message on Facebook, you don’t need an email, a ping from the application and a text message. Decide on one avenue of notification and turn the rest OFF. The same can be said of other social networks.

Facebook

Twitter

  • Find the method of tweeting that works best for you – if your current app is frustrating, take a fresh look at what’s out there.
  • Use lists. This is the saving grace of Twitter, especially if you follow a lot of people. You can make lists of your coworkers, family, sports figures, funny accounts, favorite CMKTG people – the sky is the limit. You can also follow other friend’s lists.
  • Unfollow.

Foursquare

  • This should be the most limited of all your social circles. Only follow and be followed by close connections you personally know.
  • Turn ping notifications off for people you don’t need constant tabs on.

LinkedIn

  • Turn off group notifications.

Tumblr and/or Instagram

  • There are currently no ways to filter or adjust your stream, so follow lightly.

Blogs

  • Use one dedicated go-to source for your favorite blogs, such as Google Reader.
  • Figure out when and how you’re most likely to read blogs and set up a system to easily read them at that time. This will keep you feeling overwhelmed by unread posts and allow you to quickly scan and mark as read. I, for example, found that I was never using my laptop to read Google Reader items. So I setup the NewsRack app on my iPhone to access and sync Google Reader content on the go.

Bookmarks

Finally, set aside time each day to unplug and unwind. Make time to see and speak with family and friends, even if it’s only a stare down or phone call. Your goal shouldn’t be to give up social media, but to put it into perspective rather than letting it take over your life.

Comments(3)

  • October 20, 2011, 10:47 am  Reply

    Angela, I’m laughing out loud when I read: Do you hear your phone ping even when you have no new notifications? It’s like I’m suffering ringing in the ears..only that, the phone is not ringing. I guess, we’re becoming social media zombies these days? I love the tips you wrote here and thanks for sharing them. There’s just this myth that one should be visible 24/7 these days, and I think that social automation tools can help. The key here is automating responsibly though, so you can save up time that you can use to engage with your peers instead. What do you think?

    • October 21, 2011, 10:47 am

      Glad you enjoyed, Aaron! I completely agree – automation can help as long as it’s done responsibly. It turns ugly when people automate and forget that they have posts going out. Knowing what you have scheduled so that you can respond and remove if necessary is of utmost importance!

      • October 27, 2011, 12:55 pm

        Love your insights on automation and yes, it can turn ugly if you’re not responsible enough. Cheers!

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