The personal social media usage manual

Given how much social media there is in our lives, I have found it helpful to have a social media usage manual and engagement philosophy.

The principle that guides this manual, in my case, is that a “free” product isn’t really free. The opportunity cost of time and distraction takes a massive toll on our limited attention and ability to produce. My approach has been as follows –

Multiple times a day

Purpose: Connect and communicate with people I work with, build serendipitous virtual connections and relationships
Engagement notes: I check email multiple times a day and keep inbox zero. It works great for my kind of ADD – so much so that I have to frequently ask myself if I am overdoing it and becoming too obsessed. My email volume is very reasonable so I still love email and love hearing from folks on the internet – especially the readers of this blog.

Once a day – checking and responding to notifications restricted to the morning when I share my blog post for the day with a few rare exceptions:

Purpose: Share blog posts, serendipitous connections with old acquaintances, stay in touch with events at graduate school via groups (this use case will definitely lessen shortly)
Engagement notes: I only check my own profile page and notifications and get a lot of value from Facebook on most days. I haven’t checked my feed in 4 years – I was prone to envy growing up and I think the feed exacerbates that. I’m also easily distracted. So, one less thing that’s very distracting is very helpful.
Connection philosophy: Most people who have mutual friends (if I don’t know them) who want to connect. My Facebook “friends” list became unmanageable a long time ago.

Purpose: Share blog posts, occasionally publish a LinkedIn post, and go through the feed every once a while.
Engagement notes: I go through the top items of my every morning. Most of the notes are professional and I’ve regularly found interesting reads on my feed. I am also very biased as I’ll be going to work at LinkedIn.
Connection philosophy: Having gotten a bit of flak about this in the past, I try VERY hard to keep my LinkedIn connections to people I know. But, this is hard to do.

Purpose: Share blog posts and have serendipitous exchanges with random folks on the interweb.
Engagement notes: I rarely work through anything more than the top tweet (unless it is a very slow day). But, I do enjoy the randomness of Twitter for the 2 minutes I am on it every day.

I’m not sure if WordPress counts as a social network – but I do show up on my blog once a day. I am a rare YouTube user when I’m looking for something. But, this is more or less it.

I find it helpful to have a social media manual and engagement philosophy. It helps me question if the purpose is being met from time to time and ensure I’m using services in a way that is actually valuable.

social media usage manualImage Source

4 thoughts on “The personal social media usage manual”

  1. “a “free” product isn’t really free. The opportunity cost of time and distraction takes a massive toll on our limited attention and ability to produce.”

    This couldn’t have been put forward in a better way. This is a wonderful way to describe the money value of time.

  2. I recently began time blocking my social media usage. I have 3 “blocks” in which I am checking my FB, IG etc… I like your idea of notes to keep checks and balances to ensure the time is well spent.

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