What happened when I switched to LinkedIn Only.

by Productivity

You'll miss out on valuable business opportunities.
How will people find you?
How will you stay connected to your friends?
These were the things I heard when I switched to LinkedIn only.

socmed-free

In January 2019, I stopped Facebook and Twitter. I had an Instagram account to make sure no one stole my name, but I don't think I ever posted to it. I became LinkedIn only, and it has been one of the best business moves I've made.

When I started my business, marketers told me I had to be on every channel. It never felt right, putting out content every day while at the same time trying to work with people to decrease their addiction or time-wasting of social media. I was told to run email campaigns with the same funnel everyone else does, while at the same time I'm working with them trying to manage their inboxes. I'm not anti-social media (okay, maybe a little bit), but I am against using it as a way to curtail boredom. It's not a reliable source for news or a way to make real connections.

Social media is set up like a casino with no endpoints.

A casino has no natural light, and meals are 24/7. They don't have clocks on purpose. I spent seven minutes (I had looked at my watch) trying to get out of the Wynn casino. I finally asked an employee “How do I get to sunlight?” Social media is built the same way. There are no endpoints or anything to tell you that you are finished…endless feeds that result in multiple tabs open. 

It sucked the joy from my life and was my most dreaded task of the day.

I had business masterminds, clubs, and coaches that used private Facebook groups. It drove me crazy and made it hard for me to see it as serious. If I'm paying for a program, why go onto a platform and be bombarded by ads? Before starting the Run Like Clockwork program, I was very upfront about asking what I would miss not participating on Facebook. I don't want to be distracted by a feed that is picked for me based on algorithms.

I had chosen to use Facebook only for business, having just thirteen friends in my personal feed (of which I rarely went to). After the elections of 2016, I became more disgusted and used it less and less. 

The news that continues to come out about manipulating our media and curated content resulting in uninformed views just plain scares me. 

The May 2019 issue of Inc. magazine reports that Twitter removed 70 million fraudulent accounts in just two months of 2018. Facebook removed 583 million fake accounts in the first three months of 2018. It's even worse now. Do you know who you're following? Are they even real? Chances are, they may not be. It could be a bot pretending to be someone you know. 

The Internet Research Agency, which is the troll farm in Russia that was indicted for interfering in our elections, has spread lies that hurt completely innocent companies. They tweeted about toxic explosions at chemical plants that didn't happen. They went after Koch's Turkey with a rumor that 200 people were in critical condition from eating their poultry (total lie). The Texas Humor t-shirt company was compromised when IRA created a page called Heart of Texas. They used his original designs with fringe-right political statements. It took many man-hours and money to get it scrubbed from the internet after the page had amassed 25 million followers. Intent? Get us to become even more polarized and spread that curated hate and misinformation. Please read the article. It's fascinating in a maybe-I-should-stock-up-my-compound sort of way.

In the same issue, they interview two CEOs who are pro/con social media. Beatriz Ramos of Dada.nyc is LinkedIn only. In one week in January, I heard three different CEOs and companies proudly say they were LinkedIn only, which was the direction I wanted to go in. I did a one-day intensive with my business coach in Charleston, and she agreed with my decision. I happened to get severe food poisoning that night. I decided it was really my vomiting out Facebook and Twitter because, in the morning, I felt terrific!

I actually felt joy from opting out.

I don't care if I have 10,000, 100,000, or a million followers if they aren't really following me or just hit ‘like' one time. I want people who genuinely care what I have to say or do and are interested in how health and productivity go together. That might be 50 or 500 people. I decided to focus on LinkedIn because it is a business platform, which I use social media for. So far, it hasn't become polarizing, people are friendlier, and it's not bombarding me with ads. Can I still get sucked in and spend too much time? Yep! And that's what a timer is for.

How did this affect me and my business?

  • I pinned a post and tweet to the top of Facebook and Twitter and said it was my last post and to join me at LinkedIn. The time savings of not going to those channels has been incredible in terms of decision fatigue due to procrastination of checking and posting.
  • My LinkedIn engagement is high-value because I am intentional about going there, connecting with people, and reading what they have to offer, rather than spraying and playing. I'm much more intentional about whom I connect with and don't blindly accept invites without some kind of note.
  • I don't dread opening up the platform as a task. I enjoy it.
  • For the most part, at least for those I follow, the posts are neutral or positive.

This experiment has proven successful to me in that it feels right. I can't count how many times I've had other business owners say they are only on social media because they have to be. Why do we do this to ourselves? 

Now, before anyone responds back with the wonders and joys of social media and how I'm wrong, I'm not saying that you are crazy for staying on it. I own a productivity coaching and speaking company. It doesn't make sense to me, and I don't like it. I also don't like my coffee black, high-waisted pants, Halls cough drops, or companies that suck their employees' productive time with meetings that start at 8:00am.

If you own a company that sells products and isn't on Instagram, you will miss an opportunity. If you are a stylist or an event planner and want to show off your client's photos, Facebook and Instagram are the right platforms. But for me, I choose LinkedIn only. I hope it stays safe(ish) and doesn't disappoint me, but for now, I have a little more joy back in my life.

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jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects