How I Stopped Being a Social Media Glutton

This post is part of the week-long series on FOMO. So far, we've defined FOMO and talked about ways to escape network notifications. How many social media accounts do you have now?

Well, really, we should break this question down into two parts.

  1. How many social media accounts are your actively using?
  2. How many social media accounts have you signed up for?

Part of my "day job" activities include keeping up with which networks are out there and how they best serve businesses' marketing needs. At one point or another, I signed up for nearly every major network and went through spurts of high activity on each. It's research, right? (I have lots of good rationalizations like that one.)

And then came Klout. Ooh, buddy. Klout is like the social media geek's top bench press limit. I just picture a couple of social media types gathered around with a conversation like this one:

"What's your Klout?" "47" "I see." "I mean, it could be higher. I've just, you know, been busy lately. My kids--" "No, it's cool. 47's not bad. Really." "Yeah... What's yours?" "72, but I've been at it a while. It's not easy to bust out of the 60's." "Oh wow. That's really good." "Well, keep at it. You'll get there. It doesn't happen overnight."

Klout really is a fascinating service because it tries to quantify your influence online. There are other services like this on the web, but Klout is certainly one of the most well-known.

Once you start checking your score through Klout or a similar service on a regular basis, you start to enter this obsessive craze. Talk about FOMO at its finest. You start looking for all the ways you can drive up your score, and having multiple social media networks definitely helps!

If you really want to see people freak out some, just let Klout adjust their algorithm a bit. Suddenly, people who were ranking a bit higher lose 5 or 10 points from their score, and they freak out. You know, some people don't see it as that big a deal, but other people are pointing to Klout and similar services as the wave of the future - maybe even something you should put on your resumé. Losing points from your social influence score? That's like telling the world you've certainly lost your touch.

Cutting Back

At one point, I tried to reconcile which information to place on Instagram, Quora, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, Twitter, MySpace (the new one), Goodreads, and Foursquare. Should I post the same content to multiple services? Should I tweak the wording on at least a few of them? And on it went.

I became so wrapped up in developing some master strategy that would make every account fit together that I wasn't actually connecting with anyone. I wasn't reaping the benefits of any of the networks. Spending all my time finding enough material to churn out onto all those networks was turning my channels into broadcast networks filled with mediocre content. I wasn't enjoying it, and neither was anyone else.

So I started cutting. Not just reducing the number of posts, but I started deleting accounts: Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and MySpace. Quora and Goodreads are only very occasional networks for me, and I pretty much only use Facebook now to respond to friends who don't use the networks I prefer. (And just in the interest of covering all the bases here, I don't really remember to use Foursquare, anyway.)

I spend my time on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ these days. And G+ gets the bulk of my attention.

Now, social activity is about trying to connect with people. Not impress them. Not get them all to buy or subscribe or whatever marketing term you could fit here.

It's about the connection.