00:57 – Some numbers in an epidemic
01:36 – Social media dangers
07:22 – Are you a narcissist?
09:15 – Yes, there are positives
10:41 – What you can do now
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James Schramko here. Welcome to episode 558 of SuperFastBusiness.com. Today’s topic, social media warning. As I’m recording this, it’s a Sunday, and a typical Sunday for many people will be to get onto Facebook and spend a lot of time there. I just want to point out why this is an epidemic. I’m also predicting that in the future, we’ll look back at this time and realize how damaging it has been for society to spend so much time on social media.
So firstly, a couple of statistics. From SmartInsights.com, I was able to get some pretty good data. Facebook is the number one social media network for popularity. It’s also growing very fast, and it’s still the most engaging social media platform by a long shot. And if you combine Messenger and Instagram – all properties that come under the Facebook umbrella – they’ve got number one, number three and number seven. It’s taking a lot of time, and most of the users on the platform are using Instagram or Facebook every day. That’s more than half a substantial portion.
What to watch out for
So what are the sort of things that I think you should be considering as a warning? Number one, it can be extremely depressing because bad news spreads fast. Every time there’s a mass shooting in America, which is far too frequently, gun debates pop up there and people start to tap into their dark sides; a lot of concerned people expressing their angst and their fear and frustration, and then there’s some educated and some uneducated opinions flying past, which all end up just being meaningless noise and not progressing your life forward in any way.
So think about your effective hourly rate. I like to talk about this. This is how much you’re earning per hour of what it is that you’re doing. And if you are trying to work at the same time as being on social media, your productivity is going to dwindle every time there’s some major news.
“There’s only so much you can do around politics.”
People like Trump with politics, take an enormous amount of bandwidth on social media platforms. People love to talk about politics. Clearly, Trump’s strategy is to be a disrupter. He’s a genius at grabbing attention, diverting attention. And because he’s so unconventional, it’s interesting and different. So people do pay attention. So politics is another huge time suck on social media. And I’d have to question if it’s making so much of a difference to your life. I mean there’s only so much you can do around politics.
The other thing, and really this is somewhat disturbing, is bad advice. I’ve seen just today on the very brief time that I logged in, I saw, one was an internet marketer talking about a session they’re watching at an event, and the information that was on the slide was clearly bad advice. Now, it may have been taken out of context, it may not. This marketer has a tribe, and he’s educating the tribe incorrectly. And then it’s being disseminated.
“Bad advice is one of the major problems with social media.”
I’ll tell you what you can do about that in a moment. But it was disturbing. For people like me, this happens quite a lot. I’m looking at things being discussed and I do know there’s a better way. And I do see some extremely naive information coming through, and I feel like I want to get involved but I know better. As soon as I start commenting, it’s just going to look like sour grapes or jealousy. You can come across as a dick if you start correcting things, but it’s also frustrating to see them in the first place. So that’s one.
The other bad advice I’ve seen lately is in my community – an enormous discussion around cryptocurrency – and clearly people are absolutely uneducated in this market, purely speculative, sheep. They might think they’re hotshots and they know all about it, but last week, I was reading some very-well-researched information that a friend of mine shared with me. It led me to the conclusion that I should sell my bitcoin currency and buy bitcoin cash; and as a result of that, I was able to sell on the peak of bitcoin, reduce my holdings to zero, invest it into bitcoin cash, which just doubled yesterday, and I’ve been able to take that profit.
Now, I’m just thinking about all those people who were talking about cryptocurrency all over their feed and pumping it up. But in the meantime, the whales of the industry, the big guys, switched from producing bitcoin to bitcoin cash because it uses a lot less energy and they can make far more money by producing the new currency. So, as I’m recording this, bitcoin crashed severely today. I’m just thinking of all those people who got sucked into the social media whirlwind but had no clue what they were doing.
So bad advice, I think, is one of the major problems with social media. There’s no filter to who can have an opinion, and it’s extremely hard to work out who knows what they’re talking about. And then the people who really do know, like the person who I seek for advice on this, and even me, we don’t post about it on Facebook. It’s like, you’re not going to get the good advice there. It’s the same as I don’t post all of the information that I have about most things on Facebook, just some samples of it. Things like syndicating podcasts.
I’ll get to how you can use social media for positive in a minute.
The next thing is security. I don’t think it’s necessarily super clever to be answering those posts about what year you’re born or your favorite songs and all of these things. I’m sure most of those are generated for the purpose of fishing for people’s passwords. So it’s quite foolish to be putting down your birthdate, your animal’s name, your favorite house you ever lived in. All of these things are silly. Your middle name, if you combine your middle name to get your pornstar name, I’m sure they’re for fishing for password guessing.
It’s also not smart to post too many pictures of where you live and when you’re traveling in great detail. Quite often, I’ll upload my travel pictures when I get back. You can do that. There’s no mandatory requirement for you to post every single detail about your life.
