Ten Causes of Social Media Meltdown

by Doc Nicole Sundene,
Naturopathic Physician,
Editor in Chief of Kitchen Table Medicine

La la la la la la …isn’t social media fun?  First you make a few accounts meet some great people, find some fabulous blogs to read and receive unsolicited kind feedback and support from virtual strangers. Yay! Don’t you feel so positive? You suddenly find yourself Twittering and Facebooking and Stumbling and Digging to your heart’s content.

You subscribe to a bunch of great blogs, start reading and commenting away–and then it happens.  Something bad happens; someone says something bad or gossips about you. Maybe a big nasty fight breaks out in a forum or a dispute arises between your two closest friends and you’re asked to take sides.  Regardless of the asinine behavior it always notoriously happens at that exact moment in time when your eyes are bleary, your brain is fried, and you are already feeling stressed and weary from a dozen other things.

meltdown
meltdown

You snap.

Your world feels like it is crashing down all around you!

Your synapses are misfiring, the rage boils up from deep inside,

and you slam your computer shut and stomp off… BaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!

You my friend have just had a TOTAL SOCIAL MEDIA MELTDOWN.

Since an “Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” according to my favorite Chinese proverb, let’s take a little look at the Top Ten Causes of Social Media Meltdown:

1.      IM Invasion: Now IM is one of the most ingenious conveniences of our time and it is also the most annoying dang thing ever invented.  “What are you doing?”  “Hi”  “How are you today?” “Can you vote for this?” Good gravy! How can one possibly concentrate on writing a blog with other people popping up in your face 900 times an hour? Personally out of all the socialnetworking options out there this one can be the most repeatedly invasive and most bloggers in need of accomplishing daily internet tasks will need to set strict boundaries for IM.

2.     Over-stumbling: Seriously I have tried to bookmark and reorganize the entire internet through Stumblupon.com and it just isn’t possible.  I give up!  I love that site, but it just isn’t good to spend more than an hour a day stumbling.  I maintain a pretty popular stumble site with just under 300 fans by stumbling about an hour or so a day.  Sometimes less than 15 minutes.

manpullinghairout
manpullinghairout

You know I have actually had random strangers contact me and tell me that the one thumbs up of their page I gave a month back is the most significant source of their website traffic! Wow.  Stumble is certainly a powerful tool but can be just as much of a blogging burden as Digg. You know you have been stumbling too much when your eyes are blurry, your brain is throbbing from overstimulation, and you want to go send a nasty message to some imbecile that gave your article a thumbs down without even reading it, simply because they don’t believe in natural medicine. Trust me it is really best not to just shout at a random stranger, “THEN DON’T TAKE ASPIRIN AS IT COMES FROM WILLOW BARK AND GOD FORBID YOU END UP WITH CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE AND NEED TO TAKE DIGOXIN WHICH IS SYNTHESIZED FROM THE CARDIOGLYCOSIDES IN FOXGLOVE!”  Trust me on this one. Recognize the meltdown and just walk away.

How to use stumbleupon effectively

3.      Twittering Your Life Away: Isn’t Twitter fun?  All your friends chirping about the latest and greatest in one ever growing collective band of random thoughts on steroids.  But then hours have gone by and you have talked about nothing and then the day’s a wasted.

twitterclouds
twitterclouds

I have also seen some bloggers undergo brutal attacks on Twitter.  Twitter can be fun, and Twitter can get ugly, don’t Twitter your life away.  In part II of this article we will talk about how to use Twitter as an efficient marketing and communication tool without feeling like a Twithead.  Sign up for the Twitter Handbook

4.      Facebook Freaks Freaking You Out: If you have put yourself OUT THERE-out there, then chances are you are on Facebook under your first and last name for all the blogosphere to find.  This is a great way to network, strengthen your brand with a fan page and utilize Blog Networks for free advertising. It is great to find like minded individuals, and further connect with favorite blogging friends. But Facebook is also a dating site and thus a fantastic way to invite hecklers, pessimists and stalkers in to your vortex.  I don’t hesitate to delete and block anyone that even slightly gives me a bad vibe on Facebook.  Yeah that might be extreme, but as a woman on the internet I would rather be safe than sorry.  Strangers don’t have the right to demand your attention on the internet, harass you are badger you to do anything.  Just say NO to Facebook Freaks.

