Social Media Overwhelm

By Carolyn Edlund

It’s a great idea to reach out to your peers and audience through social media, but how much is too much? Are you juggling so many that it would take a full-time social media manager to keep up?


Losing Klout

I checked out and joined Klout a while back, which measures social media influence.  The more you use online tools to encourage tweets, shares and other calls to action, the higher your score.  It’s kind of like a virtual popularity contest, and believe it or not – you actually get rewards for scoring big.

At first, it seemed interesting. I had a score of 63, which seemed pretty good (but of course everything is relative). It held steady around that mark for months, but when I had two very busy weeks of getting a lot of great offline stuff accomplished, my score dropped to 58. Klout is like playing an online game, kind of like feeding a virtual pet, or getting addicted to Angry Birds. The user’s behavior is manipulated for the sake of a perceived reward. In fact, their blog mentions that if you go on vacation, you will lose points and have to scramble to catch up.

Sorry, Klout. I’m not playing – I won’t be worrying about that score anymore.

Google+ was a Minus

This summer the Google+ rage started, and I participated in a hangout, which was fun and made some good business contacts that paid off. Another hangout with a Google+ expert started getting into all the rules of engagement, and that’s when I started to glaze over. Ever since, I’ve been added to circles by people with names like محرر صحفي‎ who don’t speak any English and I just don’t know what to do with that.

Sorry, Google+, I’m just not lovin’ it. Anyone else feeling that way?

There has to be a limit somewhere. Choose where you want to participate and let go of the rest. Play with your kids, or take a long walk with your dog. They will thank you – and the rewards are much better.

What social media platforms are you avoiding? How many invitations to join new networks have you deleted?


  1. Carolyn,

    I couldn’t agree more. The urge to stay connected is a positive one, and I’m happy to have social media. But for me there has to be a limit to how much valuable time and effort goes into these various venues. There is great stuff to be experienced offline too!


  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Carolyn. I had to make that decision over two years ago. I am not on Facebook and turn down at least two invitations a week to join. I also did not get into Google+ either as I just can’t afford any more time or see a benefit to it for me.

    For myself, I have found LinkedIn and Referral Key to be the only places I need to be. Plenty to keep me connected and networking with those that I need to on LinkedIn with all of the groups that are available.

    It is too easy to spend way too much time on the computer and not enough in the art studio creating art and growing my collector and gallery base.

    • I do know Jean that you are one well-connected lady!

      How is Referral Key working out? I got involved, but it seems everyone gives everyone else a five star rating, which becomes meaningless. Do they have discussions? I ended up unsubscribing to so many things to control my inbox that I lost track.

  3. Carolyn,

    Your second-to-last paragraph about limits sums it up for me. I limit my social networking to blogging (which I love), a FB page for my studio (I don’t use my personal account at all), and occasional participation on some Etsy teams. That’s it. I’ll never understand the value or purpose of Twitter, and I have no interest in any of the other social networking sites, at least until they can demonstrate some value for me and/or my art business.

    I was sent an invite for Google+, and ignored that.

    Quite frankly, I’d rather be out hiking, plein air painting or getting together with friends in person than sitting in front of a computer reading things that aren’t adding to my quality of life in some way…which describes about 90% of most social networking in my experience.

    Thanks for this post.


    • Sonya, have you found your Etsy groups to be really useful connections? I’m not at Etsy vendor (my studio closed long ago) but would like to speak with Etsyians who have made a transition into wholesaling for an article. If you have friend who have done that, let me know.

      Is Etsyians a word?

      • Re: Etsy teams being useful for connections…hmmm, yes and no. No for actual sales, but it has been okay for meeting a few other artists who also blog and have FB pages.

        Unfortunately, I don’t know of any Etsyians (if that wasn’t an official word, it should be ;)) who have transitioned into wholesaling, although it seems there are plenty on there that do, but not for fine art.

  4. Oh Carolyn…were you spying on me last night. I had this same conversation with my husband.

    I took a look at Google+, and it’s just another thing to suck time from producing artwork.

    I use Facebook, but I feel a blog would be a better way to keep in touch with my fans – I just hate the way FB makes changes that don’t seem necessary. A blog allows me to have total control.