That sort of leads me to the next problem with social media, and that’s narcissism. There’s actually a study that I was reading, and there’s a good deal of information on this that people who post their fitness routines have psychological problems. The need for praise and validation is actually a mental health issue. So just think about that. If you’re sharing far too much detail about your life, then you may have a problem. That would be a good sign.
I’ve bought exotic cars, and I’ve bought properties, and I’ve done some amazing things that have never been posted on Facebook because I’m not a narcissist and secondly, I believe there’s some element to security to that, and thirdly, I just don’t feel the need to get that much validation from someone else, and I just consider people who are over the top with that, they’re straight on the cull list when it comes to who I’m going to be following.
And the last thing is there’s a Harvard business review study that in April this year in 2017 that was pretty much proving that the more time you spend on social media, the worse your life is. This was specific around Facebook, but Facebook is the biggest social media platform. I do think it is a blackhole of wasteland. I’m really concerned about this because it’s one of those Peter Thiel things. Peter Thiel has a question – What do you know that no one else knows? I really feel like other people just aren’t getting this yet. I want the message to go out. This is your social media warning.
“What do you know that no one else knows?”
Now, is there some positive to social media? Absolutely. I think it’s great for grandparents to connect with their grandkids. It’s lovely for me. I’m able to see what my friends and family are up to and enjoy that experience with them. I think the connection aspect is wonderful and the ability to network, especially if you travel a lot as I do, it’s good to be able to get suggestions and to meet people in different places if they notice that you’re around.
It’s also a good place to post things to get feedback from your market. So, I posted a book cover recently for my new book. I linked back to my website, SuperFastBusiness.com/book, and I put a cover of the book. I got some tremendous support. It spurred me on editing the last few chapters. I’ve edited more of the last few chapters since I posted the cover because I’m really motivated by the tremendous support that I’ve had; people indicating they would like to have a copy of the book, they would promote the book, which is good. So it’s encouraged me.
So you can really use it for positive marketing messages. Good place to post news. And it doesn’t have to be bad news or controversy. I really don’t love those nonsense posts like your day in a GIF and those sort of things.
What to do
So here’s what you can do about this – if anything that I’ve said has resonated with you, and you’re feeling that maybe one of those items is something affecting you, the first thing you could do is to be aware of your addiction to social media and perhaps consider removing the social media apps from your phone because that would be a clear path to reducing your time on the machine.
Secondly, if you are like a lot of marketers who maxed out their 5,000 friend limit, it’s time to cull. So, this is actually a really slow and difficult process. It’s going to take hours, and I can tell you, once I removed two and half thousand people from my friend’s list, my feed cleaned up a lot, and I’m still in the process, and I’ve got plenty more to go. And as I go, it’s just presenting things that are less depressing, less bad advice, less politics, less non-productive and a little more secure. You can select if you want to show to friends and not just strangers.
If it’s something good, a picture of a family member or something location-sensitive, then I will just show it to friends. For people who are not friends but are following, they’re still going to get plenty of stuff in the feed, and that’s fine. I also recommend, if you are seeing a bit of hype on something, then filter it. Investigate who these people are and if they’re even qualified to have an opinion on the things that they’re talking about. Just because you saw it on Facebook doesn’t make it real.
“Just because you saw it on Facebook doesn’t make it real.”
In a general perspective, things are getting beaten up to all manner of proportions such as the cryptocurrency fad lately. It’s almost certain that we’re in a bubble. That sensitivity that I’ve had towards this and a couple of my smart friends who also have been on the same page, it’s been a warning sign to us that things are going to happen. Hopefully, if you didn’t get caught up in it, you are lucky. If you did get caught up in it, that’s the warning. That’s the social media warning that I’m talking about.
I would recommend that you set yourself a limit for social media. It’s very easy to set a timer on your phone. For example, 50-minute timer and set it, and get in there with an agenda. And even if your agenda is nothing, if you just purely want to be entertained, then set your 50-minute timer and go for it. Browse around Facebook all you like. But if you go to Facebook during the day when you’re trying to work, it’s going to reduce your productivity.
A big part of my motivation to recording this particular podcast is, as I mentioned earlier in this podcast, it’s Sunday. I had a great breakfast. I went for a long, amazing surf. I had a conversation with another human in the surf, my friend Walter. I’ve been writing my book with all devices switched off and only my book on the screen and getting some real productivity done. I can help a lot more people with my book than I can engaging in conversations on Facebook today.
So, I think the less time you spend on social media, the better your life will become. I’m predicting in the future, we’ll look back at this time and see that it was a problem and maybe, just maybe, something in this podcast has resonated with you. I hope that it’s been worth your time listening to it.
I’m James Schramko. If you think a friend of yours is addicted to social media then somewhat ironically, why don’t you share this in front of their news feed so that they can at least get access to some help.
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