None of it matters as much you think it does

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are all so heavily integrated into our daily lives that to be without them (even just for a few hours) is difficult.

Suddenly, you’re having to figure out what to do with your time instead of spending it scrolling.

Conversations that have been going for days or even weeks have now come to a standstill but you still have so much to say.

And now, you have no idea what the the people you are connected to online are doing, eating or wearing.

Somehow all of this stuff seems important yet at the same time, when those 3 apps went down on Monday 4th October 2021 you also realised that none of matters as much as you often think it does.

3 small ways to change the way you use social media

Social media plays a significant role in many peoples lives. However, when used in certain ways it can come with negative implications such as wasting time, unnecessary feelings of jealousy and distracting you from what you really care about.

Here are 3 small ways to avoid or at least reduce those negative implications whilst still using social media:

Set a timer for how much you can use it
It could be 1 hour a day or it could be 15 minutes. If your aim is to regain more time try and figure out how much time you spend on the app before it begins to take you away from things you’d be better off doing.

Regularly update who you
Every few months I update who I’m following and unfollow the accounts I’m no longer interested in seeing. It could be a content creator who shares amazing photos but is always trying to sell me something, someone I went to school with 10+ years ago who I haven’t spoken to since and rarely interact with or someone I came across a few months ago whose images don’t interest me as much as I thought they would.

Use your phone to post and your desktop to browse and interact
I’ve found that I spend much less time browsing on Instagram and twitter when I’m on my laptop compared to my phone. And so if you’re able to, try just using your phone for posting and do everything else from the big screen.

The content and the audience

I recently read an article about how much various influencers get paid. The majority of the people were twenty something but the numbers of followers ranged from a few thousand to a few hundred thousand.

What I’ve found to be interesting is that when paying an influencer to create content you’re paying for 2 things: the content and the audience.

In my opinion, even if you don’t have a high following the money you get paid to create content should make sense. If you’re spending hours to come up with a concept, style the shoot, take the photos and edit them, what you earn should sufficiently compensate that plus more for your audience.

And with that in mind it makes it a little bit easier to figure out how much you should ask for and what to say no to.

Why are you online?

There was once a time where we would tune out of ‘real life’ and go online. These days many of us live online and tune out to experience ‘real life’.

We go from Instagram to Twitter to YouTube to Amazon to clothes shopping to reading articles to watching webinars. Not necessarily in that order and many of us frequently going back to social media throughout the day.

In the past we would go online with a purpose and once that purpose was complete we would log out and get back to our lives. Perhaps it was to play games, chat with friends or watch a show. But once you logged out you couldn’t access those things until you logged in again.

We had reasons to go online but these days online has expanded so much that we often struggle to find a reason to go offline.

I think it’s important, even though we’re online so much more than we used to be to still give yourself a purpose. Get out of the habit of simply going online just to be online especially when you become aware that it’s distracting you from your real life.

What’s in a (brand) name?

Clubhouse.io (a project management platform) recently announced that they would soon be changing their name to Shortcut.

I think a big reason for this was to not be confused with the audio based social media app also called Clubhouse.

My initial thought was that changing the name was risky because even if nothing else changes, it will still feel like something new.

But, I also understand that nobody wants to have their brand or service confused with something else. And the social media app Clubhouse has become pretty dominant. I guess the choice was to either stick with the name and hope to not be overshadowed by the audio app or redefine themselves with a new name.

After reading the article and giving it some thought I realised that it actually doesn’t matter as much it might seem. After all, a name is just a name. The name of a brand isn’t more important than what it’s about or what the services they provide, sometimes we just fall into thinking that it does.

Putting out good content

The 2 things you need to make money on YouTube through ad-revenue are 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of views.

If you’re in it for the short run, the work it takes might not seem worth it.

You might even feel like you don’t want to use your best work on a small audience, especially when you aren’t even earning anything from it. Of course some get lucky with a viral video but that’s not the case for the majority.

However, if you have a long term plan then whilst you are in the process of reaching those 2 milestones you’ll dedicate yourself by creating and putting out good content.

Then, once you start making money from YouTube, that good content can continue.

You don’t need to wait for a big audience to start putting out good work, start as you mean to go on.

Other peoples numbers

Instagram now allows you to turn off the numbers (likes and views) on other people’s posts. I didn’t think much of it until I turned the likes back on.

I found that with the numbers off, I was solely focused on the content. However, with the numbers on, they were the first thing I looked at.

It’s interesting to see how many likes and views the videos and photos get. But, I think it’s easy to get distracted by other peoples numbers instead of just enjoying the content.

What do Instagram and mobile phones have in common?

They both began with having a single use but overtime have become multi-functional.

Those of us with smart phones may find that we no longer have use for: mp3/4 players, cameras, torches, home telephones, address books, calendars, calling cards for overseas calls, photo albums or even a laptop.

Instagram has done the same but instead with other platforms. It hasn’t made them obsolete but it has given them a rival and in some cases has become more dominant.

Instagram offers an alternative to:
Snapchat with insta-stories
YouTube with IGTV
Affiliate links on blog posts with the swipe up feature.
Blog posts with guides (but even just a feed carousel and a long caption is pretty similar to a blog post)
TikTok with Reels

Instagram is no longer just a photo sharing app in the same way that mobile phones are no longer just for making calls.

The rise and fall of Clubhouse

Over the past few months I’ve written various posts about Clubhouse. I wrote about how it had had grown but also my thoughts on the future. Over the past month or so it seems that Clubhouse has fallen. I believe it to be because the app came out whilst many of us were in lockdown. We weren’t able to do the things we would usually do and so Clubhouse became one of the things we used to take up our time.

Whilst the creators were watching their invention grow and thrive, the users although using and possibly even enjoying the app, were also longing for ‘real life’ to return.

And so once restrictions began to ease, use of the app reduced. People no longer needed something to fill their time as they could get back to going to the movies, going for dinner, going for drinks, going to museums, seeing friends and whatever else they did pre-pandemic.

Plus, unlike other things that came about during lockdown, Clubhouse was not able to replace Instagram or Twitter and it’s certainly not enough to replace social interaction.

Why Instagram guides didn’t stick?

Around six months ago I wrote a post called ‘Could Instagram guides replace blogging?‘. It’s become one of my most popular posts.

At the time I expected guides would become a more popular feature. But looking through some of the accounts I follow, people either made 1 when the feature was introduced or didn’t make any at all.

I think the reason for this is that guides doesn’t actually add much that isn’t already there.

Despite a guide sharing similarities with blog posts, I think that perhaps it was too much like a blog for those that prefer putting out images and videos and not enough like a blog for those that still participate in the more traditional style of blogging.

It’s also worth noting that Instagram has already played it’s contribution in the decline of blogs.

I think guides is an example of a feature that just didn’t take off as much as the others did.

And I don’t think it’s a bad thing, it’s just the way it goes sometimes.