Facebook Fatigue

5.      Digging in a Vacuum: The biggest mistake I see most newbie bloggers make when they get on Digg is to submit their own content, Digg a bunch of stuff on the front pages and then fall to despair when their FANTASTIC article doesn’t even get a second Digg.  Same thing happened to me over there at first. You have to be a friend to have a friend on Digg.  Focus on becoming part of the community and your articles will naturally become popular.  Don’t get frustrated if your fab article doesn’t hit the front page.  Don’t believe me?  Submit an article from CNN or National Geographic and see that it isn’t getting any Diggs either.

6.      Digging Your Blog Away: Please don’t Digg your blog away, this is the saddest thing that can happen to a blogger. Once bloggers figure out Digg the next mistake they make that leads to social media meltdown is spending every second of the day on Digg. Overdigging is the best way to seriously burn out a seasoned blogger.  Digg can also be an extremely negative place with a mobster mentality that can smash many bloggers up against the coral-for no other reason than just because there are a lot of angry teenage boys on there.

digglogo
digglogo

This is exactly why as a blogger you shouldn’t spend all day on there.  Actually less is more, and you can still get fierce Digg traffic without using robot programs or digging for 12 hours a day.  If you are spending all day on Digg and haven’t posted a new article in the last three days, chances are you have become Digg Obsessed.  This may sound ridiculous to bloggers that are brand new to Digg, but the site is seriously addicting, and I have seen some really great bloggers become so obsessed after hitting the front page of Digg that they literally don’t even have time to update their blog more than twice a month.  Sure it’s a rush to be on the front page, but don’t lose site as to why you are blogging in the first place.

How to use Digg effectively

The importance of mutual friends on Digg

7.      Forum Attackathon: Have you ever started what you thought might be a friendly or informative discussion to promote an article, and then returned to find people completely attacking you? Yikes! Such negativity can be extremely harsh on your brand or personal reputation, and the scariest part is that it is now recorded on the internet for all of eternity.  The problem is that some people really don’t care about you or anyone else around them for that matter.  There are some seriously angry and negative people on the internet and it is impossible to navigate around them.  While bloggers are typically a friendly, thoughtful, progressive crew, there are those out there that thrive on attacking others.

blogoff
blogoff

When this happens just walk away. You can’t reason with negative types and their goal of course is to suck all your energy by proving to everyone else how much more superior they are than you because they have been oppressed their entire life by their own low self esteem issues.  Trust me if you just walk out of the thread and don’t look back it is the best thing you can do.  We all just watched the Presidential Election polls and it is clear that no matter how you voted, no matter how right you feel you are in your opinion that 50% of the population still typically disagrees with you.  When a friendly debate turns ugly and immature it is best for your brand to just walk away. Decent people will see that you were needlessly attacked and the participants will be left looking like the malicious bullies they are.  If you feel you must put in your two cents do so and then inform your harassers you will not be returning for more.  Be the bigger person and just leave the thread.

8.      Letting Gossip Suck you Dry: Unfortunately there are bad people everywhere-especially on the internet.  The psychology behind what happens to grown ups when they are allowed to hide behind fake avatars on the internet is truly fascinating.   Treat people how you would treat them in person. Remember that  gossip and negativity are unfortunate consequence of putting yourself out there.  If you don’t have a thick enough skin then you best not be on the internet.  People can even attack you for being too nice, too popular, too helpful, or too smart.  I have seen some ugly things being said about others and although disheartening, gossip is a great red flag waved above the exact people you should always be out to avoid anyways.

