Reflections from a London2012 social media detox
Over the past six weeks I’ve stopped doing what I’ve been doing on social media for the past four years…posting pretty much non-stop about social media.
Instead I by and large turned my attention to London2012, first the Olympics and then the Paralympics. This has included pausing this blog in favour of a jux photo-diary (greenwicholympicdiary.jux.com).
Though I didn’t plan it like this, it actually resulted in a six week detox from social media business as usual (outside the day job). As London2012 draws to a close tonight, I’ve thought about how that’s worked out for me.
First of all, on Twitter I appear to have lost 40-50 odd followers. Fair enough really, the Paralympics in particular didn’t have nearly as much exposure in the US as it did here. A shame given the 227 US Paralympians representing their country.
But as a result I must have appeared like people I occasionally see tweeting non stop about college football or major league baseball, where I wonder what on earth they are on about – and more to the point where I think ‘what’s this got to do with me?’
I have seen two positives though.
First of all I’m now far more informed about my local area, Greenwich (London), than I was previously.
Fairly soon into my Olympic tweeting I attracted the attention of local activists who objected to Greenwich Park being used for equestrian events, and from there I actually started tapping into a whole range of local twitter users.
Never mind social media linking me to people half way around the world, using social media differently has connected me more to my immediate community.
Related to that, I now follow a different mix of people. The social media experts are still there. So are plenty of people in sports, the Paralympic movement, and quite simply other Olympic / Paralympic enthusiasts from all walks of life.
The range of content I see in my stream is different and more varied, and I think I’m better off for it.
It’s benefitted me personally, I feel more optimistic and grounded with the real world. As an aside I’ve also been able to personally test out a few other social networks with my paralympic content like Jux and Eyeem.
It’s not rocket science, but its a reminder that’s been said many times elsewhere, that those of us in agencies can easily start living in a bubble.
In fact, I was reminded of something I posted a few years ago, a Dutch marketer, Martijn van Osch, who rationed his media intake to the bare minimum and – perhaps counter intuitively given his job – found he was better off professionally for it. His original piece is worth a read, some of what he said resonated as I looked back over the past few weeks and thought about the debate those of us who work in social media always have about filtering out the noise.
Those of you who have followed me on social media these past few weeks, thank you for bearing with me! (Almost) Normal service with stats based posts resumes this week!
(Above, US women’s wheelchair basketball team leaves the North Greenwich arena after a quarter final win over Canada)