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Published May 15, 2023 Updated May 16, 2023
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Social Media

I don’t rely on social media as much as I used to and has become more of a background process I tap into when I have time or pop up for air. Generally, I treat social media like asynchronous group chat for saying something short — which isn’t best suited as a long form article — or to converse with people directly. So this article is for busy people who want to leverage this medium effectively and with minimal hassle.

History

For context, the first tweet was posted in 2006. Roughly, a year later in 2007, I joined the Twitter platform as well. Fast forward to 2016 and Mastodon was launched. This was also the same time I stopped using Twitter on a regular basis due to the horror of what social media — especially Facebook — did to the American election (including news/journalism).

I finally ended up joining the Mastodon fediverse two years later (you can find me here). By this time my involvement in social media had withered considerably and I made the decision to focus on long form articles instead.

Recently, Elon Musk took ownership of Twitter and made a complete ass of himself in doing so which has made the platform less than desirable in terms of leadership. Mastodon, on the other hand, is at least decentralized, federated, and makes more sense than remaining on Twitter — or worse: Facebook — so no single, power hungry, individual controls the space.

Syndication

You can use syndication to subscribe and follow others on Mastodon — as first mentioned here — and takes little effort. You don’t have to be on the platform to leverage this feature. You only need tack the .rss suffix onto one’s URL. For example, using my profile:

You used to be able to do this with Twitter but Musk put an end to that which is another reason to prefer Mastodon over Twitter for micro-posting.

Guidelines

To add rigor to your social media routine — because your time is valuable — the following guidelines might be of interest:

  • Keep your posts educational, entertaining, and relevant. Refrain from posting the mundane. Be creative.

  • Post three or less times a day in order to not fatigue your readership since it’s not only you they are following. Your readership will respect you more this way.

  • Unfollow/unsubscribe anyone that averages more than three posts a day, brags about themselves and/or company, spams, etc. Your time is valuable. Respect it.

  • Avoid reposting compliments (bragging).

  • Avoid reposting about your company (bragging). Use a corporate account for company-specific information instead.

  • Avoid dot replies (spam). Example: ". @example Reply text here." This causes your reply to show up in all of your followers streams who might not want to follow everyone that you follow. This also duplicates (spams) the post to a follower that follows both you and the person being replied to.

  • Avoid enabling services that auto-post your activities. Examples: flight statuses, weight scales, etc. No one wants to read robotic speech.

  • Get Things Done. Limit the reading of social activity to three times a day (i.e. morning, noon, and night) or less or whenever you pop up for air.

  • Don’t Repeat Yourself. Differentiate your posts from your site feed and/or other syndicated services, otherwise you end up spamming followers and losing credibility.

  • Practice Inbox Zero. Add items of interest to OmniFocus, for example, for reading later. Then respond to those who have replied to you and exit with your timeline caught up.

  • Use apps, like OmniFocus, to save posts that link to articles which require more time to read. This will allow you to fly through your timeline quickly while building a list for further reading which requires more thought and focus for later.

  • Have fun but be efficient about it.

Conclusion

With any luck, this information will allow you to make effective use of your social media consumption. More importantly, with syndication, you can avoid being reactive to notifications and, instead, proactively manage consumption on your own time.

Enjoy and feel free to ping me on Mastodon if you’d like to chat further. I always respond but might not be quick about it since I have notifications turned off by default. 😉