9.      Commenting till the Cows Come Home: Good gravy, no one expects you to comment on every single blog in your RSS reader!  It simply is not possible.  The most efficient system is to comment on the blogs that leave comments for you, as well as your favorite blogs within your niche.  If you find yourself with nothing to say on a blog, just move on and leave a comment next time.  I certainly don’t expect people to be interested in every health topic I discuss at the kitchen table. Make a point to be a consistent commenter, without feeling obligated to do it every time.

10.  Trying to keep up with the Joneses: Uhh…should you really be doing exactly what your fellow blog neighbors are doing? Maybe so and maybe not.  Is so and so running a better social media campaign than you? Most likely. Many bloggers have a lifestyle that affords them more time for social media than others.  If you have a full time job, a family, or other commitments you are likely not giving your mind much needed down time when constantly obsessed with social media.  “For all that is Yin is Yang”– the best way to keep things in a state of balance is to adopt a thorough and consistent social media system.  Which is exactly what we will discuss in part two of my social media series, “The Top Ten Tips for Coping with Social Media Meltdown”.

Here are my Social Networking profiles if you would like to add me as a friend on BC, Twitter, or Stumble, if you have any social media questions you can leave them in the comments and I’m sure tt or I can likely help you. Otherwise, I’ll see you next time for the second part of this social media discussion.

http://twitter.com/DocNicole
http://docnicole.stumbleupon.com/
http://www.blogcatalog.com//user/DocNicole

http://timethief.stumbleupon.com/

Discussion Question: What Caused You to Have a Social Media Meltdown?

26 thoughts on “Ten Causes of Social Media Meltdown

  1. Wow! Thanks for all the great comments everyone, I think we have all learned some important lessons from this discussion. I enjoyed your input and think the take home message is to enjoy your socialnetworking, put a cap on how much you allow yourself to do, and do it up smart…which is exactly what I will be talking about next time. I’ll see you guys then if not before :D Doc

  2. Wonderful post, and I can fully identify with most of them. However, #7 and #9 are the two that I feel fits me to a tee. I don’t have confrontations in my personal life because people tend to think twice before talking to me in just any ol’ matter, but online, where people are hidden and far away, well, you know how they can talk and what they can say. So, I really try not to get into any of that nonsense anymore, which has preserved my peace of mind.

    As to #9, I subscribe to over 150 blogs right now in my reader, but I realized pretty early that there was no way I could keep up the type of pace that’s recommended by the blog gurus, so I pick and choose. Lucky for me I’m a speed reader, but I wish I were more of a speed typer also (though I do top out around 85 words a minute when I’m not tired).

  3. Hi DocNicole. First off, thanks for an excellent post. I was wondering how others deal with these situations. I’m sitting here laughing at Bird’s description “lurking.” I guess I am also a lurker. Besides my limited participation in discussions and the comments that I do leave, the rest of the time I’m lurking too and it’s time-consuming! I’m a newbie to blogging and the longer I’m in the blogosphere the more I discover those blogs that I really do love so I try to visit and comment on those regularly. For the rest of my BC friends I try to pop in on a handful each day. I sometimes use a “blanket” comment for my responses and hope that that is not considered rude—I use one comment to address several visitors, but individually so. I also like to link to other blogs, within my posts, if appropriate because I like to promote what I like. On SU I’m pretty much lost…I do stumble the things I like and have noticed I’ve been stumbled and thank those who stumbled me. My Digg and Twitter accounts are mired in cobwebs. Due to “lurking” I feel my posts have dwindled to mostly photos instead of substantive content. Then again, I’m not that deep so maybe I should stick to pics! Lurking now, so I’d better go…thanks again for the great post!

  4. Nicely done!!! You wrapped it in a great package of valuable information as well as support for those who have faced it themselves!

    Needless to say, with anything there are “clics” and no matter how hard you try, infiltrating them can often come back with a slap in the blog-puss!

    No question is a dumb question, sometimes not true…getting beaten up and bruised from top dog’s is a tough pill to swallow, but how do we learn if not from mistakes. I find it amazing the amount of people that the entire online scene has brought in and out of other’s lives, some relationships will have staying power, some are just ships in the night.

    Very good advice for seasoned or newer blog rats!

