Be a conscious user,
curate your social media consumption
Some questions you can ask yourself to get yourself on the right track.
Want to make the most of social media? Act how you want the platform to be. If you only attend to things that will help you get where you want to go, the platform will (almost) help you.
So, pause and reflect. Ask yourself these questions:-
- Why are you on the platform? What do you want to gain from being on that platform? How does it affect you?
- How does it affect you if you’re not on that platform for a day or two? Do you experience cravings? (this is a really simple metric to discern if you are addicted or not, but nearly everyone is nowadays)
- What are the positive benefits of that platform?
The very short version is:
- Only engage when you are mentally there, never be passive
- If you are on twitter, use lists and tweetdeck
- Don’t click on a news website; use an RSS feed
- Turn your notifications off, and finally
- Engage for serendipity when your mood suits it.
This weeks video:
If you’ve watched any of the previous videos here, you’ll have seen me talk about social media in a negative light all the time. I use social media as well, but I use it for very specific purposes. And what I’m going to talk about is why , why I do that, why I have a conscious cultivation of a particular environment on social media, but allowing for serendipity in certain program ways in, in the way that I use the environment and how you can think about that yourself.
So it really starts with why are you on the platform? If you’re on the platform for a passive scrolly reason, just turn it off, then it’s not good for you. But there were plenty of good ways to use social media. There are plenty of ways to use social media in a more positive light as well.
The way that you need to think about this is that when you are acting in any way on any social media platform, the same goes for some news websites as well, you are programming your own environment. That platform senses what you do, watches what you do and suggests content that reinforces what you do. So if you act in a way that fits with how you want to be and how you want to act in future and what you want to get out of that platform, the algorithms, I’m not going to far as to say, they’ll be helpful for you, but, they will make it easier to stick with what you’re trying to do than if you sometimes go on the same platform in a passive state of mind. You need to stop that passivity.
(The method, Daves method)
There are several ways to do this. And most of them involve segregating what you do, so that you only see content that you want to see. And you’re not tempted to click on the clickbait.
For instance, on Twitter, if you use tweet deck , you can use lists and those lists can be of specific people who you want to watch when you’re, when you’re on Twitter for different things.
The way that I use Twitter is I have a list of people that I see first off. These are people who are teaching me how to use Twitter, better in a way that fits with me. And some of them are people who have similar content focuses to me. And some of them are people who are in completely different fields, but deal with specific things on Twitter really well.
And so that goes from people who respond really well to criticism, because anybody who gets good at Twitter will eventually go to criticism and conflict, to people who use tweet threads in a really interesting way and who I want to follow for that reason.
Never get news via social media. So news via social media is an incredibly common thing to do. But when you’re doing that, you are just entirely opening yourself up to falling into filter bubbles to having your momentary wins reinforced by social media platforms.
For me, there are two ways. So the first is RSS feeds. I use a service called Feedly that gathers News, blogs, and various other things. From a raft of websites that I found interesting through kind of conscious searching and it puts them into curated lists again. And so when I’m in the mood, just for some general news, I go click on general.
When I’m in the mood for learning a little bit about pedagogy, I go click on pedagogy and I find that the latest literature there and news items that are related to that stuff too. Some websites don’t allow RSS feeds. So I, I subscribed to email for them. But the point is that news is, content that I think will be interesting to me that appears in front of me because it was published in a setting that I think might be interesting.
And the other thing around attention is turn your notifications off. You really need to notifications for the vast majority of things that are essential, distract you from the world around you, even if you’re not being notified.
There’s rafts of research showing that just the presence of a phone in a room. If that phone has notifications switched on, particularly, can upset people’s concentration and in meetings or. In relationships or in any setting, really.
But at the same time, it’s important to keep room for serendipity. So one of the wonderful powers of, of platforms like Twitter, and to a lesser extent, LinkedIn, I find this on as well, is it allows you to come across people who are really interesting and worth speaking to or important to you. And so for those of you who are looking for jobs and careers, these platforms can be great places to start.
But what you need to do is engage when you’re in the right mindset to make that connection, that serendipitous connection, rather than beyond the platform all the time and hope that serendipity occurs, those are two very different things.
So when you’re in a mindset, that’s open to serendipity that is still attentive, you’re still attending to what’s in front of you, platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn and. Searching through them and looking through them for specific things, following upon authors and what they’ve read and who they interact with, that kind of stuff can be really powerful when you’re in the right mindset.
(Building your own solution)
And the only way to know this really is a game by occasional audit of what you’re using different platforms for. What do you want from being on that platform? How does it affect you? How does it affect you if you’re not on that platform for a day or two, is a really good metric for most people?
Because whenever you show people the impact of withdrawing from a platform, nearly everybody has cravings now. So sad that you have a craving for and momentarily distraction, basically that that’s what you get from most of these platforms, but most people have these neurological cravings. And if you kind of follow down that route, you know, yeah, no, you need to solve something or you should know you need to solve something.
But what are the positive effects of being on that platform too? Who were you engaging with now that you never would have met without being on Twitter or LinkedIn? Whose work have you done come across that you never would have learned about without those platforms? It’s too, you need to think about both sides of the coin and the question for how you want to interact.
And the strategy that you produce for yourself is how can you program those platforms to give you what you want? They’re there to engage you. But if that engagement from your side only comes when you’re in the right mindset and you’re only clicking on things that matter to you. Then the only way they can engage you is by giving you more of the stuff that matters to you.
So what’s really, really important is to audit when you’re using social media in a distracted frame of mind, never use social media in a distracted frame of mind is a short metric. It, it programs it for your momentary whims as opposed to what really matters to you. And by doing occasional audit of your behavior on different social media platforms, you can see these patterns and you can change them over time, so audit short-term , Develop, you know, week or two week long habits, just to break those patterns that you don’t like, or to instigate new patterns you do like. Use the habits as the short-term bridge to a better social media plan for you.
The only exception to that I think is never use social media in a distracted frame of mind.
If I catch myself doing that, I tend to just turn the platform off for several days, because it means that my distracted frame of mind has been caught in one of those, for me, curiosity based loops. I get curious when I’m distracted and want to just read something and it’s very easy to get caught into reading something that has no positive benefit for me when I’d be better going out for a walk, looking at the sunset, playing with my kids, swimming.
There are a million things I can do that a better for me in a distracted frame of mind than reading some stuff that’s never going to have a positive impact on my life, but is vaguely interesting. Vaguely interesting is not enough. It should not be holding my attention and it shouldn’t be holding yours either.