How I’m Using Social Media in 2018

A few days ago The Minimalists published a blog post explaining why they took January off from social media and how they are going to use them in 2018. I really enjoyed reading it and it inspired me to write something similar since I’ve made some quality changes during the last few months.

First of all, I’m one of those people constantly complaining about the algorithm changes, starting from Facebook back in the days to Twitter and then Instagram. I firmly believe it ruined the experience on those platforms, not just for me, but for all the people who don’t want to invest money in ads.

I used to open Twitter and scroll my feed to the last tweet missed being able to read what the people I’ve followed had written while I was away, I replied to tweets, retweeted some stuff and shared a couple of thoughts. It was nice, Twitter was the place where I chatted with like-minded people about Tolkien and Middle-earth, blogging and books. It was my favourite social media, to be honest. Now it’s a completely different experience. When I log in, I scroll my feed and I have to actually look for the people I’ve followed because it’s now full of sponsored posts, tweets from people I don’t know but that the people I follow liked and, the worst, they are no longer in a true chronological order. You can imagine that when you tweet a good old status like “I can’t wait to see Black Panther this week!”, nobody would notice in that chaos because your tweets now need to be visually appealing, containing a link, 200 hashtags, and so on.

Same thing with Instagram. I’ve read so many blog posts about the best strategies to “beat the algorithm” and they sound just too much for me. The most insane one I’ve read was that, in order to get more engagement on your photos, you have to be active commenting and liking stuff 15 minutes before AND after sharing a photo. Sure, engaging with others helps you to get more visibility on Instagram, but we have a life to live! And we can’t beat bots (that people hire to do the dirty work for them), so why bothering.

I’ve spent 2017 forcing myself to make it work for me and my blog, to still use social media to get visibility, in order to prove that on my résumé, to let people know that I can use tools like Buffer, Later and Hootsuite. But, in the end, it didn’t work and it deeply affected the way I approached my life online. It doesn’t matter if I was scheduling my tweets or my Instagram photos, I was still spending too much time online without even getting the results I wanted.

Taking a 48h break from Instagram during Christmas made me realize that the problem wasn’t the blog, the problem was my relationship with social media! Since then, I decided to take it easy, I was very stressed by my last University exam, some health issues and things like that and the fast-paced nature of Instagram (thanks to Stories) didn’t help me at all. I decided that, in order to follow my word for 2018, I’m going to take more breaks here and there more often. I already crafted two little rules that worked very well so far:

  • Don’t check social media before noon.
  • Take Sunday off.

Here is a more in-depth look at my accounts (maybe this will also help you understand where I hang ou the most).

Instagram. Let’s start from my favourite one. I used to participate in so many different challenges, take lots and lots of photos in batches and schedule them in order to always have something to publish every single day. It was just too much for me, so now I post when I have something to share and I try to not stress too much if I miss a post or two from my favourite accounts. Same thing with Stories. This is the best place to reach me out, after the blog, because it’s still the platform where I’m most active (except for weekends, you still have my Contact page for that). 🙂

Twitter. At the end of 2017, I had tons of applets on IFTTT to automate all the things, then I decided to quit and keep my profile only as a placeholder. Then I thought about tweeting the old way (in real time without scheduling nor automating) and, while I enjoyed it more than I expected, I felt like I was talking with a wall since the engagement was basically zero, meaning that my links didn’t even get clicked once, so what was the point of that? I blame the algorithm. To be fair, the only tweet that got some engagement was Tolkien-related and this means that 80% of my followers are still fellow Middle-earth nerds, so I should probably consider that in the future. For now, I will just automatically share my posts through WordPress (no more IFTTT recipes), but I’m not planning to engage there anymore, that’s why I removed the icon here on the sidebar. Last but not least, this is the platform that brings less traffic to my blog. It used to be the first one, but now things changed and so I think it’s useless for me.

Facebook. I deleted my “official” profile 3 years ago and I never looked back. Now I have an anonymous-ish one that I use to interact in a couple of Groups and to manage pages, including one where WordPress automatically shares my posts that I created solely to let people know that I have a blog if they visit my profile from a group (since links aren’t clickable in the Fb bio). I check it only once or twice a day just to catch up with Groups, so it isn’t an addictive platform for me anymore.

Pinterest. The only reasons why I keep it are: you can’t actually delete your profile, it brings a lot of traffic to my blog. Currently, I just use it to do some research and nothing more (it’s the best place to find laptop/phone wallpapers FYI). 😉

Goodreads. I still use it to read book reviews and find interesting readings, but I’m not sure if I will keep updating it, to be honest. I stopped joining the Goodreads Challenge because it gave me too much anxiety and, for now, I feel like a simple list in a notebook works well enough for me.

