Blogging & Social Media, time for a change

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I'm tired of social media. I enjoy using it but it's all just too much, too loud, too intrusive, too impersonal. Take the new kid on the block, Periscope. Last week I installed the app and dutifully followed the people I follow everywhere else and then there was a real moment of WHY AM I EVEN DOING THIS? These people I follow on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blah blah blah. Just how much do I NEED to see of the same peoples lives? Will watching people I don't know actively enrich my life or will it be yet another social media time drainer? At a time where I am trying to cut back to make time for more real life experiences I knew what had to be done, I removed the app. In the future I'm going to carefully consider what I do and do not sign up for, I am guilty of being too quick to sign up to something new 'just because everyone else is talking about it'. I like the concept of stopping for a moment and asking myself 'is this going to enrich my life?' and if the answer is 'no' then it's not going to be for me. Maybe a small change in how I approach these things can make a big change to the quality of my life.

I find myself increasingly frustrated by the value put on social media followings and how in my eyes it's all just wrong. People with large followings often ironically have less interaction than those with more smaller and personal followings, but yet so often, valued more. Of my social followers, the numbers, only a few of them mean something real and tangible to me - so why have I attached such value to having more? Would I like to delete my social profiles and start again, keeping to those I hold dearest? Yes. Would I? No. I know I have had opportunities in the past because of my social followings and starting again would be soul-fulfilling yet professionally-suicidal. But I do believe that there are always ways to improve any situation without having to sacrifice everything or make a grand gesture.

I find the treadmill of self promotion, of building a following, time consuming and un-enjoyable. I publish a blog post, share to Twitter, maybe schedule a tweet for later in the day too, share to Facebook page (pointless) and personal profile (always more beneficial). Stop, have a sip of coffee. Breath. Pin images from the post that I deem suitable. Share to Google + (for no other reasons to come up better on Google searches). Send out an email to my email subscribers. Job done. It's not the most aggressive of social media self promotion, I know, but really dislike it. I don't want to run round like a hamster on a wheel, constantly trying to get people to READDDDD MYYYY BLOGGGG. I want to create content that I am proud of that other people might relate to or find interesting, to focus on nurturing relationships with regular readers rather than frittering away effort trying to get more readers

A very wise friend emailed me last week after I posted my thoughts on blogging and mentioned that maybe if you surround yourself with good people, that you resonate with, that it that can be as effective as a big community. The result being a much more genuine and honest thing,  filled with friendship and a shared enthusiasm for what each other is doing. That makes such sense. I'm going to be spending less time on social media and replacing reading a broad range of blogs with more time on reading and getting involved with what those people online that  I love and respect, making more meet ups happen. Nurturing friendships and cultivating meaningful connections that are real and will enrich my life.

Regular readers will know that I'm doing this 7 Steps to Slow Things Down free 7 day email course (to help you ditch the chaos and embrace positive change) from Creative Countryside and I've decided to act on the steps in it regarding my blogging and online life as opposed to my home life as I identified early on that most of the things that cause me stress revolve around that area. I'm making a series of changes on how I use and view social media and indeed involve myself in the wider blogging community as a whole. I plan on sharing on social media still but not using it so much. My Pinterest & G+ apps and browser extensions have been binned, Facebook removed from my iPhone. Being physically social and really meeting people is key for me moving forwards to feel fulfilled. At Meet Ups in the past people who haven't met each other have come along and it feels good to be involved in bringing people together like that, hugely rewarding. So to my northern friends who I have been promising to come up and see, I'll be emailing trying to sort out dates in August and will update the Meet Ups section when I know more.

Maybe that's the answer for the ever-swelling blogging community where more and more people feel a bit lost - reaching out to likeminded souls and creating your own mini-communities for support, guidance and that feeling of belonging to something good and meaningful. Life is after all what you make it x