5 Tips To Avoid Social Media Information Overload

social media hashtag

How can you use your self-management skills as a Young Professional to stay on top of social media without getting overwhelmed?

I heard a common lament this week from a friend at work – “how do I keep up with what is going on?”  She described that feeling we all have where the more we discover, the more we realise how little we know.  We are information rich, but how do we find the relevant knowledge amidst the deafening noise to help us become wiser?

This nagging sense that we are constantly missing out, or that others know more than we, can fill us with doubt or leave us overwhelmed.

So how do we join up the dots between information, knowledge and wisdom in a way that helps us achieve and feel good about it at the same time?

The problem and the solution lie in our relationship with technology.  The onslaught of online output requires energy and that energy needs to be directed with care and thought.  I suspect that one of the reasons that many CEOs do not engage with social media (see Richard Branson’s article) is fear of being distracted by what they perceive as play rather than work.  Yet, social media is hard work.

I get asked fairly regularly how I manage to be so prolific on social media, while earning a living and having a life.  Some people like to compartmentalise. Others (like me) live a life of different activities co-existing in a comfortable rhythm from when I awake to when I go to sleep.

Managing your time is really about managing yourself and other people.

Information burnout is a failure to filter, rather than a failure to find. 

Social media information burnout is often self-inflicted, preventable and manageable.  It’s about choices and what we choose to pay attention to in order to move towards our goal.  We are constantly feeding our addiction for information, our thirst for knowledge and our desire for insight and wisdom. Learning has never been more popular.

My 5 social media filter tips:

  • Change your mindset – from acquisition (of more ‘stuff’) to recognition (of your ‘why’).  Do you go surfing for hours on end without realising, endlessly bookmarking, downloading or even printing?  Remember why you went surfing in the first place and stick to the knitting or manage your gold digging in smaller bursts; be selective
  • Self-compassion is OK – so you were so busy working over the last few days that you missed that tweet or blog or update. Big deal, get over it – it’s no different from today’s newspaper becoming tomorrow’s fish and chips wrapper (one for the Boomers!); be selective
  • Focus on value and keeping it real – clean out your Twitter followers (I use@Twitcleaner); get rid of the hairdressers from Milwaukee in your LinkedIn connections; set up Google Alerts for your keywords; quality not quantity, small is beautiful; don’t always follow back; say ‘no’ to the unknown connectors unless they genuinely engage; be selective,
  • Swim in the pool, fish in the ocean – do your research so that you follow people in your niche, field or industry (competitors, influencers, potential customers); create Twitter lists so you can focus in on who you really want to hear;  make it clear to your followers what you welcome, so you become a magnet; attract them to you by writing good content, providing helpful links and having something interesting to say (skilfully) that make them want to hear more; be selective
  • Love your ‘unsubscribe’ – de-clutter your inbox by unsubscribing from low-value, newsletters that you once signed up with because of a freebie; don’t let the ‘delete’ button become your friend; be selective

By the way, did I mention my key message?  Be selective.  What filter tips work for you?

This article was originally published by David Shindler on Learning to Leap and has been reproduced with permission.

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