A few weeks ago I saw a real Facebook post that said “I think I’m going to take a nap.” It was from a person who posts a lot on social media, and it’s hard to imagine a better sign that you’ve run out of things to post about. There is social media fatigue, where we are all tired of seeing your posts, and then there is social media exhaustion, where you simply run out of things to say.
What happens when you don’t even have the energy to share one of those vapid pre-made posts about loving your grandkids or standing up for a cause that you really don’t know anything about? Do you yawn and tell your followers that your going to take a nap?
Have you noticed that 90% of the posts on social media seem to come from the same 10% of your friends? It’s not a coincidence that 90% of your news feed is filled with pre-built posts that have come to represent the equivalent of social media spam. Where did everybody else go? It’s simple. They just ran out of stuff to say.
It’s like going on a trip with someone you like, but don’t really know. At first it’s great. You share everything. Then after awhile you come to that awkward silence where you’ve used up all of the topics that you have in common. You still like one another, but there just isn’t anything else to say. Some people use that silence to excuse ourselves and move on while others try to manufacture something to talk about. That may be where social media platforms like Facebook are headed. The only people left talking will be those who desperately seek the attention of others, without regard to what they are saying.
With that in mind, here are some tips for identifying when you should simply resist the temptation to post on social media.
(1) Are you doing something you would call somebody on the phone to tell them about or describe? (“Hi, Ellen? It’s Jeff. I called to let you know I’m thinking about taking a nap.”) If not, don’t post about it.
(2) Did you see a pre-made, inspirational post that spoke to you as a person? Good. Is it something you would shout out loud in a restaurant full of friends and acquaintances? (“I’m a strong willed person, and if you don’t like it well that’s too bad! What? Oh – yes, I would like to see the dessert menu.”) If not, don’t post it.
(3) Are you really trying to start a conversation? (For example, posting something intentionally mysterious like “I can’t believe the nerve of some people” but nothing more). If so, please find someone to converse with – but resist the urge to post it.
Do your part to keep the social web from degenerating into a communication wasteland. If you don’t have anything to say, spend some time listening instead.