Social Media Presence
The elimination diet is a meal plan that removes specific foods from your diet to identify what harms your body. I tried the same with my social media presence.
1️⃣ What amount of online presence is enough?
2️⃣ To consume or to create?
3️⃣ What does my minimalist social media presence look like?
What amount of online presence is enough?
Media personalities who appear on our feed can lead us to believe that if someone doesn't broadcast their happiness online, they may be unhappy. That's far from the truth; people are happy and successful without social media presence. Cal Newport is one of many. He writes for the New Yorker, presents at conferences, runs a business without social media accounts.
I've been reflecting on my social media habits lately: what I consume, share, how often. Initially, I went with a flow and did what others did - shared my personal life online. However, I never felt comfortable posting my family and vacation pictures. If anything, the immense power of broadcasting your voice online is better used for sharing ideas. I went completely offline from all platforms and then started to iteratively introduce one after another. As a result I deleted a couple of accounts and removed a bunch of personal data online. My presence became even more structured when I wrote down my rules, as you'll see below.
To consume or to create?
I was never obsessed with building an audience online for myself. For years, I was a fan of a calm, private lifestyle. Only recently, I got interested in creator economy - a juxtaposition to a typical aspirational lifestyle persona. A creator is supported directly by their fans based on the quality of work they produce.
The Minimalistic Entrepreneur book says there are three groups of people.
Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba call this the "1% Rule": On the internet, they say, 1 percent create, 9 percent contribute, and 90 percent consume.
I believe people do all three: create, contribute and consume. For example, I write online, thus create. I read what others write and respond with comments, thus contribute. I'm interested in learning, therefore consume. When you’ll discover your creation-contribution-consumption balance, you’ll have a fulfilling learning experience and build stronger connections with people.
What does my minimalist social media presence look like?
These are my principles for social media presence:
Create value for others, but make it valuable for myself first;
Enjoy the craft process instead of chasing growth;
Focus on topics I like instead of what's trending;
Connect with people, pay attention to what they say, ask questions.
If you like the principles and want to see how I practice them, subscribe to connect with me :)
My love for minimalism is reflected in my social media presence: Twitter, LinkedIn, and Substack (my inner minimalist hoped for one tool, but it's a bad idea to put all the eggs in one basket). This is how I use the tools:
🗣 Share my ideas and converse about them with others. Social media is a powerful distribution tool, but you don't have to use every platform to be heard. Twitter is my platform of choice. Think about it: the screen space for a tweet is the same as for responses. In contrast, Instagram is an "announcement platform" - posts take 80% of the screen, with reactions and comments taking about 20%. Twitter threads are not always healthy and constructive, yet I had a positive experience. Substack is good for long-form writing. The newsletter is my way to practice what I preach as I try to build it with a product mindset.
🤩 Get inspiration and find fresh ideas. I like to create and consume equally. Substack and Twitter are the only platforms where I can organize consumption how I want it. Direct connection via email newsletter ensures that I always get notified about the new release without an algorithm filtering it out. Twitter has a chronological timeline which helps me follow all updates from creators (I don't like to see the algorithm-based feed incentivized to engage me for longer).
🤝 Connect with people to build weak ties. I believe in the power of weak ties, so I try to help people when I can, even if we barely know each other. Many of these interactions are work-related, so LinkedIn is an effective tool to connect with people and follow their professional stories. More importantly, my Twitter following is a portfolio of weak ties I try to nurture.
An elimination diet has two phases "Removal" and "Reintroduction." Try to completely go offline to discover how social media affects your life. Then, intentionally add pieces of your online presence: connect with friends, find a job, and learn a new skill. People say technology owns them, but I disagree because we allow technology to own us. Once you set a purpose and support it with tools, your behavior will likely change. The principles can change, but the process of elimination can be re-used to define new principles.
Bonus Facebook evacuation guide
Check who appears on your feed, if you plan to stay in touch:
Professional network → connect on LinkedIn;
Creator you follow → subscribe to a newsletter for direct connection;
Friend or a relative → I bet you have a private chat with them.
Unfollow people as you add them to one of the buckets above. If you go offline, add a redirect notice for visitors and limit people who can message you. For a more detailed guide, check the Washington Posts article.
Digital Hygiene recommends
Great article from Stratechery on the cultural value of Twitter, how it’s different from Facebook, and what frontiers can product explore - link.
Metaverse had a lot of media attention lately, but there is a chance your online presence may soon move to smaller and private networks. Discord is one of the places where these networks start to emerge - link.
What you consume will have an effect on what you think and how you behave. Polina from the Profile talks about her information diet and intentional removal of mindless and sensational content - link.
An example funnel of online networking is 1/ 10/ 100 /1000 → friends /acquaintances /person subset of a community /person community. I liked this opinionated take on making friends online - link.
For anyone experiencing a cold season, be like Chevy!