That’s it! Writing this post gave me even more clarity on how I’m going to approach my online life and helped me to finalize some points.

 

How are you using social media in 2018? I’d love to hear from you!

January Small Goals + My Word for 2018

Happy 2018!!! I can’t believe the New Year is here. I’m already in that post-Christmas sadness that is going to stay with me pretty much until March (or August) and it’s crazy since we also celebrate Epiphany on January 6th here in Italy, so all the decorations are still on, Christmas movies are still on TV and things like that. When I was a child, I knew there was another present to open and other treats to eat, but now that I’m older I can only hope for a good movie on TV.

December has been an incredibly good month this year. Not having University classes to attend, I just did some trips to the library to gather material for my thesis and, for once, I spent December 23rd at home helping my mom. I don’t miss school at all!

Here is a recap of my goals for the month.

1. Avoid procrastination before the Holidays. I don’t feel like I’ve been productive as much as I wanted, some days it was basically impossible to concentrate on my thesis research for me. I could do better.

2. Exercize daily. Done! *pats her shoulder*

3. Choose a word for 2018. More on that in a moment.

4. Spend less time on social media. Done!!! I still can’t believe it, but I’ve been able to take 48h completely off from Instagram. It has been my very first social media detox (I basically use only Instagram these days, LOL) and it felt so good! At first, I started constantly wanting to check it, but I had hidden the app in my app drawer (I love Android for this feature!) and it helped a lot because it wasn’t in front of me all the time. Then, I started forgetting it completely at the point that I didn’t even want to check it back on December 27th! During this break, I realized that I never felt the need to take a detox when Instagram was just, well, Instagram. But now with private messages, Stories, sponsored stuff (I’m looking at you Garden Escapes!) and the ability to follow hashtags, it’s incredibly cluttered, like Twitter. I always followed only the people I really cared to see updates from, not to be rude, but I wanted to be sure to interact with them, leave comments and be a good friend. Now, even if I still follow few people, my time spent using the app has increased because of all those features. I don’t care about the Stories of every single person I follow, but there is no way to avoid them once I start watching them, I can skip them, but they still pop up in front of me.

Articles Written in December

Since I write for other websites as well, I thought it would be nice to share my posts here in these monthly recaps as a sort of newsletter.

November Favorites – My friend Lily and I shared our favorite things from the past month on Travelling Geek Show.

How to Start a Seriously Awesome 2018 Journal – This month’s blog post for Page Flutter was all about starting a journal for 2018. I shared my tips and tricks on how and what to journal and where to start!

My goals for January

1. Watch more movies and only 1 TV series at a time. Since last November, when I finally got Netflix, I got so excited that I started watching tons and tons of TV series, doing little progress since I watched one or two episodes per week of each. I was so excited to finally be able to watch what I liked (TV doesn’t interest me at all), that I’ve lost track of what I started and I basically stopped watching movies, also because my attention span decreased a lot during the years, but I want to change that because movies are what I will remember along the years, not random short episodes. So my goal for January is to watch more movies and to pick only 1 TV series at a time, preferably with a small number of seasons and episodes (The Crown was the only TV show I watched in December and was perfect!), so I can fully appreciate it without feeling the need to binge-watch it.

2. Journal daily. I’ve always been tempted by journaling apps, but I love the feeling of pen and paper when it comes to jotting down my thoughts. However, not being able to print my photos to add to my journaling has always been a pain for me. Luckily, I discovered a beautiful (free) app called Journey and my plan is to use it as a daily recap log, it won’t replace my ramblings on paper, it will be a sort of a photo-a-day project just for myself. I was thinking about doing it on a private Instagram account, but this app is much better. It syncs with Google Drive, you can export your entries in different formats and, most importantly, it isn’t a social media.

3. Reduce my time on Instagram. I will continue with my December goal, it went so well that I’m excited to unplug more this month!

4. Wear more makeup. If you’ve read my previous blog post, you’ll already know that one of the things that I regret the most in 2017 is being too lazy for makeup. I already ordered a new mascara to replace my expired one, so I hope to be in the right direction.

5. Visit more blogs and leave more comments. This can also be translated with: being a blogger again. Instagram is cool, but I’m not an influencer, I’m a blogger and I’ve been that for more than a decade now. In 2017, I’ve been more than once close to shutting down this blog because I couldn’t find the enthusiasm anymore. Maybe I just needed a break.

One Little Word

The amazing Ali Edwards introduced me to this project and I’ve been choosing a word to guide me through the years since 2015. You can find all my previous posts about that here.

