Its not what you think.

Few days ago, I decided to embark on an experiment which I will call social hibernation. Accordingly, I totally abstained from participation in social media, with the exclusion of access to newsfeeds and twitter feeds. Even on these sites, I refrained from contributing/ responding/ sharing anything.

What happened? Many things.

Last several days has helped gain distance with this social media and with distance came perspective.

With social media, I believe there are 3 different roles.

  • You play subscriber, when you read/consume information.
  • You play contributor, when you contribute original articles and thoughts to the network. Sending comments/feedback also count.
  • And then you play the relay, when you do things like forward emails, RT tweets etc…

In my opinion, people should subscribe 60%, contribute 20% and relay 20%. This helps maintain balance of roles, increase S/N ratio and ultimately achieve any level of usefulness.

Unfortunately, I believe people relay 75% of times, subscribe 20% of times and contribute 5% of times. The numbers I am using are subjective, but you get the idea. This increases clutter, confuses people, deters new entrants and leads to big misconceptions about what social media is all about.

For example, people still believe twitter’s sole purpose is to provide minute-by-minute status of what they do, their ramblings etc…If you are one of them, I invite you to read the 10 things you need to stop tweeting about. Cusswords, proverbs, personal statuses — I submit — should be banned from Twitter. Twitter is a launchpad for something more descriptive and useful. Which is why you should blog, not just tweet. If you need help starting a blog, there’s plenty of help available, such as this.

Being informative, creative, purposeful is important. Even with the lack of all these, just be sure to not create noise.

As an epilogue, if you are a busy social netizen, constantly distributing your time between the 3 roles, especially if you playing less of the contributor than you should, I suggest you take a break like I did. May be you will have valuable wisdom to offer after the exile.