  5. This is precisely what I’ve been thinking of writing in my blog for a few days now.
    I stayed away from it all over last few years, except for a bit of IM’ing, which I used primarily at work to keep in touch with clients and old friends. However, lately, I could no longer resist the temptation and decided to take the leap. And it is indeed fun. Getting to know complete strangers who share you interests, staying atop of everything, having an opinion about everything is indeed very cool. What started a coffee break activity slowly developed into serious addiction. I now find myself glued not only major social webs, but increasingly to News websites – cnn,newser, vine, dailymail, wallstreet and many more. If its happening, I gotta know it. Whatever it is. Its now that i’ve started feeling the heat. By the end of the day, I can actually feel my incapacitated by evening. Although I don’t blog as much, but I can ever so clearly see what you mean.

  6. I’m so gonna run away from Digg. I can’t seem to even get on that site for the whole month except for 0.05% of the time? Yeah, that’s my fustration.

    For those who’ve already known me, I’m running a second blog now which my main focus was on getting to know more bloggers in other niches such as lets say… blogging. :)

    And then writing all the cool stuff just to get a few minutes of fame over on social media sites. Haha.

  7. Thanks for your great perspective. When I first started blogging, I found that the time I spent on social media really did take away from the quality of my blog posts. In the past few months, I’ve been better at budgeting my time so that the blog is the priority. The networking is important too, but not if I don’t have a quality product for people to read. I am on blogcatalog and stumble, but I seriously limit my facebook traffic to only friends. Readers should know that there are privacy settings with Facebook that allow you to control who can see your profile information, so if things ever get creepy, you can always bump the security up a notch. (I know that doesn’t help drive traffic to your blog necessarily, but better safe than sorry.)

    Once again, thanks for the great post and thanks to TimeThief for hosting it!

  8. I started reading this article thinking that a lot of it didn’t apply to me, but actually I have a baaaaad habit of lurking, which takes up almost as much time as actual commenting, stumbling digging etc. I check out forums and social networks but rarely dredge up anything to contribute – so they are eating up my time even though strictly speaking I don’t even participate! I think I just need to remove myself from the screen after a certain amount of time unless I am doing serious work. There is something hypnotic about that screen, don’t you think?

  9. Great post and real interesting to see the comments…
    I have only recently become a member of some of the social sites so am a relative newbie.
    I have a lot of commitments so I work it like this.
    On facebook my only friend is my son, he thinks I am a sad case, huh not so. I get to chat to him now and then, I throw things at him using that crazy poke thing! ;)
    I am stumbling sites and photographs that I like, as and when. I think I have three or four friends in Stumble, aren’t I sad? But, I keep adding as I keep coming across the people that I know :-D
    If I come across an article that I think is really good and well written, I digg it.
    In technorati, I have just added my favourites.
    I only have a couple of followers on twitter, I am finding that quite difficult to fathom.
    I leave comments generally on many of the blogs, I don’t expect them to answer every comment. I don’t answer every comment of my own. I respond where I think that I should. I have a core amount of people that follow my blog and I have a matrix in my head of sites to visit almost every day, every week and every month. I hope no-one gets too upset if I don’t leave a comment becuase I may have stumbled or dugg it instead. My list is getting longer for sure but if I think I have neglected people then I put a comment at the end of my post to explain. So like last week when I was away on a course, everyone knew I still loved them really but couldn’t get on the net ;)
    I don’t really worry about whether people will Stumble, Digg or whatver my posts or pictures but am appreciative of those that do take the time :-D
    I like BC but I used to belong to a forum previously that had major meltdowns every so often. Because of this I avoid most political/controversial discussions, life is too short. I try to comment on the positive stuff. I know from life that no matter what, not everyone will like me, it is a fact.
    All in all, I seem to have a structure but if I didn’t I would get any artwork done at all and then just wouldn’t have anything to blog about….
    As for Robin above, her comments are always thorough and meaningful, she just needs to slow down a little as does TT. The pair of them make me feel worn out and I suspect that you Doc may fall in the same category LOL. I also suspect I am heading there too!

