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Cure Your Social Media Hangover

Social media is a great way to promote your business but spending too much time connecting online can burn you out. Here's how to get your spark back.

One of the best things about being an avid reader is that moment you stumble across a phrase that clearly describes something you've experienced but didn't previously have the words for. Take "social media hangover" for example. It's a phrase that appears in an old-but-good post on B2B Marketing Insider. You may have felt a certain vague, brain-deadening feeling wash over you after spending too much time promoting your business or product on social media, but Michael Brenner's description from the post nails the experience:

Last week I attended SAP’s annual conference… as a "social reporter." For three full days, I live-blogged and live-tweeted my way through almost a dozen conference sessions, I created nine blog posts, 83 hash-tagged tweets and more than a few Facebook comments and likes. When it was all over, I collapsed into a social media stupor.

I flew home after the show and aside from a few responses and notes of appreciation, I found myself suffering from what felt like a social media hangover…. For three days after the show, I felt my social media haze and headache. I sporadically checked in on my connections across the various networks but just couldn't bring myself to dive in and create anything.

Burnout is possible in many areas of business, of course, but the always on, always tempting nature of social media makes it particularly easy to get sucked in to long hours building your network on these sites. And while the brand awareness and networking benefits are real, all that time in front of Facebook and like can leave you a little woozy headed, drained and with a vague sense of being down in the dumps.

Plus, research and anecdotal evidence suggests that spending too much time gazing at perfectly curated profiles on Facebook, profiles that often eliminate all the warts and stresses of a person's real life, can knock your self-esteem. Author and entrepreneur Ben Casnocha has called it "The Feel-Bad Effect from Not-So-Close Facebook Friends" and Lijit founder Stan Jones, has described the problem of keeping up with fellow entrepreneurs online: "On Facebook they have been to glitterati tech conferences. In person they confess they haven't been able to sleep for months, and are on anti-anxiety medication from the stress of financial pressures on their company."

Luckily, Copyblogger's Cori Padgett recently offered a handful of cures for the condition. Some, like getting away from your screen and out into the real world to see people in the flesh, are relatively obvious, but at least one is a clever idea you've probably never considered before. Padgett suggests:

Get back to basics. As the lovely James from Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words recently suggested I try, sit down with a pen and write out some "I Believe" statements on just why you started your journey online in the first place.

What was true then that still holds true now, that could possibly be a good motivator and reignite your creative spark? For me, when I started my entrepreneurial journey, I believed I had a story to share that others might relate to.  Sharing my story might help someone else who may be struggling and make things a wee bit easier. It must have helped, because suddenly I was inspired to write this post!

How do you manage your social media use for maximum benefit and minimum pain?

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Last updated: Feb 13, 2012

JESSICA STILLMAN

Jessica Stillman is a freelance writer based in Cyprus with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist.




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