Eatin’ Crow: My Biggest Social Media Lesson of 2011

In September 2011, I wrote a post here that was the most commented and read titled, “Why I’m Quitting Google Plus.” At the time, it was the right thing to do. I was snowed, as they say, personally and professionally. But now I am starting to realize that even though it isn’t my main channel of engagement, it is a place where I can gain some additional exposure and read great stuff from others–hey, it’s not always about me.  I don’t spend a lot of time there yet, but I know I need to pay attention.  In quitting and now going back, I learned my biggest lesson of the year: never make a hasty decision about a social media venue’s long-term value. Lesson filed: I should be more willing to watch and learn before jumping in and almost drowning. Yes, I’m back. But this time, just dipping my toe in and keeping watch. I really feel I owe this resurrection to Jason Falls, who is constantly encouraging us not to make hasty social media decisions, and writing about social media biz in a true, no-bullshit fashion.

Here, for your enjoyment, is my original post. Have you made any hasty social media decisions in 2011 you’re reconsidering? Let me know in the comments–let’s commiserate together. 

It was a long weekend. My Twitter account got hacked, my phone died, and I had an awful sense of urgency all weekend long, when I should have been relaxing. Then, this morning I woke to the awful news of Trey Pennington’s death. He wasn’t someone I knew, but via social media anymore, we all feel we know people we follow, even if the relationship is just virtual.

Jay Baer wrote a blog piece this morning that gave me permission to breathe. Thank you, Jay. Even though Jay’s post wasn’t specifically about the potential suffocation social media can have when it is your career, it wandered pretty close to the line. The piece was more reflective of the false intimacy that social media creates, and was a reaction, of sorts, to Pennington’s death. But the post reminded me that social media is just my job, it is not my life.

I buy clothes on the replacement theory. Years ago I realized that my closet was bulging, and I decided that for every piece of clothing I bought, I had to give one away. It made me more thoughtful about my purchases, for sure. Now, my inboxes are bulging, and I am starting to feel trapped by the need for new information. And it’s not a good feeling. So, I am trying an experiment. For every new channel or application I take on, I have to let one go. I’m giving each channel 30 days to see if it’s worth my time, or my clients’ time. If not, I’m gone.

Google+ is the first casualty of my new resolution. I get it, it’s just not for me. I’ve come to realize that it’s a channel for people who already have a large, loyal following established. They seem to be the only ones getting decent interaction there. I know I’ll be missing an opportunity to push my blogs up higher in the search engines by not using it as a broadcast channel, but I’m okay with that. I can’t handle one more useless channel of notifications and friending. I’m a one-woman shop with only 600 Twitter followers. I need to “say no faster”, as Chris Brogan would say. Sorry, Google+–gotta say no.


4 Responses to “Eatin’ Crow: My Biggest Social Media Lesson of 2011”

  1. Andy Shaindlin December 22, 2011 at 4:19 am #

    Interesting, Chris. Thanks. Like you, I dove into Google+ when it launched, used it for a while, watched, listened, wrote, read, waited….and left. But unlike you – so far – I haven’t gone back. There’s nothing wrong with G+. I just don’t feel that I need it. And there’s an opportunity cost; I have limited time (like all of us) for using these platforms, and every minute spent generating traction on a new one is a minute I can’t spend harvesting my prior investment in another.

    Because each user’s needs, desires, and expectations vary, it makes sense that a particular tool will be useful to one person and not to another. And it makes sense that this utility will wax and wane over time. It may be that a few weeks or months from now I head back to Google, and leave Facebook. Who knows? But for now, I’m investing my online time elsewhere, not on G+.

    Thanks again.

    • Chris Syme December 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

      Thanks for your thoughts, I so agree about the need for a tool to be useful. I have heard some rumblings about Google+ as a good collaboration platform (like a poor man’s version of Saleforce’s Chatter), and I am hoping to explore that piece on a small scale. I am working with a foundation that is looking for a free internal collaboration tool and thought I’d give it a shot. If it works, I’ll keep you posted.

  2. Michael Stoner December 22, 2011 at 2:35 pm #


    I feel a (tiny) pang of guilt each time I get an email informing me that someone has added me to a Google+ circle. And what am I doing with Google+? Nothing, yet. So many things to accomplish, so many distractions, so little time. As much as I think that Google+ has promise (and as much as I dislike Facebook), I’ve given myself permission to slack off until I can see greater utility for it. Thanks for sharing your own thinking about this!


    • Chris Syme December 22, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

      If you ever dig in and find a good use, please share. I am needing a reason to stick with it this time. Right now, it’s just for clients.

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