140 Characters Of My Life That I’ll Never Get Back

I stopped following you today.  You probably didn’t notice.

Nothing personal.  It’s just life.

Why?   As I said — life.  An amazing thing happens when you get over-committed as I have in recent months.  You finally make real decisions on priorities.   When you have too much to do, you do what’s most important — what will cause you pain if it’s not done.   The metaphor I use is juggling.  You can juggle one ball, two and even, if you practice – three.  I guess it’s possible that if you really work at it, you could juggle four.   Maybe there is a Zen juggler who could do five things.   But ultimately, it doesn’t matter, each of us has a limit, no matter how much we want to focus, practice or will it to be different.

So if you can juggle four and life gives you five — guess what?  No matter what happens you are going to drop one.  So what do you do?  You pick.   How?  Well, like most people, I presume that you try not to drop the thing that is most likely to break.   You try to make the drop as painless as you can.

We all do this every day.  More and more we are like the juggler trying to take on more things that we can truly juggle.  And what do we do?    We drop something.   What do we drop?  The thing that will hurt us the least.

Unfortunately, that thing was – you.

Today, it was ten tweets in a row.  I guess you have more free time than me, at least today.  Maybe you were caught somewhere with your phone and had nothing to do.

Don’t get me wrong.  Some of it was probably interesting.   There was just — well, a lot of it.   And it wasn’t really tailored at my interests.

Funny, though — there was a reason I started following you in the first place.  It seemed that what you were saying had a lot of value.  It was interesting.   What I didn’t count on  was sheer the volume of stuff that you churn out.   Now, the good stuff just gets lost in the tide.   And I don’t have time to wade through.

It’s funny.  I know that Twitter has value and so does Google +     So I giggle when those who don’t know any better say things like, “I don’t need to know if someone’s just had breakfast”.    As if that was all there was to Twitter!

I don’t have anyone that I follow who puts out really dumb info.  I’m kind of cranky that way.  If you don’t believe me, check out my earlier blog — “If You’re Really My Friend, You’ll Just Call“.  The title should give away my position on triviality in social media.  But frankly, if I had to choose, I think I’d rather know that a friend was in a Starbucks than try to sort through the last twenty posts you sent out there to find something of interest or use.

And if I might make another tiny suggestion.  You might want to lose the dumb icon picture.  To me anyway, Social Media is a conversation.   I really much prefer to think I’m talking with a person, especially in a business setting, which is largely what Twitter is to me.  Maybe I just woke up on the wrong side of the iPad, but today I thought I’d rather poke a fork in my eye than see that wierd icon one more time.  By all means have a nickname if it makes it easier to remember you or if it makes you feel better.  But I’d like to see a real picture.  Maybe others feel that way too.

Ultimately, that won’t matter.  I’m not following you anymore anyway.

It’s not just you.  And it’s not just Twitter.  I’m going through my inbox as well.  I’m really cutting down the amount of stuff that I get.  If it’s not really in my interest, or if it’s not really done well — it’s going.   Those those companies that don’t have an unsubscribe that I can just use by clicking once?  I’m just marking you as spam.

The spam thing might sound severe.  I’m not a mean person.  I realize that will affect your trust scores and may result in you not getting your email past other spam filters.   I don’t want to intentionally harm anyone.  But if I have to work at getting rid of you — finding a log in, getting the password — I just don’t have the time.  Yes, I  do have LastPass so I probably have the user id and password logged.  What I don’t have is the time to bother with it.  So you’re spam.  Sorry.

You might want to think if anyone else out there feels the same way I do.  One person won’t affect you that much.  But if  a lot of people feel the way I do, you may want to fix your system.   Make it as easy — or easier to drop off your list as it was to get on it.  Why?  Imagine if all your efforts in pumping out your message go nowhere because you don’t get past the basic spam filters.  Of course, if it’s not really valuable or targeted they are probably just deleting it anyway.   Like everyone else, I start each session deleting 5 or 10 recent emails from lists and wherever.   But even a broken clock is right twice a day so you might hit on something — but only if they can see you.  Don’t be spam.

Even I’m not a lost case.  I’m not getting rid of everything.    I know that people and companies are using Twitter, Google +, Linked In, email and all that to get attention in the marketplace.  I don’t mind that.  I buy things.  I need to know about trends.  I even want to know important things about friends.  But if it gets to be too much, I have to choose.  If I have to choose, I’m going to choose that which has the highest value.  If I’m going to drop a ball, it’s going to the one with the lowest value – to me.

What do I keep?  Good question.  Not that you’ll ever know the answer.   Because you never asked.   But if you had, here’s what I would have told you.  I’m looking for great (not merely good) content.   In a world of great content, merely good doesn’t make it.  I’m also looking at stuff from those who have focused on me and my interests.  That’s one reason I love Google +  It has the promise to target to specific groups based on interest and relationships.  It’s hard on Twitter and other media, but it’s not impossible.

I’m focusing on those who help me cut through the clutter, not increase it.   I’m looking at the people who know that I’m “over the top” busy.  I’m reading those who are trying to help me find time — not lose it.    These folks know that I can’t juggle five things so they don’t try to hand me a sixth thing.  They ask if they could take one thing.  The best spend a lot of time thinking about how they can give me less to do.

These are people I’m not dropping.  If the cost of getting that sort of help and partnership involves looking at the occasional message, I’m good with that.  I want to keep in touch with them.  Heck, I might even want to know their location (well, maybe).

But you?  Because it is all about you, isn’t it.  At least that’s how it seems sometimes.   I read a couple of tweets in the recent torrent you sent.   Maybe you are just trying to do too much.  It’s a little tired.  Also, it’s a little disjointed.  I don’t know what to expect from you.  Do you know who you are?  Think about that.  Forget the theory, forget the rules.  I think a little authenticity goes a long way.  Shakespeare said it best.   “To thine own self be true.”   Under 30 characters, by the way.

Just a thought — but you may want to take a lesson from that.   Cut back a little on volume and really focus on quality.   You might think about what you really want to say as a person — what you are passionate about.   When you sent a pile of stuff or just send lackluster material it just makes me think that I can’t believe you read all that stuff and actually sent me stuff you really care about.

I’m just suggesting, but maybe more of  your “followers” feel like I do.  Even if they don’t unfollow, maybe the do what I did for a while — just skip your tweets.  After all, there’s two ways to “unfollow”.   One way is to simply skip over you.  I’ve done that for a while.   It’s only recently, in a fit of “clean up” fever, I caught myself reading one of your tweets and thought, “there’s 140 characters of my life I’ll never get back.”

Anyway, all that doesn’t matter.  I’m not following you anymore.

Jim

1 Comment

Filed under People, Social Media, Social Networking

One response to “140 Characters Of My Life That I’ll Never Get Back

  1. After this article, I started following you today!
    Fawn

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