Everything comes down to energy. When you feel uplifted and eager to share from your time and attention, you are in a good place. If you are feeling drained – you are drained. Your energy has flown elsewhere without immediate return. Follow the flows and you know where to place your focus.
~ Maria Lehtman
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the multitude of online communities? I am. And I work in the field as a profession. Whatever the number of social media users is today, it will be higher tomorrow. According to GMSA, SIM connections will reach 9.2 billion (from 7.9 billion in 2018) by 2025, and that is excluding the cellular IoT. (More in the infographic here.) The figure entails the potential of social networks within a close reach.
The choice is ours – or is it?
We might want to settle on a particular social media channel and stay there for good. What happens on that platform is another story altogether. Rules of engagement will change, sometimes dramatically several times a year. Companies make acquisitions, follow regulations, pick and choose what rules to adhere to and how given that many operate on a global market place.
What does it have to do with us? Plenty.
We are the ones who spend our time on social media. And we need to choose if the time we spend on a platform and the network is worth our time. Are the connections you make genuine? Do they inspire you? Do they provide information and value to your life? Do they bring you closer to your family, friends, and peers? Do they allow you to develop your skills? If the circumstances cut you off from the tool, would that make a big difference to your life?
If you can answer ‘Yes’ to all these questions – then your time may be worthwhile on the network. If you answered ‘No’ to any of them – consider what that means to you. Is the platform the right one for you? Do you need to add something in your social media portfolio? Or do you need to consider what and how you post?
Let’s take a quick leap of faith and think that all of them went down in one go…
What would you do with the time given to you?
Let’s say you were able to keep your cellular network and the Internet, but none of the social media platforms. You would feel disabled for a few days certainly, but you did live without them several years ago. In fact, not that long ago.
I will tell you what I would do. Spend more time outdoors and creating artwork, photographing, actually seeing my family and friends and calling them, doing more forward planning, household chores, gardening, sports or just being out in the nature, spending my time on this very website, writing books, and reading books, and just being with myself listening to music, meditating. Perhaps not all of them in a short period, and not a great deal of everything – but a little of everything.
It is so easy to slip into the ‘what-everyone-else-does’ mode. I realize that the better my health is, the more I have an opportunity to be on social networks. My epiphany one day was that I had scrolled down easily 100 images and posts without actually reading a single one. If the image immediately caught my attention, I liked it.
To adapt my style, I looked for the ones that were ‘down-my-alley’ and started re-posting them with a little tagline. However, only if they came from groups, I was part of, and people’s personal accounts that I trusted will keep. Accounts, groups, company sites change owners. Your likes may be inherited by someone else than the original owner. I would rather not gamble with where my ‘votes’ go.
The second thing I did was to limit my engagement to the ones I wanted to give a closer look. I still scroll the feed, but only for a little while. I pick one or two posts that I read with thought, look at the links, and send back a positive, thought-out comment to the author.
What will they remember about us?
In the movie ‘Mortal Engines’ the history of current people has been near forgotten. A museum has fragmented pieces of the past. The historians assume people could not read or write. All they found were empty black screens. It was meant to be amusing, and in a way, it was. After all, we have ancient carvings from several thousands of years ago, but this very text you are reading – is a vanishing product. The movie may have been a flop, but I never cared for the ratings. What matters is what I see and what I get out of it.
My challenge to you is: whatever it is that you feel that you should be doing with some of the time you are in social media, ensure you do it. One way or another. Express yourself. More than anything, your unique voice, and style matters!
People will follow you for quoting great names and pictures. However, you will not be who they remember unless you create a connection with what you are posting. Here are a few examples – and please note, these are also for B2B engagements. I cannot even count how many times I have seen the same quotes re-posted on the same platforms over and over again…
Connect with the people whose work you are posting, always give credit, and see if the source is willing to contribute to their thoughts or work further. This assuming the contributors are still alive and well – many great minds out there have unfortunately left us by now.
- Balance your feed with featured and your own content – you have your voice, your talent, let it be heard.
- Avoid clichés. Easier said than done, but try to go a little deeper than the most quoted of referenced content unless you have a new angle on it.
- If you go with the most referenced quote, image or other types of content, share what makes it unique to you. Why does it mean so much to you that you wanted to share it? Even one personalized sentence is better than none.
- If you choose mainstream, then, e.g., memes (without compromising or exposing context) are a great way to personalize even the most common piece of content.
- Add value to the people you share content from. What would make them more inspired? How can you motivate each other or win more together?
In the end, think about the legacy that you are building. What does it say about you and your character? Does it tell a story about you, or what is expected by social media followers? Never forget that your true connections are genuinely interested in you.
What I remember from the time I have been on our little blue-and-green-pearl-planet floatings amidst the vast deep oceans of space are the moments I have spent with people I care about. The fleeting moments of happiness, connection, humor, sarcasm, even sadness. Shared emotions make this life more real, more authentic, unique.
I may not leave a great legacy behind in other than the inspiration and love that I have hoped to share, and a pile of healing crystals, and a few of my books if they survive. However, they come from the heart. And they are meant for each person to receive their way. There are no rules of how love should feel like, other than pure energy. Abundance. Whatever you feel in your network around you, with anyone, ensure you share energy and empowerment both ways.
Time well spent is a castle within us filled with memories. You can look at the walls decked with pictures as far as the eye can see. Stand close to them, and they will lead you into their four-dimensional world. As if in a dream, you remember: “This is what life feels like!”
~ Maria Lehtman
- GSMA I https://www.gsma.com/
- GSMA Global Market Infographic I https://www.gsmaintelligence.com/research/?file=5a33fb6782bc75def8b6dc66af5da976&download
- Mortal Engines, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRsFc2gguEg