It’s a constant struggle for me to find signals in a sea of social media noise.
The coronavirus crisis throws a giant obstacle into my social following strategies because of two reasons:
First, I don’t want to tune out people who I care about but I also don’t want my newsfeed filled with politics and sensationalism. I respect that my connections want to share that stuff but — similar to the irrelevant or repetitive advertising that appear in the newsfeed — I don’t want to see it. People who do share political etc. posts once in a while are easy to ignore. People who do it all the time are unfollowed. We can stay connected but they’re muted. My mental sanity takes priority.
Second, I’m using mobile devices (mostly my phone) for social media consumption much more than my MacBook despite its larger screen. This forces me to maximize my productivity on each site to see what I want to see without the fluff of anything else taking up that screen real estate.
Here are the 4 social media networks I’m using the most in 2020:
LinkedIn is very useful for my job search. I’m actively networking for a full-time position as an English (or English language arts) teacher. I’m certified to teach the subject to grades 5-12 in Massachusetts. I don’t know when or if schools will physically reopen this coming school year. I don’t know whether I’d be needed in a physical classroom or to teach virtually. Regardless, I’m using the site to strategically connect with people who can help in my search.
Twitter is useful for me to follow themes and interests through curated lists. For instance, here’s a list I created of epidemiologists, biostatisticians, and other COVID-19 experts. I use Twitter to share resources, collaborate, and chit-chat. I previously shared my Twitter usage philosophy.
Instagram is Facebook-owned and photography-focused. I occasionally share videos but I mostly use the account to tell stories through pictures. Maybe it’s a place where I walked or a food that I cooked. But unlike Facebook where I am explicit who I befriend, on Instagram I’m more apt to follow celebrities and strangers. If I frequently share a hashtag with someone else, and I like that other person’s photos and captions, I’ll follow.
Facebook is listed fourth because of my ongoing love-hate relationship. I’m constantly pondering about taking a sabbatical. But there’s valuable content in the groups. I belong to some teaching groups, nerdy groups, and food groups. I manage a few groups including one to talk about the coronavirus crisis without politics or sensationalism.
I’m minimally present on Reddit, Goodreads, Yelp, and a couple other sites with a social component. But I’m mostly there for the news, books, and restaurants, respectively.