Throughout January, The Social Path is running daily tips on how to improve your social life — online, at least. Click here to learn more.I wanted to close this month-long series with a simple message, one that's perhaps obvious but also worth keeping in mind:
You can't keep up with social media. And that's fine.
I spend just about every day immersed in social media, professionally and personally, and I still only scratch the surface of what's possible, what's effective and what's coming down the pike. The smartest digital pundits in the world aren't much better off. They spend so much time looking ahead, they grow blind to the here and now.
As a result, we all end up feeling left behind, like the last kid picked for a kickball team. But in truth, the distance between the technology leaders and the laggards is getting shorter by the month.
You'll never reach your potential in social media until you're able to get comfortable and find your voice, a process that inevitably takes time. That's time that should be spent focused on content and quality, not worrying about where the technology will drag you next.
So what if your blog doesn't have the hottest new widgets and plug-ins?
So what if you're still using Blogger instead of WordPress?
So what if you don't see the magical allure of FourSquare or FarmVille?
So what if you break some rules, write too little, write too much or use equipment that an AV club would have laughed out of the room in 1997?
"Perfect is the enemy of great."
Voltaire wrote that way back to 1772, and yet I find it more pertinent every day. The biggest problem in social media isn't a failure to adopt the right technology and tactics. It's a failure to make the most of what we have, a reluctance to focus on content over novelty.
So as we wrap up a 30-day series of tips, tricks and tactics, I want to leave you with one guideline that supersedes them all:
Social media isn't about adapting who you are to better suit the newest technology. It's about adapting the newest technology to better suit who you are.
Look at it that way, and you'll see the digital world as a place of unlimited options, not missed opportunities.
Photo credit: Sybren A. Stüvel on Flickr.