2015 – immerse
2016 – less
2017 – magic
2018 – slow

I chose slow for 2018, inspired by the slow reading movement. I want to stop scrolling and start reading this year (can we create a T-shirt with that motto??). I want to spend less time comparing myself to others and more time to be productive. I want to stop feeling like I’m in a race to read as many books as I can and I want to actually finish my TBR folder on my Kindle before getting new books (by the way, I joined the #theunreadshelfproject2018 on Bookstagram, you can follow my adventures here). I want to slow down in general and actually enjoy the moment, being more present with my eyes away from a screen.

Here is the plan, let’s hope I’ll be able to stick with it!

 

Do you have any goals, words, resolutions for 2018?

My One Little Word for 2017 + Goals

Today is the last day of the holidays here in Italy, we’re celebrating Epiphany and then, tomorrow, we’re going to put down all our Christmas decorations. *sighs* January 7 is probably the saddest day of the year for me, since I was a child! I finally took some me-time during the last few days to think about my word for 2017 and I’m happy to report I finally found one: magic.

As you probably already know, I’m a big fan of Ali Edwards and I’ve taken her course called One Little Word in 2015 and 2016, but I noticed I skipped a bunch of prompts, because they didn’t reasonate with me and my style, since I prefer doing it on a journal instead of a scrapbook. It wasn’t an easy decision (I was so tempted to use my Christmas money!), but I ended up not purchasing the class for 2017. I’ll feel myself lost in a couple of weeks, I already know it, but I really wanted to save my money and go on through the previous prompts to find the ones that were right for me and repeat them with my new word.

Now, why MAGIC? Well, my previous words have been IMMERSE and LESS and they had been chosen because I needed some guidance with my studies and future career. I had to immerse myself into my bachelor thesis in 2015 and give myself less distractions in order to study more efficiently in 2016. I’d still need some guidance in this part of my life, but I wanted to choose a word only for myself and, hopefully, magic will help me to reconnect with my own passions in 2017.

I got burned out during the last few months and I ended up consuming consuming consuming without creating anymore. I stopped writing (here and on Middle-earth News) and I procrastinated reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the 3 Pottermore ebooks, plus I postponed my rereading of The Lord of the Rings, to name a few. I only watched the Extended Edition of The Battle of the Five Armies once and, wow, it’s not like me! Finally, I panicked a little bit after realising I wasn’t excited for Fantastic Beasts as much as I hoped to be. Which is weird, because my fandoms are what actually makes me happy and they always helped me during difficult moments of my life, I can’t let them go this way!

I decided to set some goals in order to help myself sticking with the MAGIC project.

  1. Reread The Lord of the Rings in March to celebrate #MiddleEarthMarch with fellow Tolkien lovers on Instagram
  2. Follow Corey Olsen’s lectures on a regular basis (I already added them on my calendar!)
  3. Read more books about and by Tolkien (I have a whole Amazon wishlist dedicated to it)
  4. Play LOTRO during my free time instead of feeding my addition for YouTube videos about planners. They basically took away the majority of my free time in 2016 and made me spend too much money in stationery, because I constantly felt the need to own more pretty stuff and have more planners.
  5. Finish Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and read the Pottermore ebooks
  6. Follow Pottermore on a regular basis
  7. Surround myself with fellow Potterheads and Tolkien fans (shoutout to Ziba on Instagram and Cherry on YouTube)
  8. Downsize my TBR list of books I purchased on my Kindle

Here are my personal goals, but concerning my blog and social media, I decided to carry my 2016 word with me a little more to help myself caring LESS about my fear of missing out (FOMO).

  1. I’m going to write here on the blog when I’ll feel like it, without treating it like a job anymore. I’ll try to publish my blog posts every Tuesday, but you could expect less of them (or more), I don’t want to force myself with a rigid schedule this year.
  2. After many thoughts, I decided to let go my obsessive schedule and marketing strategy on Twitter and I’m going to use it to communicate with fellow bloggers and book lovers and share my thoughts, like I used to do a couple of years ago.
  3. Pinterest will remain, but I don’t know if I’ll be very active there again.
  4. Instagram is going to be my main focus and the best way to reach me out. I finally came back to my old username @alicegreenleaf and I’m really enjoying the Stories feature now that I have a new smartphone, I’m trying to use it for little announcements (like new blog posts) and BTS. Way easier than trying to build an audience from scratch on Snapchat, that’s why I keep it private.
  5. Finally I’m going to keep publishing my productivity posts (new and old) on Medium once a week, or so.

I know it’s a lot to read! I hope you arrived here without falling asleep, but I really wanted to write a “state of the biz” at the beginning of the year to let you know what to expect from the Burrow and myself.

I made so many new blog friends in 2016 and I couldn’t be more grateful! Thank you for supporting me and my craziness, you’re absolutely the best! ❤

Now I want to know YOUR goals! 🙂 Feel free to share them down below.

