Social Media Overload — Thoughts on Hitting the Wall.

Sometimes it feels like my social media presence is about to fall off a cliff.

Over the past months I’ve shared my journey as I’ve slowly figured things out. How to save time blogging. Build a community. Little tips I’ve learned through trial and error.

But I’ve come to a place that is uncomfortable and frankly, I don’t see a way out. To describe my experience at this point, I’d have to use the word “stressed.”

I can’t keep up with Twitter

… at least not in the same way that I always have … in a way that I have enjoyed and advocated. I am now up to nearly 15,000 followers. And many of them are very active, very engaging followers, too.

For me, the most fun thing about Twitter was engaging with a new follower: seeing where they’re from, what they say about themselves, clicking on their link, assessing if we had anything in common, and imagining ways we could connect — or not. For reasons I can’t totally explain, I’m now getting more than 1,000 new followers each month. I simply don’t have the time to thoughtfully assess and connect with new followers like I used to.

Similarly, the timely, personal engagement I value so much is difficult on this scale … and it’s only going to get worse. The benefits I’ve received from engaging and connecting on Twitter are literally incalculable. I don’t want that to go away.

Keeping the blog going at a high level of quality and engagement/comments  while maintaining a demanding work schedule has sometimes meant 17 hour workdays. My wife is starting to notice.

I used to take pride in closely following every blog (that I knew of) from the {grow} community.  Our readership is doubling every few months.  I can’t keep up with that like I used to either.

A year or so ago I asked a “celebrity” blogger how he handled it all — Blog community, 80,000 Twitter followers, and all the trimmings —  and he said, it’s like being a rockstar on a stage. There might be 20,000 people who want to engage with you but you can only slap the hands of the people who have made it to the front row.

I hated that description but am now starting to see some truth in it.

There have been some half-hearted discussions among the Twitterati with large tribes about dropping their accounts and starting over. That just sounds like a dumb idea.

First, it is incredibly disrespectful to the sincere people who are following you: “What? You’re dropping me because you’re having time management issues?”

Second, why would I want to miss the benefits of the incredible connections I have nurtured? And finally, the audience build-up is just going to start all over again any way, right?

Another strategy is to stop following people back to contain the level of the noise. That is just not me. I’m not here to “broadcast” like Seth Godin or Guy Kawaskai.  I know the true benefit of Twitter is connection. And that is not just social media rhetoric.  I’m living proof of the amazing benefits of this platform if you approach it in a spirit of authentic helpfulness.

The idea for this post came when I was tossing about in bed feeling guilty for not following through promptly with some Twitter friends who had asked for help. I’m not kidding.

My friend (through Twitter!) Dr. Sidney Eve Matrix described it well during our discussion the other day. “Not connecting on Twitter is like being too tired to walk the dog,” she said. “Will the dog survive? Yes. Will you survive? Yes? But you’re still feel going to feel guilty about it because you’re ignoring a responsibility.”

“Responsibility?”

Yes, responsibility.  In my mind there is definitely a responsibility that comes with having a community on the social web.  It’s an honor that you’re here.  I want to do a good job for you. I want to engage with you, if you want to engage with me. I think acknowledging responsibility to your audience is the difference between being a leader on the social web and being a douchebag on the social web.

This is kind of a strange post and I hope this doesn’t come across as whiney.  I know I have been very blessed by this social media community. But as we continue on this journey together, I felt like I needed to truthfully check in to let you know I’ve crossed an invisible line into some new territory and I haven’t figured out.

Will I be able to keep it up?  No.  Not like before.  I just don’t see how.  This road is taking some new turns and the path ahead is foggy. What do you think?   After all, at some point you might be in this position too.  Perhaps you already are?

All posts

  • Shirley White (@BrainsNBrawn)

    Don’t beat yourself up, Mark. Those you have made a close connection with will surly understand and appreciate where you are coming from. No need to drop anyone, those who follow will continue to do so even if you post less. Think of it this way…when something really touches you, instead of sharing it with the first person you love in your life (wife) share it with your followers, your social media connections. You will be giving us the best instead of all the fillers. Make sense? We won’t love you any less. You have to do what is best for you.

    Now, go off and relax, stop fretting.

    Cheers, Shirley

  • Joyce Feld

    Makes perfect sense to me. As you know, I’ve only been using social media a short time, and my twitter following is miniscule compared to yours, yet I’ve already noticed I’m reading fewer books and doing less of other things I like as well. We just can’t do everything.

