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.

5 Reasons your blog might not be going as well as you’d hoped

Your content isn’t cohesive

If your content varies greatly, it doesn’t allow you to appeal to any set of people as an audience. As good as it may seem to have mass appeal, if you want to build an audience the best thing you can do is start small.

You post inconsistently

If your reader know that you put a new post out every Sunday they will come to expect it and even look forward to it. If you say you’ll post every Sunday and sometimes you do but other times you post on tuesday or you skip a week, readers may lose interest because you’re no longer showing up in the way that you said you would.

You haven’t reached the right audience

Seth Godin has said many times, you’re either not reaching the right people or you’re not making good enough stuff. You’re content could be outstanding quality but it’s important that the right people find your work as that is why you created it in the first place.

You make too many changes

If the colours, logo, and layout of your site are constantly changing, readers won’t come to recognise it. This means readers won’t be able to establish that sense of familiarity when they visit your site, it will feel like something new each time you change something.

You don’t stand out

Obviously there is no way to be totally unique and often people copy the stuff that they’ve seen work for others in the hopes that they will achieve the same success. However, if the look of your site and content that you post is exactly the same as 1001 other people, what incentive is their for readers to choose your site over another?

If you’re a regular reader you may notice that there are things on this list I’ve done or even continue to do. The purpose of this list is to offer some ideas because sometimes when things aren’t going well we get so overwhelmed that we don’t even think of reasons why.

Once you identify the reasons things aren’t going well, you can put a plan in place to overcome them.

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.

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.

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.

Why Clubhouse is so appealing?

I think I first heard about Clubhouse in November 2020 but as an Android user I knew that it wouldn’t be
something that I would have access to.

I also didn’t personally know anyone that used it.

But over the past 6 months it has grown rapidly.

I initially heard about Clubhouse on Twitter, people with access to the app would be on Twitter commenting on the rooms that they were in. From what I saw it seemed to vary from useful business related discussions to ‘rooms’ full of people venting about those they dislike.

In the months that have followed, I’ve seen more and more people that I follow online joining Clubhouse. I’ve also read a lot of articles sharing what Clubhouse is but also more in-depth ones discussing how it could change in the future and how long it’s popularity will last.

A woman I follow on Instagram that runs a buisness shared that she was hosting a room where they’d be discussing gaining funding for startups and also working in PR.

I’ve also heard someone on a podcast explain that they had the app for a short while but have now deleted it. They found themselves getting sucked into the kinds of rooms that were focused on drama rather than listening to things that were useful.

Another woman I follow on Instagram mentioned that she thought it was a really good app idea. She thought it would be a good place to have conversations within a closed community.

I’ve found seeing how this app has come along, how it’s used and how it’s grown incredibly interesting. I think clubhouse showed up in the right place at the right time and it appealed to people in multiple ways.

It’s an evolution of podcasts

Firstly, Clubhouse is like an evolution of podcasts, a type of content that has really grown over the past few years in terms of people listening to them but also more people creating them.

I think what we like about podcasts is that they’re fairly simple, it’s just people talking. You get to listen in on a conversation or monologue and maybe even learn something new. The fact that Clubhouse is in an audio format means you can listen whilst you go for a walk, do the washing up or make dinner without missing out on any visuals.

Clubhouse is stripped back

Secondly, Clubhouse showed up without bells and whistles, it’s stripped back. From what I know, you have the rooms, the hosts and you can follow people and be followed and the content is live. Whatever happens in the moment happens, there’s no editing it out. Of course those hosting may come with notes of the points they want to make, particularly if they’re there to teach and share knowledge but they could also be in their pajamas.

In contrast, podcast are a little more polished because as much as you might be having a casual conversation you probably don’t just say ‘okay, lets press record’ and see how it goes. And when compared to Instagram live which is also live content, the fact that you can see the person changes things.

I think the simplicity of just being audio focused allowed Clubhouse to stand out as most other popular social media apps have much more variation (Instagram has Lives, IGTV, Reels, feed images and videos, Guides and Stories) although it is worth noting that they didn’t start out that way.

A sense of exclusivity

The third and final appeal that is perhaps the most prominent factor is that you have to be invited. I think it’s interesting to think about how Clubhouse is sometimes paraded online as this exclusive app that you have to be invited into, yet everyone seems to have it.