Less | My June Action Step

One Little Word® is a year-long workshop by Ali Edwards that helps you choosing a word for the year and focusing, meditating, reflecting on it. My word for 2016 is less.

As I wrote in the private group of the One Little Word class, I felt very disconnected with my word lately, I didn’t even do the previous two monthly prompts and I felt very bad about it, I even asked myself if it was worth continuing with the project. But now I decided to take June as a new beginning.

I started thinking what was keeping my mind too busy, crowded with thoughts, what I actually felt like a chore instead of a pleasure, and I ended up realizing it was blogging. Since last year, when I started watching webinars, reading about marketing and how to become an entrepreneur (only because I liked it), I followed all the rules scheduling my posts, using an editorial calendar, trying so badly to stick with 2/3 posts per week, because “consistency is the key”. But I’m a university student and it’s hard, very hard, especially during Summer when my exams last until the end of July.

So, in June (and probably most of the Summer), I’m going to break the rules, blogging only when I’ll feel like it, instead of trying to stick with consistency. I’ll still use my editorial calendar, but I’ll mostly move things around to suit my mood, instead of force myself to write that post, because it HAS to be publish that day.

I miss the three-month Summer holidays I had when I went to school! 🙂

Do you have any specific plans for your blog during Summer?

Getting Things Done + My May Action Step

Title: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
Author: David Allen
Pages: 294
Published: March 17th 2015 by Penguin Books
My Rating:

Goodreads

Since it was first published almost fifteen years ago, David Allen’s Getting Things Done has become one of the most influential business books of its era, and the ultimate book on personal organization. “GTD” is now shorthand for an entire way of approaching professional and personal tasks, and has spawned an entire culture of websites, organizational tools, seminars, and offshoots.

Allen has rewritten the book from start to finish, tweaking his classic text with important perspectives on the new workplace, and adding material that will make the book fresh and relevant for years to come. This new edition of Getting Things Done will be welcomed not only by its hundreds of thousands of existing fans but also by a whole new generation eager to adopt its proven principles.

It’s no secret that I love all things productivity and organization, I even wrote a couple of blog posts here about that, sharing my tips and tools to maintain a tidy and smooth online experience. I’ve been this way like my whole life, my parents give me documents and important papers to keep all the time, they even did it when I was only a child! Because they were (and still are) extremely unorganized and I was like the little secretary of the house.

So, when I read Kara’s post about Getting Things Done by David Allen I knew I had to read it as soon as possible. I gave myself about twenty days to savor every single word of this book and after finishing it I was so satisfied and happy that I couldn’t wait to put things on paper and create lists. Like many people who read this book and reviewed it, I already knew most of the principles, but I wasn’t kind of aware of them. Reading that my Weekly Reviews were part of a five steps workflow (Capture, Clarify, Organize, Reflect, Engage) made me realize that what I really needed were directions and Allen’s reassuring voice to tell me “you’re doing it right!”. Another thing I was already doing were brain dumps, but I didn’t know that you should do them just once in a while and the rest of the time you should be able to categorize all the stuff that comes up during the day without any problem.

The biggest discovery for me has been Contexts. I used to create endless lists on my bullet journal and sometimes color coding my study tasks, but the truth is that when the day was over, I left many of them incomplete or I ended up being confused about what I could do if I only had like 10/20 minutes of times (so I did nothing, I just procrastinated). While Allen recommends to immediately write day/time-specific actions in your calendar, so you won’t forget about them, he also recommends to create different lists about contexts. The most common ones are: Agendas, Anywhere, Calls, Computer, Errands, Home, Office. If you have to do many calls for work, well, it would be useful to have a list with all the phone calls you have to do, or all the groceries you have to buy, things you can do only at home, and so on. I modified the system a little bit, because I’m a student and I don’t have a job, I also live in the country and when there are thunder storms or a big amount of snow we usually lose electricity, so it was logic for me to create an Offline list for all the actions I can take when I don’t have electricity, like keep up with my daily journaling, clean my desk, read that pdf I downloaded weeks ago, and so on.

Finally, another core concept of Getting Things Done is realizing that many of the tasks you wrote in your to-do lists are actually projects and need a proper section. David Allen’s definition of project: Any outcome that requires more than one next action step to complete and can be completed within one year. Any commitment within that time frame needs to be reviewed at least weekly.

That said, “organize the closet” was originally a task in my general list of things I wanted to do, but it’s actually a project, because it requires several different actions to get it done, so I moved to the Projects section of my organizer.

I won’t spend tons of words talking about this book, because I think you should totally read it, if it’s a topic that might interest you. Speaking of action steps, for my One Little Word this month I want to try to get this system running and actually trust it, like Allen recommends, I’ll try to improve it and create new habits to be able to have LESS in my mind and more on paper.