How much social media is too much social media?

Image from Black Mirror, Season 3, Episode 1: Nosedive
Image from Black Mirror, Season 3, Episode 1: Nosedive

Do you find it hard to keep up with your social media? All those feeds to scan, all those posts to share, those Snapchat streaks to maintain?

Let’s face it, social media is great, but it can burn you out and get you down if you’re not careful.

That’s why every few months I take time out to review my usage of social media, both for personal and business reasons (I work for myself so often the two are entwined).

When I review my social networks, I want to determine:

  • Am I getting value from the networks I use?
  • Do I provide value for my followers and friends?
  • Is this a good use of my resources (mainly time)?

The results of my social media audit are interesting (at least to me)…

Here’s a snapshot of my social media usage

Social media apps.

I use seven social networks at least daily or weekly:

  • Facebook – mainly with friends and family
  • Facebook messenger – more intimate conversations
  • Twitter – mainly for business
  • Linkedin – 100% for business networking
  • Instagram – a bit of fun
  • Snapchat – experimentation – I like to see how new channels ‘work’ (it’s relatively new for me this one)
  • WhatsApp – exclusively for use with my tennis club pals, organising matches and get togethers

On a more random basis (say a couple of times a month) I’ll look at the following:

  • Goodreads – I’m an avid reader of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. I like to share what I’m reading and find out what others are reading too.
  • Pinterest – when I get time (not often) I’ll take a look at my feeds and update my boards. I mainly use this for inspiration.

There are a bunch of apps I use that have ‘social components’. I don’t normally think of these as social media, but they do provide great community benefit, for example:

  • MyFitnessPal – inspiration from others on maintaining healthy habits
  • Flipboard – keeping up to date with news and insights from recommended sources
  • YouTube – I tend to use this for looking up bass guitar videos (as bass player I’m addicted to Scotts Bass Lessons at the moment) and movie trailers

What have I learned from reviewing my social media usage?

Taking time to review this gave me a few insights:

  • If you’d have asked me off the top of my head, I probably would have said that my limit was three or four social media channels. It’s much more.
  • Each social channel fulfils a very specific need for me. If I can’t easily see how it fits into my life it gets dropped.
  • My ‘experimentation’ channels are the place where I try to define what purpose the channel has for me. I dropped Path after it filled no need in my life.
  • Twitter is the channel that I consume the least. It’s become much more of a one-way channel for me, although I do have some exclusive connections on there that I value. And it’s great for covering events and occassions– it’s how I’m keeping up with the Australian Open tennis at the moment, for example.
  • Many of my most used apps have some kind of ‘social component’ that radically improves the experience (MyFitnessPal, Flipboard, etc).

So that’s me right now. I’ll probably do this again in six months to see what’s changed.

I’d love to hear what you think. Which social channels do you use? Which are the most important to your life and work?

Please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below.