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Are You in Need of Social Media Detox?

Are you feeling frazzled? Distracted?

Are you constantly sidetracked by the newest social media tool?

Do you find yourself jumping from Twitter to Tumblr to Facebook to Pinterest to Google+ to YouTube, and then back to Facebook to Twitter to … well, you get the idea.

Before you hop on the next latest and greatest platform, maybe it’s time to ask yourself if you really need all those bells, whistles, and widgets.

Time for a Cleanse

You’ve probably seen the headlines. They go something like this: Facebook More Addictive than Tobacco; 50 Signs You’re Addicted to Social Media; Is Twitter Bad for the Brain?  You don’t have to look too far to find studies that outline the negative effects social media consumption can have on our behavior and mental capacities.

I don’t profess to be an expert, but I suspect most of us live in a state of distraction we like to call multitasking. Not only are we juggling the everyday activities of life, work, and relationships, but we’re also trying to tweet, blog, Instagram, analyze and share them. Not to mention see what everyone else is tweeting, blogging, sharing, etc. And that’s where the problem arises.

If you’re suffering from a surfeit of social media, perhaps it’s time to return to the basics.

A Cure for the Common Distractions

Set priorities. Maybe you don’t need to indulge in every social media platform. Revisit your business plan/strategy. What audience are you trying to reach? Analyze where your business is coming from, and focus on those platforms that generate results.

Caveat: this doesn’t mean you put your head in the sand and don’t try new things. But use the appropriate statistics to evaluate and guide your strategy and time commitment.

Use applicable tools. For example, you can use a social media scheduling tool like Buffer. Buffer supports Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, allows you to preset a schedule, and staggers your posts and tweets accordingly throughout the day. It also offers a handy browser extension that works with Chrome, FireFox, and Safari. So when you come across content you’d like to share, you can click the Buffer icon, compose your message, choose which accounts you’d like to share it with, and Buffer will automatically add it to the queue.

HootSuite is another great tool that allows you to schedule and monitor your social media accounts. And you can create your own lists and streams, which enables you to sift through information quickly and/or focus on particular groups more than others.

These are just two examples. Experiment. Find the tools that work for you. Scheduling your content in advance is a healthy way to free up valuable time.

Set boundaries. I know, you were just going to take a quick peek at Facebook before switching projects, but that was 45 minutes ago. What started out as a small bite turned into a binge. Set and follow a schedule to avoid getting sucked into a social media vortex. Block your time according to tasks, and set a timer if necessary. But don’t forget to take breaks, and by all means, reward yourself for good behavior!

What About You?

These are just a couple of ways to regain your focus and still enjoy a balanced diet of social media.
What have you found useful in managing social media overload?

* Photo Credit: Dirk Stoop (Creative Commons)


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