My head has been in a social media fog

 rainbow fog

By Mars Dorian, {grow} Contributing Columnist

Picture this.

You are walking your online biz journey.

But in the middle of your trip, a mysterious fog approaches and clouds your path.

The fog is not some ugly gray smoke; no, it’s beautiful, shiny rainbow fog with twinkling little stars. Making your mouth drool, your eyes sparkle. Glitzy dee glitz. You stop on your true journey, and meander around, trying to grab the elusive little stars.

“But the fog’s so pretty,” your mind says, and it may be true. But no matter how candy-colored, how twinkly it gets, it’s still fog, and you become hopelessly lost. 

That’s what today’s social media online web world became to me. It was a rainbow fog filled with cool apps, apparent “best business practices,” and platforms that led me away from my true path — focused activity that leads to real business results.

During my four year long digi-career, I have become distracted by a lot of shiny new things that did nothing but evaporate my time.

These are the four major fog shinies that have slowed down my online career … May you avoid them like the plague.

Focusing on hype platforms

What’s a hype platform? For me, it’s a platform that gets hyped as the next Facebook / Twitter killer because the online media needs a new headline.

For me, Klout became a hype platform.

It looked cool in the beginning, started with a controversial concept (Can you put a number on a somebody’s influence?) and surged in the first year. I spent significant time on this. I gave ratings to others, connected with Klout influences, and made sure I social media’d enough to get my ranking high. And guess what it did for my business? Zero.

Now whenever a person tells me I should IMMEDIATELY jump on this hot, new platform (like right now, in the middle of writing this article), I need to hold still and ponder.

Does this really improve my business? Or is that just another hype platform that others jump on to boast themselves with early adopter status?

Vanity metrics.

Traffic is cool. High traffic is even cooler. Like a hoverboard. Look, my fellow social media peeps, look how high I hover above the ground.

But it doesn’t really matter to my freelance business.

My traffic now is half of what it was last year, but I don’t care. I make way more money than last year because I attract more high value clients. The numbers are down, but the quality’s up.

But hey, traffic may be important to you if you’re aiming for sponsors and ads. Just make sure it’s a metric you need to gauge.

Vanity metrics only pay for your ego.

Obsessing with email subscriptions

“You need a biiig list.”

I have a couple of blogger friends who swear by the power of popup-boxes and “welcome subscription boxes” that obscure the whole screen. So I tried them out.

Subscriptions surged, and I was also hoping they would lead to more sales and client work.

But you know what took a dive? My open rates.

I realized that having high subscription rates is useless when most of them don’t open the actual emails. And that’s what happened. Lots and lots of interested signups who were cajoled by the popup box and my tricks, e.g. a free guide and a page-big webform.

No more.

I now focus on getting quality subscribers, instead of acquiring as many half-hearted ones as I can. You don’t need a big list, you need a good list.

The tools you ‘absolutely’ need

You have to use (this tool) to be successful. As in, this mega-tool to check your metrics. Or this super-important one that tracks your client record, or how about this one…

Hundreds of apps I desperately need to run my biz.



Truth is, you don’t need all those fancy schmancy tools. It’s again the fog glitzing you. People have had successful business for years without any of these apps, so what is the real cost-benefit of the time you spend examining these things?

Remember the essential basic line: I [what you do] for [who you serve] so that they can [master overcome defeat] their [struggling point] to gain [huge benefit]…

Then you have the most important strategy for growing your biz. And no app or software tool on the planet can replace that.


With a web world that clouds with you beautiful, shiny things floating in the rainbow fog, it’s easy to get distracted. Stay focused on your business journey. Ask yourself:

Do I really need this tool for my business or I am wasting my time?

Is this platform helping me bring in customers or is it vanity?

Do I focus on precisely the right metric?

So what is distracting you? Is the pressure of keeping up with the next big thing in social media helping you or hurting you? I’d like to hear from you in the comment section.

mars dorianMars Dorian describes himself as a creative marketeer with a moon-melting passion for human potential and technology. You can follow his adventures at

Original illustration by the author.

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  • Using “beautiful, shiny rainbow fog” is a great analogy, Mars. For me, it’s more like some new party that I don’t want to miss out on. I take a deep breath and try not to let it interrupt me from the task at hand, which is generating business for my client or myself. There’s always time to get onboard later.

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  • Yes, Steve, I think there’s so much hype on getting on a particular new platform or getting a new app. Just like startup somehow sounds cooler than business 😉
    I’m working very hard to keep my eyes on the price now, and keeping them away from all the shiny glitz.

  • Linda Kinsman

    I’m still trying to figure out how I got roped into Klout. I drank that Koolaid too. I don’t believe one company has ever pitched me because of my Klout score though. Great analogy that will stick with me as I wade through the maze of social media do’s. Thanks!

  • @marsdorian:disqus if possible I would also like a hoverboard.

    Seriously though, in the last week I have begun the process of turning my quaint little content marketing community into a business.

    This process has completely changed the way I view my online presence and has actually sickened me with some of the things I’ve been doing.

    Great work bro…


  • I like the concept of Klout, but the hype distracted me. I don’t know anyone who’s practically using it. Where are the benefits ? Where is the actual use ? From now on, I’m treating every new social platform “innovation” with a grain of salt.

  • Linda Kinsman

    Good ?’s Mars that I have no answer for either. It’s like Triberr, I just didn’t see the ROI of my time. Although in Klout’s defense, they do offer perks that are fun to get.

  • Yes, once we talk biz, it’s amazing how useless a lot of our previous actions are. This happened to me too last year.

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