Social Media Overload and How to Avoid It
Social media overload! Too much! Too much! [Image by Karl Newark]
Just a few short years ago, there were only a couple of social networks that mattered. Facebook and Twitter were pretty much where everyone hung out. It was pretty easy to keep both sites updated and keep your finger on the pulse of what each site had to offer. As more people have become social and more companies have realized just how valuable those connections are, social networks have popped up everywhere. Gone are the days of simplicity in sharing. Welcome to the time of social media overload.

I’m Experiencing Social Media Overload! Hand Me a Flag!

Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. Google Plus. Pinterest. YouTube. Reddit. Tumblr. LinkedIn. The list goes on and on — and on. Infinity. I’m getting tired just trying to list the ones deemed important these days. I have profiles on them all, much as you likely have. Somehow, I maintain them all. Once in a while, I even find the time to update a few. Hand me a white flag. I admit it: I’m burned out. Overwhelmed. Overloaded. Stick a fork in me — I want to be done.

Yes, that sounds a tad dramatic. I feel dramatic when I stop to think for even 10 seconds about trying to keep up with all of these spaces. I adore the connections I have made, the jobs I’ve landed due to these places, and the knowledge I have been blessed with along the way. But geez, at what point do we decide that social media is taking far too much time out of our lives?

I’m at that point, but I realized something yesterday: there is no good reason to overload myself. Why do I feel the need to be everywhere? What am I really going to miss if I’m not spread so thin? I have to be on those aforementioned networks all day every day for work, on more than one personal/company account. Is it any wonder I find myself dragging at the thought of then logging in as little old me?

In the Words of Lamarr: “sssSTOP IT!”

Feeling the strain of social media overload? That’s right. Stop. Walk away. Go so far as to deactivate a few of your profiles, or allow them to go stagnant while still keeping your username. I promise it won’t hurt. You won’t lose any jobs, friends, or information. You will still be able to do and have these things, but you’ll also have your sanity once again. There is honestly no good reason to keep beating your head against a proverbial wall while trying to maintain some “presence” on a gazillion sites. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong. Yes, it’s a good idea to make a basic profile if keeping a particular username is important to you or your company. That does not mean you have to actually build out the profile and maintain it.

But I Have to Be Where My Customers/Fans/Followers Are!

Well yes, in a sense you need to be there. But you honestly don’t have to be everywhere. Keeping only a couple of well-run social properties and pointing to them from a central location (such as your blog or website) and cross-linking in your information/about sections will allow people to find you. How many customers do you think you’ll gain if you try to jump onto 12 websites instead of four? Seriously? I’d stake my entire professional reputation on the fact that the number is far less than you think.

Keep It Simple, Silly!

Whether you are reading this as a person who just wants to have fun online, a social media manager for a company or someone who wants to make connections in order to get ahead in the workplace, you need to slow your roll — or you’ll fall victim to social media overload! In any of these instances, you need to be on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ at the very least. In many cases, it’s also a good idea to be on Pinterest. The other networks have benefits, yes, but you do not have to be there beyond keeping a landing place so your name is reserved.

Okay, So Where Should I Be?

I’m so glad you asked! I already mentioned “the big three” and Pinterest. In my humble opinion, you need nothing else — with one exception. LinkedIn. If you are online in a professional capacity of any type, you must have a well-maintained profile on LinkedIn. I’m not going to bore you with the reasons why. There are many guides to tell you why and how to work this website. Just trust me. Do it.

The only way to avoid social media overload is to simply stop overloading yourself. Rip that bandage off and breathe a sigh of relief. You’ll thank me for it within one day. Pinky swear.