I really enjoy social media.
I joined Facebook in the spring of 2007. I was 14 years removed from high school and had relocated from Nebraska to Wisconsin to Vermont. I opened my Facebook account as a means to interact with high school and college students as part of my job, but immediately recognized its value in getting reacquainted with old friends around the world. To this day, I use it for both personal and professional benefits.
Social media is not without its downsides. Researchers recently discovered that one in three people felt worse after visiting Facebook and more dissatisfied with their lives. Within this constant stream of notification, the Fear of Missing Out continues to grow. And some studies indicate that Americans spend an average of 3+ hours per day using social media. With that being the case, nobody would argue that social networking is entirely positive and beneficial. Just like everything else, it needs to be approached mindfully and intentionally.
But I have found significant benefits to social networking. Most significantly, it has provided opportunity to stay in contact with old friends from a number of different geographical locations. It has proved to be successful in providing awareness for local events and information. It is a valuable source of web traffic for Becoming Minimalist. And it has helped to grow a significant platform to expand the message and influence of simple living.
For those reasons, social networking will remain to be a significant part of life for me. And if you have an idea, message, or website that you are hoping to grow, I fully recommend you use it as well. But don’t try to jump into every social media opportunity available at once. Take your time learning each of them individually.
Here is a brief description of how I use each platform:
• Facebook (Becoming Minimalist): Month after month, Facebook accounts for more visitors to Becoming Minimalist than any other website. With over 1.1 billion open accounts and 650+ million people visiting the site each day, the traffic noticing your message changes every single day, often times with just a split-second to make an impression. I post to the Becoming Minimalist Facebook page 2-3X/day always 8-12 hours apart. The posts are a combination of inspirational images (example above), popular old posts, and new blog entries. My desire is to use the platform to introduce as many as possible to a new life of living with less. Like us here.
• Facebook (personal): Having lived for significant periods of times in 5 states, Facebook has proved to be very helpful in staying connected with old friends. To that end, I rarely post Becoming Minimalist information on my personal account–other than exceptions for really exciting news. Instead, I use it to interact on a personal level with friends and family. I have even found it to be more convenient and more personal than e-mail for sending private messages.
• Twitter (Becoming Minimalist): While Facebook accounts for more web traffic and numeric influence for Becoming Minimalist, I actually spend more time on Twitter. Twitter was started as a micro-blogging platform where ideas and thoughts could be shared using less than 140-characters in an environment where they could be easily discovered. I enjoy the quick interaction that Twitter provides where ideas can be presented, discovered, and discussed. On average, I post to Twitter 5-6X/day using a combination of original ideas, helpful posts from other writers encouraging simplicity, inspirational quotes, new blog posts, and direct interaction with followers and people I admire. Follow me here.
• Becoming Minimalist Newsletter: The Becoming Newsletter seeks to recruit, mobilize, and equip influencers committed to the intentional promotion of simple living. It is more than information… it is a movement. Each newsletter contains original writing designed to encourage influence and provides quality resources to help spread the message of simplicity as far and wide as possible. Currently, over 4,000 people receive the newsletter every two weeks. Sign up here.
• Tumblr (Becoming Minimalist): I originally started my Tumblr account as a personal site to archive and store helpful articles I found while researching writing projects. The save takes only two mouse clicks and stores them all in one place so I’m able to find them quickly. And if they were helpful to me, they’ll likely also be helpful to others. I still use Tumblr to that end, but it has also become a place to re-share images that I create for Facebook. On average, I post to Tumblr less than 1X/day. And find the audience on Tumblr to be a different group of people than the one on Facebook. Follow here.
• Pinterest (personal): I am on Pinterest. I use it to promote new blog posts. And I am thankful for everyone who pins Becoming Minimalist articles… other than Facebook and Search Engines, Pinterest refers more traffic than any other site. But personally, I don’t enjoy the format that much. The platform encourages over-sharing and rewards quantity over quality. As a result, there are a plethora of pretty pictures and exaggerated claims (“These are the best chocolate-chip cookies I have ever eaten.”) without users ever testing the validity of the claims. Despite the drawbacks, I find some practical benefits to Pinterest. Most often, it is a place to test which images and quotes get the most traction and discover new ones. Find me here.
• Google+ (Becoming Minimalist): I use Google+ to ensure new blog posts are found and indexed by Google quickly. Google+ users tell me the platform is the most advantageous for social interaction and conversation, but I have not chosen to invest the time to research their claims. As a result, I post to Google+ only after publishing a new blog post or interacting in conversations where I am specifically invited.
As I mentioned, social networking is important to Becoming Minimalist. I believe it is a valuable tool for interpersonal communication and expanding influence. My desire is to use the platforms effectively to inspire you and others to find more life by owning less. I hope you’ll join me.