  10. This is a great article. Although I never had a real “meltdown”, I realized the need for me to just walk away from the Social Media “thing” almost altogether. Being a natural “loner”, I was finding the whole “invisible friend” thing, a little unnerving. (“Harvey the Rabbit” quickly comes to mind). I have gone back to my core reasons for writing my blog and, although sharing the common human experience with many, I no longer find myself subconciously writing for those who do not know me. The phone calls and emails I have been getting from friends and family are indicating to me that I am now back on the right track. People who recognize the cryptic messages in my writing or song choices, who recognize the same places I have been and know some of the same people I know. In an effort to communicate to the masses, I was losing myself. However,… there is definitely a place for social media. Many thrive in such an environment. I have found that I do not, and it is alright…it really is. Glad to have “stepped back into it” for a few moments, just to take another peek – Thank you for sharing – Nards

  11. Excellent article. I am very new to the social media scene, and I have noticed myself treading very carefully. I watched an argument break out my first night on a popular social media site, and that’s just not my thing. I hate confrontation, and I usually just back away from it.

    I am officially addicted to SU. My first week using it I saw 1100 visitors come to my site in a matter of hours. I still don’t understand it all, but I’m learning.

    TimeThief, you have a wonderful blog here and I’m looking forward to getting to know you better, DocNicole!

  12. Awesome write up! I can identify with the time it takes to do everything involved. I can only spend a few minutes at a time on each area. Because while I am doing that I am also working on other business related projects.

    Time goes by too quickly sometimes, and I really enjoy reading other’s blogs and leaving comments if compelled, but it again still eats up precious minutes.

    I am slowly learning how to divide my time up into each area, and still have time to do my once a week blog post! Yikes! :)

  13. I have really limited everything. I actually got lost somewhere on Digg a few months ago..LOL. Seriously. I couldn’t keep up with all of the digg requests. It freaked me out, and I had to quit. My downfall is also Stumble, but I try to send posts I find to specific “friends” that I feel will be interested. You are spot on with your meltdown description. Great post!!

  14. Interesting topic! Thankfully i have not faced the “social melt- down” so far! I am a social media enthusiast and am a member of almost all the sites. But how i attribute my not facing such problems to these factors:
    #1. I don’t actually expect people to digg my posts or stumble them. I stumble just for the fun of it! I have never asked people to do such favors. Personally i hate such requests!
    #2. I am too much of a social media addict that i look at only the optimistic side of things! lol

  15. Okay, I’m glad you got that off your chest! It’s so easy to get sucked into the whirlwind of socializing online. I tried using Stumble Upon as my personal index of posts, but it’s not as efficient as real bookmarks. Having put in only a few hours compared to yours, I’ve felt the approaching heat — need to take your advice and avoid anything close to a meltdown. Many Stumblers truly enjoy what they do and are generous without expecting anything in return. I do value the few real friends I’ve found on BC. That makes it worthwhile to put in those few hours.

  16. Whoops I just re-read this and it looks like we forgot to add in my social networking links:

    Feel free to add me as a friend or contact me with blogging help anytime, I am certainly grateful to the many people like Timethief that have helped me along the way.

    I edited the social networking links in, TT

  17. @Sebastyne: Wow that is really tough! I have been in a similar predicament but it was between two of my close blogging friends. Fortunately both people were adult enough not to make me pick sides and I decided to ignore the situation and realize that “everyone is always right in their own head.”

    I have hesitated in opening up a forum for these same reasons you are mentioning, it certainly is time consuming and the risks can by far overshadow the benefits.

    Thanks for sharing your comment, I agree to just walk away from it all…thank goodness it is so much easier to do that through social media than in real life. :D

  18. I must be anti social media. I have accounts for everything mentioned except IM. I can’t stand digg it just seems too slow. Love my stumble though. I even find myself on BC less and less. Facebook, I’m Proof Positivity and personal info is typed in as noneyabussiness reallynoneyabusiness. Stumble is my downfall Lol!

