I recently moved into a new house and in the process of moving, I got rid of a lot of stuff I'd been holding onto for no apparent reason. I have to say that I'm liking the uncluttered look and have made a personal decision that from now on, if I bring something new into the house, something else will have to go. It's the "instead of" approach to home decor, since my 1200 sq. feet will not accommodate an "in addition to" home design scheme.
On a related note, this morning I was skimming my feed reader and found this post from Stephen Downes on finding time to blog. In it, he says:
The whole point isn't to *add* online writing on top of everything else you do. Nobody has time for that.
Rather, what you want to be thinking of doing is to gradually migrate to writing online *instead* of writing for those other purposes.
That doesn't mean you become a blog writer and nothing else. Rather, what you'll find is that writing for the website makes writing for all those other things a lot easier.
The idea is to take the stuff you do for private audiences and to present it (as much as you can) to public audiences.
And you'll find you have people reading your work, helping you with resources and links to do the work you're doing now.
Many of us have to write as part of our jobs, so the idea of blogging in addition to the other writing we do seems like one more task. But as Stephen points out, if we think about blogging instead of writing for these other purposes, it actually opens us up to even more learning and information. If I'm planning a workshop, let's say, and do it privately, then I only have my own ideas and resources. But if I planned it publicly, on my blog, in a wiki, or even in a Google doc, then I could open it up to the resources and feedback of knowledgeable people all over the world. This could not only save me time, it will most likely make my workshop even better.
So much of getting into the social media mindset is about realizing that there are different, more productive ways to do things. We should be searching for the "instead of" opportunities in using social media, rather than thinking these are "in addition to" everything else we're doing.
What professional activity could you do through social media INSTEAD OF through some other means? How can you pare things down, rather than adding to your load?
Flickr photo via The Alienness Gisela Giardino