Recently people are paying more attention to how their social network information is used. Facebook has been getting the most press (with good reason), but people are starting to take a harder look at their use of social media platforms in general. Seems like a good time to revisit some of the basics about what the deal is and how to work with it.
What’s the deal?
All-in-one platforms concentrate everything you share and see into one tidy package. Usually for sale. You might understandably feel slightly betrayed having everything you’ve ever shared or visited fed into AI/PsyOps to promote consumerism, authoritarianism, or anything else people will pay for, but that’s the deal.
Even if you value your privacy somewhat, and recognize the risks of making everything you do readily accessible to anyone claiming to be doing marketing, you are still probably going to choose to have a social media account. The key is is to control what you publish, manage your interactions, and try maintain enough perspective to avoid being sucked in by Pavlovian conditioning, random reinforcement and other tactics.
Here’s a few tips that might help, both on the receiving and posting ends.
It’s OK to miss a post
The social reward for checking posts like a gambling addict is real, and social networks reward that behavior, but social networks are the social equivalent of junk food – fine in moderation provided you balance it with other social contact. If you have other social contact, missing a post is no biggie. You’ll catch up on anything important when you connect.
When you share on social media, you are connecting to an audience that includes only a subset of your friends (along with robots, lurkers, and other people you didn’t even realize were there). Not all your friends will see your post, even if they are on the same social network. And you are probably not going to see everything your friends post either. That’s all OK.
To maintain perspective, make sure you are connecting outside of social media for a reasonable percentage of your total social time. What’s reasonable is up to you, but every couple of months or so, self check you’re still comfortable with your balance.
Have more to show
Consider sharing more thoughtfully. Seriously consider appropriate recording. If you write articles or create other media, that should be somewhere on the net in addition to being shared on social media. There are platforms for writings, music, videos and other media (for memorable links, make a membic). If you’ve never recorded anything outside of a social network, try going back over your posts for the last month to see how you are presenting and what your voice might be. Adjust as needed to make sure you are happy with how you are coming across.
Recording deeper artifacts separately over time creates a searchable archive reflecting a powerful aspect of you independent of any filtering your social net decides to apply for its visitors.
Read other sources
Social networks can be helpful for alerts about events and news, but you owe it to yourself and others not to endorse anything you haven’t actually looked into. Not everything actually comes from where you would expect, and the reasons behind posts can be equally surprising. Don’t despair, a little analysis can make your social network perusal much more interesting.
Sometimes people fall into relying on social networks for news because they don’t have time for other sources. Take a timeout for few minutes to learn about RSS, and try out an RSS reader. You’ll probably gain your time back, and more. As a side benefit, you’ll be able to easily follow any of your friend’s blogs without having to visit their site to check if anything’s new. An RSS reader is a primary phone app.
Make time to stay in touch
Continuing on the theme of underutilized old-school technology, consider your calendar. If you have trouble making the time to stay in touch with extended family, far flung friends, or other acquaintances, put it on your calendar. For increased success, schedule contact sometime that’s not a holiday.
On holidays, if you have some time, reflect back on rewarding social interactions you’ve had over the past year. You might find they weren’t on social media.