Why and How I Use Social Media

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.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi Joshua,

    I’m new to your blog but am really enjoying it so far! I recently launched a blog with the intention to help people transform their relationship with money. Alas, social media was something I had been very leery of right up until I started researching how to start a blog. Everything I read said you had to be “out there” using social media or you would never drive traffic to your site.

    So, I set up various accounts – Facebook (personal and professional), Twitter and I beefed up my LinkedIN page. I have been on LInkedIN for a long time because of my career in Corporate America but never really did much with it. And, not surprisingly, that’s were I have the most contacts.

    I’m learning about these tools slowly. Honestly, I don’t feel like I get much traffic from them…perhaps that’s just because I am still so new. I do notice, however, that I get most of my traffic from making relevant comments on other people’s blogs. The blogs that are compatible, like yours, and ones that directly relate to money seem to be where my “people” hang out.

    Thanks for sharing your tips ~
    Ree

  2. says

    Thanks for the post – sometimes I get annoyed with myself for the amount of time I spend on all the various social media networks, and I do feel worse after going on some of them and seeing everyone having a much better time than me.
    But then, I remember that we are all comparing our darker sides to the brighter sides of others, and it all falls into place. I love the inspirational quotes that you put on your FB page, as do my readers with whom I share them.

  3. Alexis says

    Social media is using its attraction of self promotion and narcissism to delude people into using the different platforms. None of it is safe, none if it is private. It can all be easily accessed by criminal types , ex boyfriends or stalkers. Hackers are having a field day with identity theft due to the easy access of naïve people who post their information. I would never use it. People are going to start having major problems and its going to refer back to their posting freely private details and information of their life online. It shocks me how people think it is acceptable. Having lived before social networking I do not believe it adds any value to our lives.

    • Loren says

      Great Points! …And let us not forget that “BIG BROTHER” is always watching and you don’t want to put a target on your back…I always try to remember that not so long ago, there WAS NO Social Networks, which account for more divorces and create more problems in people’s relationships than porn!

  4. Loren says

    Hey, (peaking across the virtual driveway) Maybe you don’t need so much Social Networks Stuff…. ; ) JK
    But honestly, I only use FB about 1x per week and have zero interest in any of the other mindless “time waster” Sites, as most of my actual life is done OFFLINE.
    Social Networking with old friends is one thing, but some of these sites spend WAY too much time and energy over nothing of value. Limit your time on the internet, or suffer the price…time lost with kids, family, friends and developing REAL Social Bonds.
    There’s nothing inherently bad about cyber time, just don’t let it take over REAL LIFE.

  5. says

    Joshua,

    This is so helpful! To be honest, I see people sharing other people’s blog posts less and less on social media. So I have come to wonder how effective and worthwhile it really is. It’s useful to see your specific approach, which may explain your positive impact. FB is also the largest referral to my site, but I felt discouraged after the last change of algorithm and now constant appeals for sponsored posts. You’re inspiring me to rethink my approach.Thanks for giving us a bird’s eye view.

  6. Brianna says

    I get why you would use social media, but for me…I only use facebook. I also have a blog, but it’s not that popular (5,000 views per month, at most). I know if I engaged on twitter, pinned pictures, and did all the other stuff I would get more views…but then I think…do I want to do that? or do I feel obligated to do it, just for views? and the answer is…obligated. So I don’t do it. I still have facebook, and I think it over complicates my life and would love to not use it..but for now it’s also something that keeps me connected…and is my only social network.

  7. says

    Well said. I think that social media is a necessary evil if you want to get your message across. It is really important to utilize it as the tool it is and not get sucked in. I am fearly of twitter, but feel I need to make the plunge soon as it really helps.

  8. says

    I do really love this post, I’ve written similar on Sweeter Life and it can become a toss-up between whether or not Social Media adds or takes away from everyday life, the key really is how you use it and how you think about it. Similarly I have a focus on using it to catch up with friends at a designated time each evening and also use it and benefit from it for business purposes, however when you find yourself using it as a procrastination tool and checking your favourite social media sites several times daily I believe that this is where it becomes detrimental to our lives and the journey to simplicity.

  9. says

    Joshua, I’m always interested to see how bloggers, especially well-established ones, use social media. I’m relatively new to blogging (started last July), and although the mere thought of social media practically had me breaking out in hives, I came to realize that it was essential for my blog to grow. I wrote about my love/hate relationship with social media in this post: http://www.joyfullygreen.com/2013/04/my-love-hate-relationship-with-social-media.html. I’ve since joined Pinterest but haven’t found it all that helpful (yet). As for Google+, I just don’t think I can handle one more social media site. It is scary how many accounts and passwords I already have! And they are pretty much all for business, as like Loren, I prefer to keep my personal life offline.

  10. says

    I agree that Social Media can be a great help to your work if you are a blogger or writer. I put effort into my FB, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Linkedin–not as much as you Joshua–but in a way that feels organic to me. And it has definitely helped to drive traffic to my blog and expose my books on Amazon. It would be a much different game if I didn’t have it and it fits my nature better than going around beating down doors or making phone calls. I also find that it is a nice break when I’ve been by myself for a number of hours and need a little “water cooler” experience. I know it can be obsessive if not moderated–but it can also be very useful.

  11. says

    Interesting discussion.

    I made the choice to leave Facebook last fall, and my blog has not suffered in the least from it. My reasons for leaving were: FB brought me hits but they weren’t good quality traffic (didn’t participate in discussions, etc.), the posts I linked on my blog’s page weren’t made available to all the subscribers because I didn’t pay for premium service, etc. After leaving FB and participating more actively in the minimalist blogging community, I have seen my traffic and–more importantly–the quality of discussion on my blog improve greatly. The increase in personal interaction (through participating in discussions, and corresponding with a number of other minimalist bloggers through email), rather than the shallow interactions on Facebook have made blogging much more enjoyable, and have reminded me of my reasons for doing it at all.

    That being said, my blog is MUCH smaller than Josh’s, and I don’t necessarily care whether it ever becomes “big.” Josh is working to reach a larger audience, and caters to the minimalist community quite effectively, in that way. I write to establish and belong to a community, and, in my experience, FB has not helped me with that. I think it is important to examine your goals, then find the venues that help you best in achieving them.

  12. says

    We can gain many audiences and readers through social sites. Many advertisers will always consider social sites in advertising as it is one powerful thing to do nowadays to do advertising. Good thing that, most social sites are free of use that’s why starting or small business can use it as a good start of advertising.

  13. says

    Thanks for sharing how you use social media Joshua. You indicated your research suggests some people spend 3+ hours on social media. Approximately what time do you spend? I ask because, although I too enjoy using social media, there are times I feel a wee bit constrained by the investment of time. Your thoughts?

  14. says

    Hi Josh-
    Thanks for this post. Because I am not an individual who loves spending alot time on social media, I try to use it effectively and efficiently. And yet, I know that I still am far from doing so. Your strategies offer me a simple and organized method of doing so. Fran

  15. says

    I love social media, not only it can connect and share something to others especially to our love ones but at the same time it is good for advertising for some business. If we know how to utilize and use well the function of social media, it can greatly help us.

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