Being There (on Social Media)

I have read about people taking breaks from social media. Pew Internet has even tried to make it a trend, pointing out the significant percentage of users who have taken some sort of respite from Facebook (my reading that one represents a welcome return to a break from Pew I didn’t know I was taking). There are valid reasons for dialing back social network use: stepping away from trolls and contentious political or other arguments, getting distance from people you don’t really care for or about, privacy, or simply trying to shed a time-suck from your life. At times, it makes sense to change use or simply get out altogether.

Being There

Some of us don’t have that luxury – not completely. It’s our job to be on social networks. Even if we limit our personal use, quitting Facebook is not an option. I have seen instances where a person wanted to tap a corporate Facebook presence for a project, but that person had actually quit Facebook, so would not be able to get access as an administrator to actually do what was required. So, many of us in the social media industry come to some sort of accommodation; either we become ubiquitous public posters (easier but sometimes obnoxious to others) or we take a quieter approach, using privacy settings so that we remain familiar with the tools we need in our work, but without so much personal exposure.

A quick look at my social presences tells you the path I chose (the “self-editing” part of that path is another topic altogether). Simply put: I want to be available to put Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest et al to work for my job, and for me that means maintaining an account at the very least, and quite often an active presence. To each his own, but that works for having knowledge at hand and an ability to move quickly to determine the worthiness of a platform for a task or program.

Oh – and I like to watch.

Photo credit: an untrained eye on Flickr


  1. Eric Schwartzman

    There’s a difference between unplugging the phone to chill out and terminating your phone number altogether. We all hate telemarketers, but thanks to Moore’s Law, no one’s ready to give up their phone.

  2. Something to think about: Do you tweet etc for you or for someone else? Because if you do it for someone else who’s accustomed to seeing your updates, the day you go quiet is the day you get messages wondering where you are. I purposefully haven’t tweeted (so far) in the month of February and nobody’s asked me where I am. That’s a wakeup call.

  3. I was less concerned about the expectations you set for people with your public (or even semi-private) content, but the ability to maneuver within tools, which you lose if you quit them altogether. You are still on Twitter, you’re just not posting- those are two different things.

    (If it makes a difference, I’m sorry nobody missed you)

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