Last week I spoke with a blogger who had thrown the towel in on his blog. One day he simply stopped posting with no explanation.
I emailed to ask him why he stopped and his response was:
“I can’t keep up with the advances in technology. Every day there is a new tool, widget or social networking site to test out. I can’t keep up. I’m feeling overwhelmed by it. So I gave up.”
This is a sentiment I’m hearing a lot lately. Bloggers are increasingly feeling the pressure to have their fingers in lots of pies at once and are feeling overwhelmed by the choice and effort needed to ‘keep up’.
We look at people like Robert Scoble who manage to keep blogs afloat, produce videos, engage with thousands of people on Twitter, FriendFeed and who knows how many other social accounts – all while having a family and traveling the world speaking at conferences! Our efforts in comparison to people like Robert pale by comparison….
If you’re feeling this pressure I’d like to talk to you today and give you a few words of encouragement.
Image by danielgebhart
5 Tips for Overwhelmed Bloggers
1. You’re Not Alone
There are days when I look at the things that I do and feel like I’m going backwards. I’m lucky enough to be able to dedicate full time hours (in fact I’m probably doing this 60-70 hours a week) to what I do – and I there are times when I can’t keep up!
You’re not alone. I hear stories of people who can’t ‘keep up’ every day.
2. Focus Upon Your Core Tasks
My Mum isn’t on Facebook, she’s never heard of Twitter, she thinks YouTube is a deodorant stick and things RSS is something most people keep in their boxer shorts.
Sometimes it feels like we’re falling behind in adopting technology but it is good remind ourselves that what we do do online is actually ahead of the curve of the majority of ‘real people’.
What I remind myself on those days when I feel overwhelmed by it all is that 95% of the people who read my main blog don’t really care that much about social media or web 2.0 – they’re coming to my blog to read information on how to use their cameras.
As a result my core task is to develop that content and to distribute it using mediums that they are familiar with. My core task is NOT to have my finger on the pulse of every new technology. While it can be helpful to know about the latest widgets and tools to become distracted by them could actually be taking me further away from my audience.
3. Be Smart, Establish Boundaries and Focus Your Energies
I am not suggesting that we all ignore social media, emerging web technologies or forget about Web 2.0.
There is a lot to like about Web 2.0 and it can bring a lot of life to your blogging. However unless you’re blogging about Technology or have a very Web Savvy audience you’d do well to pick and choose what you do and don’t focus your attention on and to put boundaries around these activities.
I wish I could list the 3 tools and technologies that you should focus upon – but it will differ for each blog and every topic – but rather than focusing upon everything, narrow your focus and pick a few achievable technologies to ‘play’ with at a time. My approach with social media has always be to pick up new technologies one at a time rather than to start with multiple ones at once.
Picking new tools to play with one at a time allows you to fully understand it, work out how it might work for you and to add it to your natural work flow. Do too many new things at once and you’re not likely to be able to integrate them into your life to it’s potential.
Remember my post from last week on Home bases and Outposts and how it relates to Social Media – while spending time on outposts can be useful you also need to spend time on your home base – that needs to be your priority.
On Boundaries – One of the techniques that I use to help me to put boundaries around the things that I do is to use Batch Processing. Put most simply it is about setting aside blocks of time to work on tasks in a focused way instead of flitting from one thing to another all day.
4. They are Tools – Refocus Upon Your Goals
Sometimes the tools and technologies become bigger than they need to be. I am constantly reminding myself to spend less time focusing upon the tools and more time focusing upon my goals.
If you know what you want to achieve you can then decide how to move towards that desired goal. In doing so you can select the best tools for the job. If you start with the medium or the tools and try to fit it to your ‘goals’ and objectives you’ll just get muddled.
Web 2.0 technologies can help you achieve your goals – but they are much more effective if you know what you want to achieve.
5. Have Fun
Sometimes I take things too seriously. Sure – blogging has become a business and a way of sustaining my family so there needs to be some element of taking it seriously – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Social media is a space that is at it’s best when it is fun and playful. Let it bog you down and you’re kind of defeating the purpose of it all.
What would you add as a tip for people feeling overwhelmed by social media and Web 2.0 technologies?
Thank you for point out the importance of refocusing on your goals rather then the tools. I am new to the world of social media and blogging and it is very overwhelming. I find your tips clear and easy to follow.
And remember: Don’t Panic!
As someone who has just entered into the world of blogging over the past few months, I agree that the sheer volume of social media sites can be overwhelming! Automation tools like ping.fm and twitterfeed.com help, but I think the best advice you give is to remain focused. Doing a few things right will produce better results than doing lots of things poorly.
Great post Darren!
I am also new to blogging for my creativity coaching business. Before, it was fun. Trying to learn EVERYTHING about blogging, linking, increasing traffic, the popular and best social media sites in which to see and be seen in…. well, it has become painful- until I read your 5 Tips For Overwhelmed Bloggers and came to #5- HAVE FUN.