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How–and why–I changed my social media sharing and participation habits

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I’ve been hearing and talking a lot lately with folks about the way people are creating and sharing differently on social networks.

Much has been written recently about Facebook, in particular, and how fewer people are creating and sharing content there–and what that could mean for the future of Facebook (and social media, in general).

SM Sharing

So, I started thinking about how I create and share on social these days. And, as I reflected, I realized a lot of my views and opinions have changed over the last few years. And, as a result, my actions have changed, too.

Overall, I’ve definitely trended toward creating and sharing less–which, according to many reports, is part of the trend.

For me, my behaviors have changed for a few different reasons:

Family activities have ramped up.

As our kids get older, family and kid activities are taking off. Basketball practices, gymnaastics, more studying, band concerts. It all adds up. And it all takes priority over sharing the latest moment on Facebook. When my kids were younger, it was actually easier to be more active online. They went to bed earlier. They didn’t have as many activities. I had some degree of “downtime.” That’s over and done with now 🙂

My life really isn’t that interesting.

No really. Here’s my life right now: Work. Sleep. Kid stuff. Maybe golf. So, unless you want a steady stream of pics of me on the golf course, there’s not a lot for me to share (visually, at least). I know this was a key part of the discussion as social media started to gain popularity–who cares what you’re eating for lunch? Why do I need to see 40 pics of your new baby? Maybe some of that has caught up with me. Maybe I want a little of my privacy back. It might be a combo platter. Whatever the case, I just don’t believe I have as much to share as I did 3-5 years ago.

I don’t want to add to the noise.

Sure, I definitely have opinions on a number of topics. Truth be told, I probably have too many opinions and too many topics. But, so too does everyone else. And sometimes I just feel like I’m adding to the noise around a particular topic. This is why I look for specific topics and themes to comment on within Facebook these days (sports, golf, personal stuff). I usually tend to stay away from politics completely. I tend to stay away from the “topic of the day”. Sure, I discuss key topics as they relate to PR/marketing–but my approach there has changed, too. 3-5 years ago, I would pile on to the conversations my peers are having on Twitter and Facebook each day. Today, I’m just getting a little tired of it. Case in point, the recent “should brands tweet when a celebrity passes away” conversation. We’ve been having that discussion for 5-7 years now–AT LEAST. I’m completely bored with it. My opinion has not changed. And, neither has the discussion. Again–I just don’t want to add to the noise.

I was an early adopter.

For the early adopters (like me), Facebook and Twitter are now going on 7-9 years old. That’s 7-9 years of constantly posting and creating content. That has wore me down the last year or so. The first few years, it was super fun and exciting. We were breaking new ground. We were blazing new trails. Now, it seems like work. It’s heavy. It’s hard. It’s not as fun. Huge bummer.

So, what does my social sharing and participation look like today? It’s actually pretty simple. I’m actually still producing almost the same amount of content as I was 3-5 years ago–I’m just “participating” less. Here’s my routine/approach.

Still blogging 2-3 times per week.

I’m still writing 2-3 blog posts per week. If you’re a blogger/writer, you know how much work that is. Nothing to sneeze at. I’m still putting in 8-12 hours per week on the blog. I continue to do this for two big reasons: 1) I have to–it’s a big part of my job and new business strategy, and 2) I LOVE to write. I started this blog because I love to write. And that’s why I continue it each week.

Sharing and repurposing blog posts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

All part of the blog “promotion” process–share on Twitter and Facebook, and repurpose some posts on my personal profile on LinkedIn. This participation and sharing is minimal.

Posting pics on vacations/trips on Instagram

Besides the “big three”, the other social network I participate on is Instagram. And 80 percent of my Instagram involvement these days comes on vacations. I might post once in two weeks, but I’ll post 15 pics in 3 days on a long weekend up north. I mean, if you’ve been to the North Shore, you know why. And, I’m taking my family to Yellowstone in four weeks. So, get ready for about 456 pics of buffalo, bears and moose in a week-long span 🙂

Bulk of time = scanning/lurking

The irony is I spend the bulk of my social media “participation” time these days lurking. I’m constantly scanning Facebook and LinkedIn for articles and tidbits I can use for: 1) The Talking Points Podcast, 2) The Talking Points e-newsletter, 3) Clients, 4) Professional development/learning, and 5) Personal interest. This is the flip. 3-5 years ago, I was actively involved on Twitter and Facebook. I was posting much more on Instagram. Today, I’m a total lurker. I’m not a “content creator” on social networks. I’m a contributor. A scanner.

I’m sure my sharing and participation approach will continue to morph and change. For now, like I said, I’m happy being a lurker and semi-regular contributor of longer-form content. Maybe that will shift again soon. After all, my kids are now 8 and 11. They’ll undoubtedly be on Snapchat soon. Who knows, maybe I’ll become a “Snapchat influencer”, make my millions and retire to the North Shore.

Stranger things have happened.

photo credit: Open Space with Ron via photopin (license)

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How–and why–I changed my social media sharing and participation habits

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