My 3 rules for social media

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

I got my invite to Clubhouse, joined one room, and never participated again.

Why?

I understand that nothing in life is free. If Clubhouse is a free app then what are they using right now to fuel company growth besides billions in VC money?

They are using me. They are using my most precious resources: my time and attention. I am the product.

I like using apps as tools. I don’t want to be the tool.

So when it comes to social media I have a few rules.

Rule #1: Be intentional.

Most people use social media unintentionally for entertainment, education, and to stalk their ex-partners.

I’d suggest that you use it more intentionally than most people. Ask yourself, “What am I using this app for?” I use Quora to provide value by answering questions. I use Facebook groups, Twitter chats, and LinkedIn the same way. What discussions are happening that I’m interested in and where can I add value? If I notice that I’m staring at attractive women, or cat videos, or the 1000 ways vegans cook tofu, (or the worse — sexy women eating tofu with their pet cats), then I stop immediately.

Each social media app has a purpose in my life.

Rule #2: The power of deletion. Keep only one social app on your phone.

At my best, when I’m in full focus mode, you won’t find social media on my phone.

That means no Clubhouse. No Snapchat or TikTok. That means no Instagram (I know you can log in on a computer, but the functionality is limited). If I intentionally limit what apps I have access to on my phone, then I know I’m protecting myself from me. Just look at a grocery store and observe how many people mindlessly scroll through their phones while waiting in line. That feels more interesting than being alone with your thoughts, or God forbid — engaging with another human being, but I think it just makes us look like a bunch of apes with high-tech devices in our hands. I admit I don’t do this all the time. Social apps find their way back onto my phone, so at my best I allow myself to have one social app on my phone.

By putting a constraint on what social apps are on my phone, I create more space to do meaningful work and develop real relationships with real people in real life.

Rule #3: Practice some JOMO

Instead of FOMO (The fear of missing out) practice some JOMO (The joy of missing out). Clubhouse has done a brilliant job leveraging our desire to be connected and to be a part of the “in” crowd. It’s about exclusivity. I remember this when Facebook launched and Gmail before that. Connection is in our DNA and it’s about status. If you go far back enough in human history being an outsider meant death. If you weren’t a part of the community you had less access to resources and living alone was certainly the more difficult path. I suggest practicing a little JOMO in your life. Celebrate an intentional choice not to use the hottest new app. Make a list of all the amazing things you can do when not on your phone. What’s the next adventure you want to take?

Years ago everyone we were raving about Snapchat. Then it was TikTok. Now it’s Clubhouse. Next year it will be …

I chose not to engage with those apps and professionally my business has grown and personally I’ve enjoyed my life.

You won’t die if you don’t use Clubhouse.

You just need some rules on how to use social media.

Host of the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast with over one million downloads 🚀