According to an article dated 22 February 2021, Clubhouse now has 10million users which is around 0.13% of the global population. However, I still don’t think it can be considered exclusive as anyone can be invited (as long as you have an iPhone) and their is no criteria to join.

In relation to the idea of exclusivity, I think for some people knowing celebrities/well known people are on the app is part of the appeal because you get the chance to hear them talk in a more causal setting. I know a little while ago Elon Musk popped up in a room which drove a lot of attention to the room but also just the app in general. Now joining the app means you’re in the same ‘space’ as someone like Elon Musk (A famous Billionaire and Entrepreneur).

The other exclusivity aspect is that the audio is not recorded which means you really had to be there. I think there is a lot of value in that because these days with everything being recorded people end up being reluctant to show up in the moment.

Do you have Clubhouse and if so, what aspect of it appealed to you?

A 67 second podcast

Thats how long it took me to read through one of last weeks blog posts.

For quite some time now I’ve been thinking of creating audio versions of my blog posts. There are various reasons I have resisted, from not having any equipment to wondering whether I’m taking on too much (I’ve written over 800 blog posts). However, one of the biggest reasons is that I think they would be too short.

We’re in the season of audio content and even though there are people that listen to short podcasts, I can’t help but wonder if under 5 minutes would put people off. Of course, one may argue that my work isn’t for the people that would be put off. However, when you’re just starting out you want to know that there is a market for what you have to offer.

A solution I’d considered was to have a weeks worth of posts per episode almost like a sort of story but I wasn’t sold on the idea enough to proceed with it.

I’m still in limbo with whether or not this podcast idea will come to life and even what the format will be. But I do think that now is the perfect time to be experimenting with audio content, even if it ends up being temporary.

Why podcasts have become so popular?

Now we all know that podcasts are nothing new but if you’ve payed attention over the past few years you’ll have seen that there’s been an insurgence in podcasts.

They’ve become the cool thing.

Not only are more people listening to them but more people are creating them too.

I think the rise of podasts is down to their simplicty of being a recorded conversation discussing various topics.

A podcast could be one person talking about something for 20 minutes, it could be 3 people discussing dating, relationships and popular topics from social media or it could be one person interviewing different guests each week to talk about the work they do.

Even though many podcasts are now have visual content or perhaps the podcasters have their photos in the logo, the essence of a podcast means there’s no focus on what you look like, instead it’s all about what you say.

Podcasts also require much less effort from the consumer when compared to blog posts or YouTube videos. You can listen on your journey to work, whilst cleaning or cooking dinner, whilst you go for a walk infact you can listen whilst doing almost anything.

In contrast, visual forms of media require more attention. You can’t watch a youtube video whilst driving or going for a walk, you can’t read a blog post whilst doing these things either.

Podcasts can be entertaining and educational. They allow the listener to connect in a way that can’t quite be compared to a blog post or video content.

Hearing someones voice feels personal yet not having visuals allows you to create some distance between the creator and the consumer.

You don’t get swept up in what the person looks like, if you like they’re outfit, if their nails look good etc. These things can end up playing a large role in how content is received e.g. you’re more interested in content because of how the person looks.

But also before we had phones, computers, YouTube, blogs, tv, radio, newspapers, magazines and even letters, we just had our voices. And of course at that point in time they weren’t being recorded and edited but talking is one of the first forms of communications, podcasts tap into that.

Podcasts have been around since the 80s but there was a lot of time when they weren’t popular and definitely weren’t at the forefront of media like they are today.

I believe the popularity of podcasts to be down to the evolution of media, things change. For example, we’re not buying magazines or reading blogs like we used to. I also think celebrities and well known people have also helped the podcasting world grow because they have fans all over the globe that are more than eager to hear what they have to say in a casual setting rather than a formal interview.

Lastly, people building their own small communities from their podcasts. As much as you can have a celebrity podcast with 10,000 listens per episode you can also have hundreds or thousands of podcasts with 5-500 listens per episode. The numbers might not be high but they add up.

The final point is that people have started making money from podcasts, enough to live off of. This draws the attention and curiosity of many people because podcasting is no longer just a fun thing people do but instead a way to earn a living.