One Year After Closing the Forums
It’s been about a year since the discussion forums on this website closed down, after running continuously for more than 5 years. Looking back, I’m really glad I let all of that go last year. There were some quality interactions there, and I still keep in touch with certain people from that community, but I don’t miss the drama. People tell me that many of the old members connect on Facebook now. I’m not on Facebook, so I’m not personally involved in any of those discussions. I’m happy about that since it has given me more time to focus on my in-person social life.
Occasionally I get asked if I’ll reopen the forums. While the archives still remain online for those who want to search through old threads, I have no desire to open them up to new posts again. People are free to discuss personal growth as much as they want. I just don’t want to play host. Five years was plenty!
Letting Go of Social Media?
After quitting Facebook and closing the forums last year, I greatly scaled back my social media involvement. At the time I kept Twitter and Google+ since they’re much easier to manage. I stayed active on both of these services in 2012.
Lately I’ve been feeling that it might be best to stop using these services too, or at least to scale back my usage of them. I realize it’s practically heresy for a blogger to say such things, but I don’t use social media for traffic building like many other bloggers do. My blog predates my use of social media services like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ by several years. Whether I maintain a presence on social media services or not, people will continue to share my articles anyway. I haven’t been on Facebook since 2011, but they were one of my top traffic referrers in 2012.
No social media outlet is particularly important to me as a business or traffic building tool. Quitting Facebook and closing the forums had a negligible effect on my web traffic, and I expect that scaling back my Twitter and Google+ usage would make little difference too.
I’ve mainly used social media to share inspirational messages when I can. Sometimes I share personal updates and joke around with people now and then, but for the most part I’ve used these as additional creative outlets. One reason I’m thinking about closing these channels is that doing so will help me focus better on creating larger products. The impulsive nature of social media is on the wrong side of the spectrum from where I want to hereafter. I’d rather share thoughts that take months to figure out… as opposed to a few seconds.
If people need an occasional reminder to check in with my blog, they can easily subscribe to my newsletter, which I send about once a month. So there’s no need for me to have a Twitter or Google+ account just to remind people that there’s some new material to read.
I know that many people enjoy the direct access to me through social media. Through those services we can interact in some fashion. I agree that this is nice at times, but it has a price, which is the potential for distraction and scattered thinking. Hereafter I’d like to tone that down even more.
So if you share something with me on Twitter or Google+ and I don’t reply, it’s because I’m cutting back on using those services, so I can invest more time elsewhere. It’s not because I don’t like you.
Someone asked me if I use Instagram. No, I never created an Instagram account since I don’t have a cat.
Socially I prefer to connect with people face to face anyway. You can’t hug a social media profile.
Perhaps the main reason I’m feeling drawn to let go of social media is that I’m rather bored with it. Perhaps when some new and exciting service comes along, I’ll give it a try, but for now the most popular ones seem to have grown stale. I love the allure of new technology and new possibilities, but the current offerings in this area seem uninspired to me. That’s to be expected since eventually these free services will start monetizing more heavily, and that’s likely to create a conflict of interest with their users (if it hasn’t already).
I’m not suggesting that my experiences with social media would apply to you. I’ve largely used social media as an extension of blogging. But for now I think I’ll stick with my blog when I have something worthwhile to broadcast instead of trying to extend blogging into other social media platforms.