It’s an insidious disease. At first your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts are a shiny new toy. You put up a post every few weeks, perhaps primarily aimed at family and close friends to show pictures from a recent trip or to announce a promotion.
But then it grows worse.
Even though you’re not really the sentimental sort, you mysteriously feel you must pass along any video with adorable puppies or cats, or placards that promote human rights, and your posts grow to twice a week. Now you are hooked, spurred on by an occassional “like”. You begin to use Facebook as a broadcast outlet for your every emotion, which you like to express many times a day. You get up in the morning and immediately post “why does today feel like Monday?”. Minutes later you photograph your oatmeal and post it with the words “eating healthy today”. Stuck in traffic, you broadcast “where do all these cars come from”. You post a photo of a sleeping dog near your office door with the headline “dogs are so lucky they get to sleep in.” And so it goes…
Funny cats. Pictures of your baby, friends babies, babies you don’t even know but think are great looking babies, photos of a Jack in the Box burger with the caption “mmmmm, beef”, sports headlines from your favorite team, drunken photos of you and your friends (OK – we actually sort of enjoy those photos), mysterous posts like “I’m just sayin” and “is anyone else bored this morning?” Multiple photos of you smiling with the caption “yahoo”.
You post the obvious…”snow is cold”, “don’t gulp hot coffee”, “you shouldn’t drink milk that has turned green”.
You comment on every post on LinkedIn, sometimes getting into arguments with people you don’t know over subjects you don’t understand or care about.
I have a friend that travels for a living, and he likes to post every location he is passing through, sometimes several a day when he is on the road. This could be interesting if he were in facinating places, but instead….. A photo of a busy Starbucks with the caption “Starbucks in Atlanta Airport”, followed five hours later by another Starbucks at JFK, and then the Caribou Coffee near his Hyatt Hotel.
I see how it happens. Heck, I am writing about it here. We all love to see our words in digital print.
But here are a few hints…
Unless you are having dinner with Obama, Jesus, and Mel Brooks, you probably should not feel the need to send out multiple posts detailing your evening meal. And a picture of Kale taken with your iPhone is really not appetizing.
Don’t change your profile picture every day. It is only interesting now and then.
Ask yourself…..how will I feel about this post in twenty years, because it will still exist.
Are you losing friends because your posts are too political or angry? How will you feel about that in a few years?
And most of all, if you are posting several times a day, even once a day, it might be time to wean yourself a bit…… try cutting back a little. It could be freeing.
Ask yourself before you post “is this information something I think people would enjoy hearing in a normal conversation?”
If the post is about a good deal you got on carrots at Safeway, or the fact that the chair at your office needs to be oiled, the answer is probably no.