Editing My Social Noise: Choosing To Remove Certain Social Media Apps From My iPhone

 

Earlier this year, tired of not being able to hear my own thoughts through the “noise” I subjected myself online on a daily basis, I took a two-week sabbatical from social media. So committed to my “social media detox,” I went as far as deactivating my Facebook account and logged out of everything else on my computer and iPhone. I hid all the apps in a folder on the last screen of my smart devices, buried out of sight and out of mind. A strange thing happened, after the “withdrawal symptoms” of habitually checking my screen every 10 minutes to feel validated as a member of society subsided, I started hearing my own voice again. Gone was the gargled stream of collective consciousness that drowned my own ideas of self, core values and creative expression. I started interacting IN PERSON with friends and family. I exercised and cooked healthy meals from scratch. I read BOOKS! I started writing a workshop and a book. I felt amazing from the inside out. I had rediscovered ME!!! But by June, I was a “social media user” again.

 

Rewinding back in time before this sabbatical… I have to let you know that I came into being a “user” quite honestly for my job’s sake. It all started back in 2006 with Twitter and Blogger (yah, that old blog platform! thanks Google!)  for my destination wedding photography business, Lifework Images. I needed to spread the word about my business in a hip new way and used social media to forge new relationships in cities, states, and countries I’d never been, but would be working in. Then in 2010, I’d gotten good enough utilizing those two platforms that I was brought on to the BlackRapid team to lead social media and assist their global launch in more than 50 countries over the course of a year. At the start were only 800 Twitter followers and a brand spankin’ new Facebook Page with zero followers. Auto-schedulers were not available then and our message needed to be spread real-time, so I’d Tweet and post to our audience by time zones in 16-20 hour marathons.

After my success with BlackRapid, I got back to my photography roots as a freelance shooter and host on CreativeLive. By then I had created and maintained accounts on nearly 30 social sites for just myself: Facebook (profile), Facebook Page, two Twitter accounts, Google+, Google+ Page, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, Skype, About.me, Audioboo, Delicious, reddit, Foursquare, tumblr, Vine, Snapchat, Ustream, SpreecastMyspaceSee.meFlickr, oggl, Quora. On top of that, I designed and managed 3 websites for my business, another 3 for clients, and was changing the visual landscape of theatre with my photography project and coordinating marketing launches with over 20 theatres and 200 artists.

Keeping up on all of this was possible by being glued to my phone 24/7, 365 days a year. Holidays, important family events, on the job, in the car, wherever I was, you could be sure to find my face staring blankly at a glowing screen like a robot.

 

Let’s get one thing straight: I LOVE MY PHONE. It’s the first thing I touch in the morning, the last thing I touch before bed. And that, my friends, is LAME. The big realization that I was a “user” again was at 4:30am this morning, unable to sleep, and reading a ton of crappy news on every channel available on my phone. But there was only gem:  “Getting My Brain Back” by John Biggs on TechCrunch.

So taking John’s cue, at 7:35am this morning, I took Facebook, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn off of my phone. I’ve always treated social networks as part of “the job” and so now, if I want to be on those social sites, I will be on them via my computer during business hours. Already it’s been a much more positive day and yes, I am getting my brain back and editing what social noise I partake in. You are what you eat read, right?

Home Screen Before Facebook   Home Screen After Facebook
My home screen this morning (left) and this afternoon (right). No more Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn is gone from my social folder as well. That whole folder will be coming down next…

 

Now prompts a question that I get quite often: “As creatives/entrepreneurs, how do I keep up with followers/SEO on all of these social networks? I only have a couple now and don’t have time to maintain and interact with people on THOSE, but somehow we are supposed to be active on all of them all the time to get business?” (Thanks for prompting this conversation, Anita!)

Oh boy, do I GET it. And just like you, fight with the same thoughts/challenges every day. You know what? We only have so much time and energy in a day, and we want to be able to live our lives wholeheartedly too. This means we want to be able to touch base with our social worlds but not spend every waking moment glued to a screen, and need to bring our social lives to more in-person interactions with our true family, friends, colleagues, and clients. That’s real life!

My recommendation: choose only a few social networks you WANT to commit to, but have a profile set up on the rest. There are a a ton of social networks so grab your screen name on the most popular ones and set up your name, bio, photo, and link to your website. Then select 2-4 that you really enjoy being on AND where your targeted client spends their time, and invest your online social activity to those select few. They say to consistently post throughout the day every day, but in all honestly, who has time for that when you have a business and a real life? Just do your best and commit to living a happy life. When you choose to post on any platform, the honesty and importance of your words will shine.

 

BONUS READ:

My current iPhone app organization: Messenger is a nice app to maintain important conversations and I find a lot of my clients use this in lieu of email. Pinterest I use as a fun creative outlet a few evenings a week planning meals, figuring out my wardrobe, and designing my home. The eye candy here I use to enhance and uplift my lifestyle. I’m really happy and positive when I create something fun here. Instagram is the insight to my photography, fashion, and celebrity world. Besides a few spammy ads that people put up, it’s a visual creative outlet and de-cluttered from most negative news. Lots of fun camera and video apps – because I’m a photographer! And music, games, restaurant and shopping apps. I actually save about $100-$200 a month by comparison shopping on some of these. But looking over the entire lot, I think I’ll be able to par this down quite a bit and will be working on minimizing the configuration.

Home Screen After Facebook   Second Screen After Facebook   Third Screen After Facebook

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