Social Media Suicide

I stare at the screen, my fingers resting like little soldiers on the keyboard, always at the ready to march in a strange drill of obedience to whatever they’re told.

But let’s be honest. Some days, like today, these fingers don’t want to move. Yes, today I’m social media cranky.

They don’t want to write another thought-provoking status, or tell one more person about the next big thing, or press “post” on another link. They don’t want to find 140 characters that attract attention. They don’t want to respond to a message. They don’t want to be clever, insightful, pithy, or nice.

And what’s more, those fingers wish they had feet to run from your stuff – even when your stuff is brilliant. Everything starts to look way too much like noise. Annoying loud noise.

On days like today, you annoy me. I annoy me. Everything annoys me in social media world. In fact, if these fingers could, today they would press one button only.

Disable. Or maybe even delete.

Walking away from social media sounds delightful and restful and all Sabbath and spiritual. And for some, maybe it’s an easy thing to do. For me, not so much. If it IS easy for you, the following words don’t have much purpose. So carry on and have a great day (as I silently grimace at your wings).

See, I told you I was social media cranky.

So here I sit, staring at the screen, wanting to pull the plug for a bit but feeling like I can’t. It’s not just about being mildly addicted to viewing life through a feed (which is its own conversation, along with cliques and chasing cool and why that whole “platform” thing is slippery and dangerous). I’m PAID to do social media. I’ve got a following (which could be its own conversation). And I’m a marketing chick. I know all the rules about promotion and advertising and staying top-of-mind. I study the metrics. I’ve read every post from every self-proclaimed expert (have you read my thoughts about experts???).

Disable = suicide.

To walk away from social media could be devastating to my brand, right? I mean, if my name isn’t showing up in that feed on a daily basis, folks will forget about me (cue theme song from The Breakfast Club).

Right?

Well, maybe not. What if – let’s say – the social media world carried on without me, or without you, for a day. Or two. Or more. What if we simply let it all go for a bit. Would it really be suicide to take a break from social media?

The answer is simple. “No.”

Now, if you simply can’t pull the plug entirely, it’s OK to use apps like Buffer or Hootsuite Pro to get the message out to your absence. Be smart about when to message. And be smart about when to walk away. But whatever you do, don’t ignore real life. Nothing diminishes your brand more than to post messages that appear to be insensitive or unaware of major news events. It’s worse to have an ill-timed or ill-conceived message than no message at all.

But here’s the deal. And yes, I’m talking to ME now. Social media isn’t the end-all. It’s a piece of the puzzle – and a strange little, highly-filtered, false sense of reality piece at that. Use it wisely, but use it the same way you’d use any marketing tool. Be smart about when to message. And be smart about when to walk away. Remember, if your brand counts for anything, it’s bigger and more powerful than any marketing plan you can design. Social media may be about engagement, but it’s a living room chat rather than a conference room speech. So breathe. And be OK with being quiet. The best conversations have moments of silence.