Curiosity killed the social media star

April 17, 2008 by Jared Goralnick

imageActually it’s curiosity that prevented him from ever becoming one. There are formulas, many formulas for spreading your message or building a personal brand online. These formulas actually work, but not if you let curiosity be the death of you first. Here you’ll find advice on spending your time a little more wisely on the internet so that you find your formula and stick with it.

There’s no question that building an online presence takes time. Like with most endeavors it’s a combination of learning, participation, relationships, and offering up your own value. What’s unique about the internet is that you have access to near infinite options in all of these spheres:

  • More articles than you could ever read
  • More networks and organizations than even the largest university offers in extracurriculars
  • More people, even “big name people,” than you could meet…let alone befriend
  • And of course, no end to the amount of time you could spend contributing

The challenge is to recognize that you can’t keep searching for new places and relationships. If you spread yourself too thin or are inconsistent in your activities, you won’t make much of an impact because…

Curiosity is great for discovery, not for execution

Bulls Eye

If you want to build a presence, there comes a point when you have to spend less time exploring and more time acting:

  • Pick a handful of sites to spend most of your time. It doesn’t matter if it’s a social network, a discussion forum, or a blog…you’re better off getting to know a few really well than searching for new sites all the time. Participate actively (DAILY!) on these sites. If you want to explore, limit that to very few hours per day
  • Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe. If you’re not getting value from a content producer (blog, forum, magazine) then get it out of your life so you can spend more time where you should. Revisit your subscriptions every time you feel overwhelmed (more on escaping information overload)
  • Reserve time for creating your value. You most likely have a destination, whether it’s your company website, your blog, or your Flickr page, where you want people to go. Spend uninterrupted time creating value there every day

Don’t keep searching for new stuff–you could search all week long and find lots of cool things that will not actually make your own online presence any better. (And don’t get jealous of the superstars–they were in your position once, too.) Searching and reading does not create value, creating content and participation are the only ways to improve your presence.

Put this Advice into Action

  1. Recognize that you may have trouble with distractions [Kathy Sierra]
  2. Get over your internet ADD [Zen Habits]
  3. Spend time creating value

When plotting your strategy for taking over the online world, you could spend all day on those lists of “80 social networks that you’d be lunatic not to join.” I’m not going to provide you any more resources for online success–because I don’t think you need any more tangents right now. Just go and create some kickass content (preferably with a nice thought in the comments area!)–and stop reading this.

Photo credits: satanoid and ogimogi

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6 Responses to “Curiosity killed the social media star”

2 Trackbacks

  1. – Avoiding the online popularity contest to seek a deeper connection
  2. – Why don’t you just GO HOME?


  1. Lynette

    I’ve yet to start a blog but I keep reading tip after tip online… you’re right that I’d be better off if I just started writing and was a little less scattered. Thanks.

  2. Kevin

    Great article! I admit I spend way too much valuable time browsing (a side effect of living in the internet age)….I need to start focusing soon. Thanks Jared!

  3. Tom Volkar / Delightful Work

    Outstanding advice! Less is more when it comes to building strategically. Thank you for the push.

  4. Jared Goralnick

    Thanks, Lynette, Kevin, and Tom–really glad to help!

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