  • @Mark,
    This is the time you need to get a virtual assistant. It takes a bit of time to train one up but I think it could help you take some of the heat off you.

    One of my friends has been very happy with the service at http://www.contemporaryva.com/home/

    I don’t think a VA could respond “as you” but perhaps you could use the company name.

    A VA could also help you track down important topics that you need to follow instead of getting stuck in your RSS reader. Help you draft Ebooks, etc.

    Perhaps this is something that you could look into?

  • It’s so easy to wade into things like Twitter, Facebook etc without realising how much time they will take up and how much of an interrupt they will become in return for what they give you. To me, the most challenging aspect of Twitter is managing the immediacy of the environment, and participating, without it interrupting important tasks, crippling other activities and eating up the hours you had meant to spend on other things.
    I haven’t grasped Twitter and its full potential as you have, so it is perhaps easier to distance myself when other priorities demand, or my preference for other activities takes precedence.
    In the end, there are only so many hours in the day. So, with your values firmly in mind, who, or what are your *real* priorities? They *must* have first-call on your time – all else will wait. And your followers will understand too.
    I for one look forward very much to your blog posts – they always have so much to offer – but I will happily sit in the back rows when it comes to Twitter.

  • Mark,

    I always enjoy your transparency as you assess where you are and where you are going. It is always important to retest our assumptions as we reach crossroads. Life pulls us in many directions and as you note, there are only 24 hours in a day, and that forces us to make choices.

    At this point I only know you through your blog and Twitter posts. All of your content is valuable, but if you are looking for feedback, your blog is the most valuable. It brings unique insights in an engaging style, and it is the unique content that I find to be the most valuable.

    One to many conversations are valuable, and your blog provides that foundation. At the end of the day, we are human beings and really only capable of managing a finite number of relationships well. All of the technology at our disposal will not change the number of real friends we can manage. Engage with your inner circle, the rest of us can benefit from what you still leave on the table.

    Based on what I have seen, you will figure it out. Those of us who follow you will benefit regardless of the path you choose to follow. Good Luck.

  • Mark

    @Shirley — Not sure I am ready for that level of intimacy with y’all but I appreciate the advice!! : )

    @Joyce — That’s a good point. Less books, less of everything. It’s a trade-off. Thank you for commenting, Joyce!

    @Jon — I have been using a fantastic VA for routine admin tasks but what you’re suggesting is taking it to a new level and intriguing. Certainly something to ponder. Thanks Jon!

  • Mark

    @Julie — Thanks for you beautifully-worded sentiments. I do a good job of “corralling” my time into buckets. So when I need to concentrate on work, everything else goes off. I spend some time blogging in the weekends but cut back on everything else. Thanks for your advice!

    @Roy — I love that phrase – re-testing assumptions at each crossroad. A great way to characterize this post really! Thanks for your kind words and the feedback on the blog. Much appreciated!

  • I agree with Jon (above) about getting a PVA…if that is practical for you of course. As far as not being able to keep up with everything goes, people will (or should) only value your blog comments, @ replies, and other responses more as your time becomes more precious. As long as you continue to put genuine thought into your responses to people, you shouldn’t have a problem. Yes, you can’t respond to the same percentage of people you did previously, but that does not mean that the value of your responses has diminished whatsoever.

  • Worry less, keep talking & blogging! Oh and don’t forget about having some fun with it all too! The only thing you cannot get more of is *time*…so one thing I do is ignore what I don’t think is relevant and focus on what is. Focus on revenue development first and the rest will be fine;)) another idea? Take a Twitter break but don’t stay gone too long. Finally, I agree with you on the bad idea of shutting down an account to start over~seems silly! Thx Mark!

  • Beginning to find the same feelings and thoughts as you have shared so eloquently Mark.

    The situation clears up for me once I’m aware and accept the situation; and I’m able to move on by staying in the present moment while focusing on my breath.

    Sure hope this helps you Mark – Rae

  • Mark

    @Eric — Thanks for sharing your wisdom here today!

    @Amy — All good advice. Thanks for taking YOUR precious time to comment today!

