For a couple of weeks I had the mother of all the spring flus. In the beginning of it, my temp rose over 39°C/102°F and I'm still couching and sneezing. Obviously during this time I hadn't blogged, my Twitter account had been feeling lonely, things were quiet at my Pinterest, my Facebook page was a ghost town, the people in my Facebook group probably thought I've forgot them completely, and let's not even talk about my email list.
After the all too long break, I even found a half written draft of an article in my site's list of content. I had made a strong start and then some, saved it, and forgot the whole thing. Before catching the cold, I'd started to make some changes to my site. Yeah, I'm always tweaking and messing with the design. Two decades in web design and development has made it impossible for me not to improve my site whenever. The changes, however, had to be put on hold.
In case you have, in a way or another, been following my travels on this Earth, you know my physical health isn't the only reason why especially blogging and other social media have to take a step back once in a while. Stress, full on burnouts, depression, and whatnot. Communications, even in digital realms, can be quite taxing.
This is where the shoemaker's children go barefoot with me. I often preach about consistency, how you must keep on going. I believe in it, I truly do. When I was at my most consistent streak on Instagram, sharing daily selfies, the amount of my followers grew in an equal consistent pace. Similarly, when I Tweet more regularly, I get more regular engagement on Twitter. As it comes to my blog, when I was posting articles in a constant weekly rate, the traffic was constantly higher than at the moment. So if it is followers, engagement or traffic you are after, consistency is the way to do it.
Some might now raise their voice for scheduling. I have tried scheduling Tweets, Pinterest pins, and Facebook updates for my page. It works for a moment. People react, like and ReTweet, but soon they notice something's off and the reactions halt. Besides, scheduling isn't any less work. At least for me, when I want to check what I share and when I share it. Obviously, if I would just let any content be shared to my streams, then I could keep feeding the beast without even noticing what's going on. I'm funny like that, I want to keep my content in somewhat good quality.
That's why I never warmed much up for Triberr. At least the way it used to be (I don't know if things have changed since then), the service seemed to be more about sharing a lot than sharing quality. The most enthusiastic Triberr users Tweet multiple links within an hour, and they don't seem to really care what they post. Just keep posting.
As I mentioned, I tried Pinterest scheduling. BoardBooster, one of the schedulers I tested, stored my password on their own servers. After less than 10 pins it got my Pinterest account put on safe mode due to "strange activity". It didn't go well, then. Another one I tried, that Pinterest API to log in to my account, turned out to be too much work. Eventually I came to the conclusion that scheduling is kind of futile with Pinterest Smart Feed. It's not like most anyone is going to see when and how much I was pinning. My pins aren't shown to my followers in a chronological order as they happen. As a matter of a fact, some followers may never see my pins on their Smart Feed. Thus now I just bulk pin whenever I have time and energy for it, and nobody is the wiser. It's faster than using schedulers and has the same effect.
Either way, scheduling isn't quite my thing.
There was a time when I used to blog as much or as little as I wanted without feeling any remorse. It was the same with other content as well. At some point it all got very very serious. Feeling bad about not Tweeting. Having a terrible conscious for not blogging. Being all upset about not sending emails to my list. Abandonment issues, of sorts.
Could that be in the heart of the depression and anger social media usage appears to cause? Perhaps it's simple as that: Exhaustion.
Do you ever feel you must be more active with sharing, liking, blogging and networking? Do you ever feel you should be more involved? Do you ever feel you are getting too many notifications from too many places? Is it like someone is constantly expecting something, a reaction or commitment, from you? Has anyone ever complained when you haven't immediately responded to their mention or direct message? I'm saying yes to all of these questions. Yes, oh yes.
Maybe the bad feelings using social media appears to cause is only due to the constant stream. A stream which doesn't only demand your attention, but also your effort. If you aren't very active, push content and reactions all around the place, you fade away. With a few weeks of a break, your followers will walk away, your blog traffic will plummet, and your Facebook group will be filled with the loud chirping of crickets. You must be always on.
For some it seems to be easy. Being always, or at least often, on. It isn't so easy for all of us. I can't be on for very long times. I need breaks. Sometimes I take a break, sometimes my body or mind forces me to it. I'm aware it would be better if I'd take that break before my body and mind breaks.
While I still do believe in consistency, I'm also aware that I'm a human. Unless I one of these days let the algorithms take over my streams and my blog, I must give myself some slack. Sometimes it means a few days off, sometimes weeks, sometimes months. And I must learn not to feel bad about it.
I am not a robot!