I’ve just returned from a fishing trip in Quebec, which was about a 12-hour drive from Cleveland, Ohio. Basically, you drive to Toronto, then North four about 4 hours, then east for another 3, then up the “Swisha” for another 2 hours. The Swisha shouldn’t be called a road mind you. It was basically sand/dirt and rocks, and giant natural potholes. Oh yeah, Moose, Lynx and Bears, oh my.
In other words… I was in the middle of nowhere. (Just in case you are curious, the lake was Lac Nilguat, or Big Moose Lake).
It was 4-days of fishing for lake trout and pike while staying in a rustic (to say the least) cabin on an island in the middle of a lake (rumor has it there was beer involved as well). It was beautiful, fun and inspiring. And the best part was. No cell tower for 300 miles, which meant no phones, Internet or social media.
Now I’ll be honest. At first I didn’t want to go on the trip because I didn’t think I’d like being completely disconnected from the world. It wasn’t that I wanted to check email or work in anyway while I was there. I simply wasn’t comfortable with “not being able to” if I wanted/needed to. Not to mention that this would have been the first time I was COMPLETELY out of touch with my awesome family for days and days. No phone calls, emails, texts… nothing. Kinda scary actually when you think about it.
But I went on the trip anyway and I have to say, it was GREAT! Sure, I would have loved to be able to talk to my kids and wife once or twice, but what really was the best part of that was not thinking about emails or work or Twitter or Facebook or any of that. That is my point.
So I’m back now. And during the long ride back I started to think a lot about the state of social media and human connectivity and all that stuff. If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you’ve noticed I’ve been kind of railing against Twitter (read the comments, they agree). Don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s useful, but I’ve been wondering if the usefulness of it has been outweighed by the un-usefulness of it.
In other words, and not just talking about Twitter, sure, social media is great and helpful to an extent, but really, at the end of the day, does it allow someone like me to achieve more, or less of my goals or successes I reach for? I’m not so sure lately.
So here are the things that fishing for lake trout helped me realize about the state of me and social media. Please retweet or comment or both!
#1 Thing Fishing For Lake Trout Taught Me About Social Media
“Being connected” is overrated. At some point over the past 3-5 years I got so caught up in the day-to-day world of it all that I forgot that not everyone is, needs to, or wants to be connected all the time, or at all even. It IS possible to completely disconnect from the world for days and the world will still be there. And I’m not so sure that at the end of the day we are all better for being so hyper-connected. Time will tell on that one.
#2 Thing Fishing For Lake Trout Taught Me About Social Media
Social media is bullshit. The idea that we need tools like Twitter and Facebook to connect with each other is total b.s. Sure, they help us take it to a new level, but we don’t “need” them. We can communicate with each other without them, and frankly, I’m beginning to think that when we do, we’re better off. For a while there I thought that these tools enhanced our communication in a way that made us better. I’m not so sure anymore. Maybe more informed, but better?
#3 Thing Fishing For Lake Trout Taught Me About Social Media
I’m done with needing to know “what you’re doing”. Sorry, I’m just done with it. Way back when I thought it was kind of cool to know that you’re having lunch at Nobu or taking your kids to soccer practice. But now? Enough. I’ve had enough. It’s not as though I don’t care. I just don’t really need to know. It’s not helping me accomplish my goals. Not sure what I’m going to do, perhaps unfollow everyone, or well, I’m not sure.
#4 Thing Fishing For Lake Trout Taught Me About Social Media
I’m not so sure I want to be “social media” guy anymore. Nobody I met up in those cabins up there gave a you know what about Facebook or Twitter or emails or “the Internet” in general. (Just fishing, and drinking). There were no conversations about much else. In fact, I purposely did not talk about my business because I didn’t want to be that guy, even though I was. You know that guy: The Internet geek away for the weekend. Honestly, I would have been embarrassed to be that guy.
#5 Thing Fishing For Lake Trout Taught Me About Social Media
I’m old and cranky. I’m fully aware that maybe I’m just getting old and turning into the “hey you kids get off my lawn guy”. I’ve been doing this Internet stuff for over 15-years now, so from the very beginning, which makes me the old guy in a young business. So maybe, just maybe I’m just tired of it all.
Now you’re saying, “But Jim, didn’t you just write a book about social media?”. Actually, I didn’t. I wrote a book about how businesses and brands can get attention for themselves and turn that attention into revenue. Yes, some of the ways to do that include using social media tools, but in no way is the book about social media as a main point.
In fact, I purposely did not write a book about social media because I’ve been having these thoughts in my head for a long time I suppose. Plus, social media changes by the day. It’s hard to write a book about something that will probably be different in 6-months from now.
I still believe social media is a great tool for businesses and brands and marketers. In fact, that’s how I’ll continue to use it even more so, much in dismay probably to friend and fellow Wiley author Unmarketing, but he’s tough, he can handle it. :) But on a personal level, look for less from me on that from now on. Does that mean I’m not engaging as much? Probably.
I believe that you’re going to hear more stories and opinions like mine as time goes by. In fact, I predict that at some point over the next few years, we’ll begin to see a flattening in the upswing of “being connected all the time”. Maybe not a downswing, but definitely a flat line.
What am I going to do now? First, I’m planning next year’s trip to Moose Lake. Then I’m going to go back to work and use social media in the way that makes sense for me, just as you should to.