The Social Media Existential Balancing Angst of Flailing and Pondering and Sometimes Missing Stuff

A few weeks ago, I took a hiatus from social media thingies. It was refreshing. I had more time to do other stuff.

Here’s the thing, though – I missed out on stuff, too. Probably a lot of stuff. The silver lining is I’ll never know what stuff I missed out on.

I’d love to know how other people balance their stuff. For example, how much time does a writer mom of young children spend on Twitter and Facebook, on average? How does she manage social media and writing time? What about other busy people? How do they achieve balance (or something close to it)?

For awhile I tried popping in to Twitter and Facebook, with the idea I’d do just fifteen minutes a day. Fifteen minutes isn’t much, is it? But then I’d stay signed in, and check in again at a later point that same day, and suddenly I’d have spent thirty extra minutes doing, in effect, NOTHING (I think we’ve all had this experience). Or, if I asked a question on Twitter, someone would respond, and I’d want to respond to their response, and then I’d get a new follower and revisit the site just to follow them back (if they were deserving and not relentless self-promoters). And before I knew it, I’d have gained a follower but lost fifteen more writing minutes because there was a really cool conversation going on and I wanted to find out more.

What if I gave myself Twitter Tuesdays and Facebook Fridays? And I just check in on those days?

What if I just…stop?

Then there’s the “I’m a writer and so I must have an online presence” issue. A blog is probably enough. (But Twitter can be pretty fun.) (And Facebook is the only connection I have to certain friends, family, and colleagues, and it’s the gateway to some cool groups of people.)

I really don’t know what to do. I love writing. I also love participating in conversations online. I also love paying attention to my family. And there’s only so much time.


PS: the flying whale drawing has absolutely nothing to do with this post. I just drew it awhile (awhale?! hahahahaha) back and like it. That’s all. Really. Unless you want to work some cool psychoanalysis on it. In which case, do share!


  1. readingisdelicious · March 15, 2013

    I thought your whale picture had to do with Twitter, because that’s their “server is overloaded” image, the Twitter fail whale.

    I’m not a writer nor a mum of 2, so I can’t tell you how to balance your insanely busy life. I just know I love twitter and don’t know what I’d do without it. I’ve met some awesome people via it, which has led to real life friends. 🙂 You’ll figure something out.

    • Beth Hull · March 15, 2013

      Yes, the Twitter fail whale. That was totally my intention!

      Sometimes I get sucked into Twitter and sometimes I show up & am disappointedly uninspired.

  2. jamieweilhealthcoach · March 15, 2013

    Ah, yes, QS, the whale from last night’s Manta Ray dive that was purported by the dive boat to be all over the Bay and not spotted a once! You know, like when you go on your FB break. You know stuff’s going on everywhere under the surface, but where’s the fluke? I think you need to just intuit–know when you need to step back and get clear and know when you need to step in for conversation. It’s the same thingy you use when you choose your friends, or the books you read, or your editors. The key is getting the thingy strong so you work those muscles. And THAT, QS, takes time off line I think. We need to make a list of thingy strengthening exercises–that’s what we need to write:) Great post!

    • Beth Hull · March 15, 2013

      I think I was too tired, because that intuition thingie wasn’t working very well. Now it seems? to be doing better. Thanks, QS!

  3. Sean · March 15, 2013

    Sometimes the random social interaction prompts writing ideas? The key is turning it all off once you catch on a thread…. Maybe?

    • Beth Hull · March 15, 2013

      Sometimes it does prompt writing ideas – that’s definitely true. The sad part is, that in the past I’ve written stories that are “trendy” – and written them on the tail end of the trend, which made them unmarketable. So now I don’t often trust ideas that come from online interactions. Then again, the last trendy idea I wrote to came from reading a 1950s novel. So there’s something really forceful behind the collective unconscious. Or just bad luck.

  4. Stacey · March 15, 2013

    I hear you, Beth. It’s so easy to get sucked into twitter and suddenly it’s next week. You’re doing great, tho! I personally like to check out twitter when my head needs a mental break. It’s nice to just lose myself in other people’s thoughts for awhile. 🙂

    • Beth Hull · March 15, 2013

      Now that sounds like a healthy way to approach it, Stacey! I should hang out there when it sounds fun, because I bet mindset has a LOT to do with it.

  5. I WISH I knew the answer to this one. Alas, I can only suggest what I’ve been trying to do. Sometimes I’m great at it, other times I fail miserably. It’s an ongoing effort 😉 For one, I’ve stopped tweeting just because I think it’s been too long since I last tweeted and I need to stay current in people’s streams—I figure that’ll just lead to poor content, so I only tweet if there’s something I really have to say. I will check in and read and RT and interact if I feel so inspired, but if after 5 minutes of mindless reading, I’m still feeling MEH about it, that’s my cut-off — time to do something more productive. And weekends are Twitter-free, unless I have a really good excuse. I rarely tweet on the weekends unless it comes from something I genuinely want to share in that very moment.

    • Beth Hull · March 18, 2013

      That sounds like a great way to go about it, Natalia! Not tweeting just because – that sounds like a good policy. Even better is the 5-minute cut-off. The whole social media balance is, SIGH, an ongoing effort for me, too.

  6. Donna Cooner · March 19, 2013

    You totally nailed this, Beth. I didn’t respond right away because I’ve been TRYING to limit my social media time. Not going that great, though.

    • Beth Hull · March 19, 2013

      If only it were easier! I’ve been going back & forth between all or nothing. I need to find the middle ground.

  7. PB Rippey · March 22, 2013

    How did I miss this post? Although, sadly, I have nothing to offer (not even a tweet as I don’t twitter——–yet……..). I do think it is good to have guilt-free escape-time. And the truth is some escapes are just more realistic than actual out-in-nature beachwalk escapes, or shh-i-am-in-my-non-virtual-serenity-garden-with-live-fountain-bubbling escapes–which somehow seem more guilt-free than Facebooking. I don’t have a serenity garden. Or a fountain. Or a beach nearby. I do have a Toshiba laptop and a boy who naps…

    • Beth Hull · March 26, 2013

      That is a very forgiving way to look at it! Thank you. As long as those escapes aren’t eating too much writing time…that’s where the danger has been for me.
      Also – he still naps?! Your nap powers must be strong. Mine…so…weak….

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