    @Rae — I think the mental transition is the real issue here. Dealing with a necessary change in my approach and how I handle online relationships. Has anybody written about the psychology of Twitter? : )

  • Such nice friends you have. And I’m fortunate to be among them. My advice – get over feeling as if you need to blog every day. I learned this from Brogan. And try my best to live this.

    You and I, Mark, we’re not writers. We’re marketers. A writer has completely different responsibilities – both to himself and to his readers. You? You have a business to run. Clients to serve. A wife to keep happy. Blogging every day is not an integral part of any of that. Blogging is part of YOUR marketing message, but I’m pretty confident that if you cut back on blogging, that you wouldn’t attract any fewer clients. And your readers would, amazingly enough, be able to get along just fine. (said with sarcasm, because you know me pretty well).

    Seriously, sometimes we put the most impossible tasks upon ourselves without really considering the ramifications. Writing a great blog post takes a few hours. Writing a decent one, from soup to nuts, usually takes at least one hour. Give it a try. Change the “daily blog” nav tab to BLOG. Make it your goal to write three posts a week. If you feel especially inspired, write one more. But stick to it, for at least a month, and see what happens. I’d be willing to bet money that your business wouldn’t fail. Your existing clients wouldn’t leave. And your wife would be infinitely happier to have more of you rather than less.

    Take that time back. It’s not just about Twitter, it’s about everything you’re trying to do. You only get one life – live it, Mark – and be thankful for every day. Showing your appreciation by working 17 hours out of 24 is not good practice – for business, marriage or life.

    Smooches to you, my friend. I very much understand the life you’re living – and wrestle with these same issues. But I’m older. And wiser. So listen to me. Or else :))))

    Shelly
    @shellykramer
    http://v3im.com

  • Mark

    @Shelly — What a fantastic comment. Actually I HAVE cut back on the blogging dramatically. For example, last week I really only authored one out of four posts.

    I should probably change the tab at the top to Daily Blog (Kind Of).

    Although I am a marketer, I am also a writer. I was originally a journalism major and love to write for fun and as an intellectual challenge. The writing part usually comes pretty easy to me! It’s probably the part I enjoy most about my job right now. I do have an endless stream of ideas and observations but can’t hope to have time to write about it all.

    And by the way, I doubt you’re older than me but no arguments on the wiser part!! Thanks!

  • Welcome to the ingenuity gap: the critical gap between our need for ideas to solve complex problems and our actual supply of those ideas.

    While you feel you’re walking in the fog right now, know this: on one level, you’re trail blazing for others to follow ~ because I have yet to see anyone in the Twittersphere and Blog Community world do Authentically Empowered Evolution very well. (Though keep in mind, I’ve not seen/experienced everyone.)

    Two quick thoughts that crossed my mind as I read your post: first, some seem to respond to online evolution in a ‘Survival of the Fittest’ kind of way.

    In the context of Evolution – the organism that is best able to control both its environment and all of the other organisms in its environment is the most evolved and finds itself at the top of the food chain because its most able to ensure its own survival and most able to serve its self-preservation.

    You now find yourself at ‘the top of the food chain’ (so to speak) – and you’re not feeling comfortable, I suspect, because you do not seem to be driven by the same Ego that potentially drives others.

    You’re more in-tune with give and take – you’re generous with your time, your support, your wisdom and your ideas. You respect ALL organisms in your environment and desire to ensure that regardless where we all fall in the food chain, we feel appreciated.

    So, where to go from here? Dr. Rae has pointed out a great first step. Accept where you are, accept that change is necessary and accept that you’re going to have to do things differently to achieve your desired goals. Bringing full awareness to this opens space for new thinking to emerge.

    Remember also that you hold within you the power to Redefine roles, goals and methods. Just because something’s traditionally done a certain way (direct and timely contact = connection, for instance), doesn’t mean that it’s the ONLY way connection can be achieved.

    As Jon noted, there are practical details that can be managed differently than before. As everyone has noted, it’s never a good idea to create imbalance within your Self and your life.

    And I’ll sum up by saying that you must fully Trust the loyalty, love and support of your community … in so many ways, we mirror who you are – and your need to evolve and {grow} does not have to be navigated and implemented alone. Goodness, do not think for a moment that you are outside of this community – you’re a key and integral part, and you’ll transition wonderfully.

  • Love your comment Sally G.

    Thank you for the mention 🙂

  • Hey Mark,

    I’ve always admired how you are able to interact consistently with your followers and with complete transparency as Roy mentions above. This is a primary reason why I follow you on your blog and Twitter.

    The last time I checked, though, a day was still 24 hours and I’m sure all who keep up with you understand that your focus has to be on your personal life as well. Maybe a delegation to a VA can make it easier on you.

    I’ll welcome virtual Mark any day.

  • As you know, Mark, my job allows me time to unplug and just think. I did a lot of that over the next few months. But then, my income isn’t affected by how well I maintain my networks. Yours does.

    One thing I did while “unplugged” was read William Powers’ excellent book, “Hamlet’s Blackberry: A practical philosophy for building a good life in the digital age.”

    It helped me gain a new perspective. I’m not on the cliff anymore.

  • Check that last comment. I meant “over the last few months,” not the “next” few months. As of today, I’m working my ass off! School’s back in session.

  • Mark

    @Sally “Authentically Empowered Evolution” That is an awesome concept. I guess I’m in the middle of it!

    You also have me thinking about the traditional role of evolutionary success — dominate and control, versus what I perceive to be the key to success on the social web — be humble and serve.

    You doled out a whole heap of thinking there Sally! Thanks for your amazing comment

    @Johnny — Man that means a lot coming from you. Thanks!

    @Bill — I can’t tell you how good it is to see you around here again! I will try my best to check out the book. Sound like I need it. But to be honest, I have a pretty imposing back-log of books right now! : )
    !

  • It’s not easy but you can manage thousands of followers/followees using Twitter lists but like you say, it leads to very long working days. My biggest problem now is that I already have a very long working day with no time left to manage/engage.

  • Hey Mark!

    This was a great post for me to read this morning… because I’m already feeling some of what you describe and I’m still a newby (by most accounts) on Twitter… and still in my learning curve. And I don’t even know how many followers I have… but I know they keep growing and I want to reply and get to know them… but I have a biz to run and a life (not online) I’m starting to reclaim… and sometimes what I WANT to be able to do and what I am able to do don’t meet. And that frustrates me. Having reflected on your post for a few minutes… I now see three things. 1. I’m frustrated mostly because I’m worried about what people will think and whether or not they’ll like me. 2. I’m frustrated because I’m comparing what I am able to do to what others (apparently) seem to be able to do. 3. Having seen those two things, I now see that what there is for me to do is to continue to tell the truth… to myself and my peeps/followers… about what I can do, what they can expect, what my boundaries are, etc. Because all I can do is what I can do… and all I can be is ME. So… I’ll keep muddling through this new learning curve and new world as best I can… one step at a time. Thanks again!

  • I have always wondered how you accomplish the engagement you do, Mark. And, there are others on the A list who don’t even try.

    Social is an evolution, and you’re charting new territory after having graduated to an echelon where answers come on the fly.

    Your community is intellectual and supportive, and the good news here is that your honest befuddlement is being met with honest sharing from a community that is all about {grow}.

  • What in interesting situation, buried by your own success! Individuals can only productively scale to a certain point and it sounds like you are there. Perhaps now is the time to scale “Grow” to the next level. You’ve built a powerful community of great thinkers. Maybe you should expand the brand and bring in others to contribute more than just through commentary. It will be interesting to see how successful your experiment will be while you are on vacation. Maybe by inviting others to participate on a more formal basis will help you get past this and on to the next level?

  • Thanks for opening up and sharing this struggle with us, Mark. I appreciate your honesty here. I think scale becomes a real challenge when it comes to blogging and social media in general. Many rock star bloggers don’t admit that and we are left wondering how on earth they follow 80,000 people. It’s an unrealistic expectation to maintain a meaningful dialogue with that many people.

    At the end of the day, something has got to give. As Shelly mentioned, I think you could cut back on your blog. I know you have already, but you could take it even further. Some of my favorite blogs only post once a week and I look forward to when the posts come out. I know that you always post great stuff, but I don’t always get a chance to check it out every day. If you are focusing on providing incredible value, which you are, then the frequency matters less.

    I’m a worry wart as well, so I can feel your pain here. While your community is certainly important, your wife outranks us all! As others have said, we’ll understand if you post or tweet less. You’ve got to do what matters most to your business and the people you love.

    Hang in there, friend!

  • Mark

    Well I was at a customer location and while I was waiting for a meeting to start, I wrote come comment responses. I had just finished when the Internet connection disappeared and so did my responses! I think technology gives me more gray hairs than anything right now!

  • Mark

    @LS — The challenge in this space is time.I have not many short-cuts either! Thanks for your comment!

    @Teresa — Thank you for sharing your personal take on this. Very helpful! I would encourage you to hang in there. The more you immerse yourself in it, the easier and more natural it gets. It IS worth it I assure you!

    @Jayme — The time issue has been a theme for us for a long time, hasn’t it Jayme! Thanks for your kind words.

  • Mark

    @Steve — Very interesting ideas. I would certainly be open to ideas about taking {grow} in new directions as long as we keep the quality up! Thanks for the truly thought-provoking comment!

    @Laura — Don’t worry, I have my head on straight. My family comes first! Sometimes in business you have to do a sprint and that is what this has been about the last couple weeks.

    I think you do have a very good point about readers being able to keep up. I’m mindful of that and is one of the reasons I have cut back. I was doing 4-5 per week and now shoot for three. I do believe moving to even one a week might be ideal — FOR EVERYBODY : )

    I never write to hit a number goal. In fact I have quite a backlog of quality post ideas. But I do recognize the information overload everybody is dealing with, even if I am putting out good material.

    Your comments are spot-on! Thank you!!

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  • Although I am blogging and Twitter neophyte, I can definitely relate. With so many quality blog posts in my reader, and so many connections to make on Twitter, I do wonder how am I going to keep up with all of this? I look forward to new posts on {grow} no matter the frequency or length.

  • Mark

    @Mike — That means a lot. Thanks for being here Mike!

  • Mark – The fact that you are worrying about this proves you have your head on straight! I know it’s still hard. I’m in the midst of a sprint myself. Although my husband is incredibly supportive and understanding, it’s still hard to continually put in long hours instead of spending with him.

    All that said, I know you’ll figure it out. Let me know if I can help in any way!

  • Don’t make me prove it.

  • It’s really admirable that you’re thinking about these things. Overload is definitely possible with so many followers (there’s a reason nobody has 15,000 close friends in real life). I think that all you can do is keep going at a comfortable pace and then try to “comb through” your followers as much as you can.

    As callous as this sounds, let’s face it; a lot of the followers you accumulate are going to be a) spam or b) infrequent users. I think you just have to do the best you can to find those who are genuinely willing to interact and focus on sharing/communicating with them. It could be as easy as sending out some feeler questions (“How is your day going?” or “Did you see this article in X magazine? Thoughts?” ) to see if it helps to figure out who is actually listening and willing to interact.

    This idea is coming from NO personal experience whatsoever, but perhaps it will make your life a little easier.

    @tmiesen

  • James Adams

    I don’t think that posting less is often seen as something careless. Most people understand the hectic lives we lead and how one might be pulled away from the computer by circumstance.
    You just need to allocate time and try to keep on track. Maybe announcing to your contacts that you intend to post less will help lessen the blog and their responses will help you gauge how you can change the situation.

  • Mark

    @Laura — It’s cool to have friends like you! Thanks!

    @Shelly — I know better than that. Mama didn’t raise no fool. : )

    @Tom — I try to cull the spammers up front as much as possible. If somebody is obviously just trying to peddle “Twitter Lists” or something like that, I block them right out of the gate. So my follower list would have been at least twice of what it is now. There are some Twitter tools to cull people who have become inactive — but if they’re inactive, they’re also not part of the problem : ) So I think it is like you say, just do the best you can. I just hate disappointing people. I’m determined not to become one of these folks who ignore their followers.

    @James — Actually, of all the things I do, the blog is probably the most rewarding and most enjoyable. Having really meaningful discussions like this is a fantastic experience. It’s like those salons in Paris where all the intellects of the city would gather to discuss the issues of the day. Now all we need is the brandy. : ) Getting a chance to learn from these bright folks from around the world is something that couldn’t have happened even 10 years ago. What a great time it is to be alive, huh? Blogging rocks.

  • Once again, great timing on this post. I know exactly how you feel. Right now I have two weeks of blogs to read in my reader. I’ve been checking Twitter a couple times a day and only get through a couple pages of tweets. I touch Facebook a couple times a week. And I’ve almost forgotten about LinkedIn.

  • Mark

    @Mike … but you’re still blogging, right? : ) Hang in there and keep up the good work in the River City!