    I love LinkedIn and have found that to be a great way to connect with other artists, as well as meet contacts in the juvenile industry for which I create my artwork.

    • Alyson, with technology today, I could probably have been spying on you – by satellite or sophisticated listening devices! I think we both share the same mind though. There are useful way to connect, and I agree LinkedIn is one of them. My blog gets more “quality traffic” through LI than other mediums.

  5. I have stuck with LinkedIn, Facebook, and some twitter + my blog and website…which is the most important I think! I do use Pinterest now, but only as a fast way to organize things I like, and I can access it from any computer! I so agree with you that limits and thoughtful decisions about where to best use one’s time is necessary! Thanks for this and your other great articles!

  6. I agree that there are so many communities out there, that it’s hard to decide what is worth the time. Also, networks go in and out of fashion over time… Perhaps it’s best to choose one to focus on, if you truly enjoy it and want to build up relationships in that way.

    • I agree, Linda, and think that if you try to be really good at all of them, you will end up being good at none of them.
      Then your Klout score will definitely go down!

  7. I am a social media junkie, as you wrote about in a recent article, but even I have my limits. I think that people should choose a social media platform that works for them and make that their online focus. To avoid it all together though, is not wise. You simply cannot participate in the evolution of your world and ignore that it is evolving.

    My main focus started out with MySpace, drifted to Twitter, and eventually landed in Facebook. I dropped MySpace but have remained active on Twitter, but focus more on FB. With all the changes going on in FB and their maddening disregard for the confusion it has caused, I may change. I want to be active, however, wherever my customers are active.

    I very much enjoy Google+ for different reasons than I do the other platforms. I have found a very diverse artist community there, and I gain more creative inspiration from that platform. I also have more substantive intellectual conversations there. I use it more for intellectual and creative stimulation, whereas the others are more for marketing.

    I occasionally take a SM day off. It is usually forced on me by a friend’s intervention (Put that thing down!) or inundation with a news story that depresses me. People worry about me if I am gone too long though!

  8. I must admit I use a lot of time on social media. I’m more or less everywhere. I enjoy Twitter and Google+, but after the three latest changes to Facebook, I’m only there because I have to be. A couple of years ago, I deleted my Facebook Profile, and my business suffered greatly. It’s slowly picking up again, and I hope it’ll recover fully. If there was some way to keep Facebook active without spending a lot of time there, while not sounding like a bot, I would probably do it.

  9. There are just too many Art-Artist-Art Gallery groups on LinkedIn….This is the first area I have become very selective in…

    Facebook looks different each time I log into it…

    Google+??? I might get a feeling for but I doubt if it will be soon…

    So the simple advice maintain your own website and be very careful to keep all social media postings [words & pictures] very precise and circumspect i.e. be prudent.

  10. There are a lot of art groups on LinkedIn – and of those I’ve joined, certain ones are very active and interesting, others not so much. I guess it’s just the mix of people.

  11. No doubt this has been one of the most debated topics of the past year or so. Every time I turn around there is another social network popping up. And the debate about to do, or to not to do, social networking… Well it’s almost like discussing politic as or religion in polite company.

    I was finally tacked into it Very rently by my marketing consultant for purposes of not jusr SEO, but more importantly building a community. Now that I’m working for home full time I need the input and the interactions.

    But honestly I found all these sites a bit overwhelming so I started looking for a want to, “work smarter, not harder” as my engineering husband says, and what I found/ decide was that you can make social networking a whole lot easier with an aggregator, like Flipbook, Feedly, TwitterFeed or a RSS reader. They basically take and funnel all of your networks into a nice magazine format so you can read and respond to them quickly and easily. And TwitterFeed will take and push all of you new blog posts to your social networks. (although I decided to not to use this one ’cause it seemed a litle too much like spam.) perhaps once I get my blogging schedule down.

    Anyways, if you need a list of aggregators to make your life and social networking a little easier, so you have more time for those hikes I the woods, I made a list availble on my blog:

  12. The social media endless cycle! “How much is too much” is exactly spot on. I personally stick to Twitter as I find it is simpler and easier to reach a greater number of new people (compared to Facebook or Google+). But, I use social media more to spread news and not to aid in selling anything, so that might make a difference too.

  13. Yes, Twitter works for me too. I think 140 characters is just the right bite!

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