  19. @Robin- I feel your pain! lol

    Yes it is tough to have that balance. Eventually you have to look at the cost benefit ratio for your blog. If the goal of your blog is to maintain fun discussions then the commenting is important and worth your time, if the goal of your blog is to write and promote your future writings then maybe it is time to do a thorough RSS detox and purge the blogs that feel like a chore to comment on. A lot of people read my stuff without commenting and that is fine because it is a health blog and not everything pertains to everyone. I certainly don’t expect people to take the time to comment on everything they read and sometimes I forget that I have a thousand more readers than I have commenters. For every comment there are literally at least a thousand other viewers that don’t leave a comment.

    The great thing about blogging is that you can always develop a new system. Maybe it would be best to entertain the idea of just not commenting. Your commenters that are reciprocating comments out of courtesy will of course come back when you start commenting again–we know that much about the blogosphere and human nature right?

    I think what it inevitably boils down to is what really really really makes YOU happy. Go with that flow…Are you happy spending days leaving comments in order to gain more comments on your articles, or are you and your readers better served by spending those days writing more content.

    I will be blogging about a standing/exercising work station soon at the kitchen table, as that is personally my solution to dealing with the copious emails I read and respond to every day. It is all about efficiency!

  20. I had a massive one a few years back, and it lasted for months. The situation was that at the time I had a fairly popular website about single life (Sex and the City was huge, and my site fitted great onto that mind set) and as people started coming, I opened up a discussion board… A few months into it a girl signed up and first asked me to help with her website, and as I love the net, I gladly helped. Then I realised we’d become good friends, best of… She became a huge figure on my board, and before I knew it, she was running it behind the scenes. We even met face to face a lot of times, and then I started noticing little inconsistencies in her online persona and her off line version of herself. Nothing huge, just enough for me to loose respect. Little by little I got angrier and angrier, as people took her version of things over mine, and I was being cast aside on my on territory by a person who claims to be a friend but runs a puppet show starring me… Of course I ended the friendship and could not stop thinking what kind of lies she would tell about me to our mutual friends on the board, that all moved away to another one (of which owner she befriended with…) as a consequence of one of our fights. I just had the hardest time over losing a good following and the best damned discussion board I’ve ever known over the whole thing. I don’t think I’m completely over it still, sadly.
    The best cure: Move away, find new people, and talk about other stuff… On social media of course.
    (Sorry for the long comment.)

  21. There is some good confirmation for me here about commenting, stumble, etc. I don’t use Digg and I don’t twitter and I don’t bother with aggressive, angry discussions. I work at home and really keep a tight reign on what comes in. I don’t even IM anymore…waaaaaaay too invasive. So this article was great in that it reminded me why I DON’T do certain things.

    The worst thing I do right now that drains me is try to comment on 30 – 50 sites a week. I can’t keep it up. And to only comment on sites that leave comments on my blog is STILL hard as I usually get 30 – 40 comments. I have thought of doing half one week and half the next. What do think???

    The other problem I am having is, on top of commenting on 30 – 40 sites a week, I also try to respond to each comment that comes in, which is then ANOTHER 30 – 40 comments. Plus I can get 100+ emails a week, some work related most blogging related. I have thought of only allowing my self 3 lines per each or something like that. But it’s often hard to do that. Do you have ANY suggestions because with my already maxed out work load getting my book ready blogging/stumbling/facebook is taking up DAAAAYS out of my week and making me very tired. Heeeeeelp!!! LOLOLOL :)

    I only post once a week. But still it’s intense and I need serious blogging management advice! Especially re: commenting on other blogs and responding to comments on mine. So I will take in any ideas or advice! Thank you (both Doc and TT — two of my favorite people) Hugs and love to you amazing girls! :) :) Robin

  22. Well I stumbled this post… :-)
    First stumbling I’ve done in ages. It’s really too bad that there is so much to keep up on, you tend to lose the plot of why you came to blogging in the first place. I’d rather juggle fewer balls and keep them in the air than try to do to many and have it all fall to the floor.

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