  • Hi Mark, wondering…

    Did you have a chance to read the three articles on the “Psychology of Twitter” I shared with you on Aug 23rd?

    Do they work for you?

    All the best, and only the best to you Mark – Rae

  • Mark

    @Rae — Not only did I read the three articles, I also read part two of the last post. I found this quote particularly interesting:

    “But if there’s a core reason why people twitter, I would suggest that it is mainly to stay and feel connected with one another. It is simply socializing on a vast, unheard of scale. Whether it’s with people we actually know and trust, or complete strangers, in our increasingly inattention- and interruption-driven world, twitter is the perfect complement. It says, “Hey, I will not only reinforce your inattention, I will celebrate it!” While most people twitter while doing other things, the twittering makes a person feel even more connected to others who aren’t with them at the moment than any previous technology ever has.

    And that’s a key point — there has been nothing like Twitter in previous human experience. Nothing.”

  • Pretty sure the telephone accomplished this in its day Mark. And I’ll never forget my awe at the Fax machine, when that was new.

    I read Dr. Rae’s three linked articles too ~ and I guess the sense I was left is was this: these were written in varying parts of 2009. Why are we still having this conversation a year or more later? Why have things seem to have stalled?

    I’ve noticed this when following Twittered links to more Spiritually based blog sites too – an overwhelming sense of Now What? So many are talking about the same thing, justifying, validating, teaching the same thing … why can’t Social Media’s use and evolution keep pace with the technology that supports it and advance us all to higher ground?

    Are enough productive conversations taking place through the channels available for us to do so – or are we all simply maximizing the space available to add more noise?

    Mind you – I guess that’s what you’re about to do Mark, once you’ve gotten back up and dusted yourself off from hitting the wall. You’ve got a community of stimulating, intelligent and enterprising participants. I’m grateful to be here.

  • So glad to read that you found the articles worthwhile Mark 🙂

    You may find William Powers’ book “Hamlet’s BlackBerry” (just posted here http://YourStressMatters.com/drsn.htm) explores the “now what question” you raise Sally.

    Scroll down page to “We Are Reading…” for a review that forces the reader to consider current concerns and consequences of “connectedness” in this digital age.

    SideBar: checked out @HamletsBB William Powers’ twitter board and read his “personal twitter philosophy: one tweet a day, M-F.” cutting the noise we are all experiencing.

    Thinking about doing the same, enjoy your evening 🙂

  • Mark

    @Sally — Of course you’re right that the phone and fax “changed everything” but i do think we are in a special place in history. For the first time we have access to free, real-time global communication and it is truly transformational. It has certainly transformed me and changed my life. How else would I have had the chance to connect with an inspirational person like you, or Dr. Rae, or the hundreds of others who come here to take part in the community? It is a special time. It’s not necessarily all productive but it is special!

    Sometimes the blog reader starts to sound like a broken record, which is why I value the original thinkers who hang out around here. Thanks Sally!

  • Mark

    @Rae — You’re the second person this month who has recommended this tome so I will definitely check it out. The “now what?” question is something I consider a lot and while there are a lot of positives (see comment above!) there are also some pretty overwhelming negatives, especially when it comes to privacy. In any event, there is no turning back. Thanks so much for your contributions! This has been a great discussion.

  • Thank you Mark, I appreciate and am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this “great discussion.”

    Enjoy your day…

  • Am feeling the overload too, and will add one more issue that I have about all this: Do I encourage clients (who are already busy runnint their businesses) to get involved in social media –beneficial though it will be — when I know that I am setting them up for the same overload that I am unsuccessfully dealing with? That feels hypocritical.

  • Gini Dietrich

    Isn’t it funny that we are going through this very thing at the same time? It’s a topic of a lot of internal debate – now that we have a community manager is it his job to engage while I step back from the community I built so I can grow the business? Or do I continue at a level that I’m comfortable with but still takes time away from the typical CEO duties? I will tell you it feels very uncomfortable to not engage…for all of the reasons you’ve listed. But I ask you this – what would you counsel one of your clients to do in this situation? Therein lies your answer.

  • Mark

    @Rhonda — Extremely relevant point. I think we need to make an honest assessment of what it takes to do this well and if it fits with the culture and the capacity of the company. Well said! Thank you!

    @Gini — You know I could sense the weariness in your vice on your last video about “unplugging.” One of the wise things you said in that video was that you’re not unplugging from the things you enjoy. That got me thinking. We probably will do well the things we enjoy. That might be a consideration too. I enjoy blogging. If everything else falls away, that will probably remain for me. Thanks Ms. CEO for spending your precious time here with me!

  • It’s nice to see all the support you’re receiving re the overload issue, but it makes for rather sad reading overall. I think the distinction between “social” and “media” is the issue here. In our offline relationships it is not natural to be in touch constantly. I don’t stress over keeping in touch with all of my friends and relatives all the time. And as we know, 150 relationships is about all we can handle anyway.

    As marketers we are not being authentically social, we are just using all available channels to push media. And Rhonda points out the hypocrisy in her comment above – if as professionals we can’t handle the social media fire hose, we should be sure to tell our clients that if they don’t hire someone, or move an existing employee in to being a full time social media handler, then there may be more failure than success.

    As for Twitter, I keep my followers at around 1,250 so that I can communicate with them all easily. More than that is what I consider a numbers game. Works well for me and our company.

    Here’s some thoughts too – http://www.north.com/html/index.php/latest/social-media-problem-for-companies/

  • Mark

    @Dave Limiting your audience to 1,250 implies that you are blocking people who may want to connect with you and perhaps even become a customer. I understand the convenience of this but it doesn’t make sense to me if you are using this as a marketing channel (as I am). Would you recommend a limited Twitter following to your clients seeking to gain new customers? I don’t understand that as a strategy.

    Thanks for sharing your view, Dave!

  • Mark, I should have made it clear that I limit my North Twitter account to people that I interact with daily, those folks who share useful insights that I might be able to apply to our client’s campaigns. I have another Twitter account @Pampelmoose which is more personal that has 7000+ followers. It is impossible to interact with that many people.

    At the North account, by keeping tabs on who is posting interesting and useful content I can decide who I want to interact with. Each month I do an audit to see who is no longer active and remove those who are not, which gives me room to add new followers.

    We are a brand agency so I don’t believe that my strategy is stopping clients finding us as we are not using Twitter as our sole marketing channel. Twitter is but one communication channel. Our website, Posterous and our Facebook page feed into Twitter and vise versa so I think our digital footprint is large and convenient enough – and entirely manageable..

    And of course I wouldn’t recommend that our clients restrict any followers from any source whatsoever – as long as they have a full-time social media manager.

  • Mark

    @Dave — OK, thanks for the clarification. I don’t think our views are incompatible. I had heard of Pampelmoose (grapefruit right?) but didn’t know it was you. Thanks so much for adding to the dialogue. Much appreciated, sir!

  • Mark,

    Yes I agree, we definitely have compatible views! And yes, Pampelmoose is a mangled version of the French word for grapefruit. Glad to be part of the dialogue.

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  • Andy

    Hi Mark:

    I came across this discussion and wanted to mention a couple things and ask a question. I don’t have nearly the following you do; however, I am very selective with connections (i.e., LinkedIn). It’s not a popularity contest, but I guess some feel that way.

    First, this topic goes back to what I learned in relation to good old Total Quality Management (Edward Deming) and the like topics. It is called Capability Theory. Very simple analogy here I use: you can’t put eight pounds in a four pound bag and expect it not to break open…

    Second, what would help you a little are all the useless posts on social sites. I just saw a post today from a local “social media expert” that she was off to her spinning class…seriously?! I don’t care…stop self-promotion!

    Lastly, my question relates to me going on Twitter and trying to remove followers. There are “followers” that obviously are not interested in me, but my network. MileyCyrus4love is following me, really? I don’t want his, nor the financial advisor I don’t know to follow me. So, is there a way to remove followers or is this something Twitter should develop?

    Thanks for listening,

    Andy

  • Thanks for your question Andy. I am actually a big fan of Deming — might make an interesting blog post!

    Click on a Twitter profile. under the profile pic there are option to allow you block a follower or report them for spam.

    Twitter is an acquired skill. It seems simple but it is difficult to understand and master. I think you would really benefit from my book, The Tao of Twitter. It can be found here: http://bit.ly/taobook I think you’ll enjoy it too! Good luck!

  • Anoller

    Thanks for your help Mark! I’ll look into your book, but first I have to read a new textbook for my next class I’m teaching soon! 🙂

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