Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Social Media Burnout

Things haven’t been good lately. A self-admitted social media addict, I have been involved in it, (social media) in one way or another for many years. I wrote my first blog in the late 1990’s while a student in Canada (all html in Notepad). I was studying 3D graphics and later worked in the game development industry during and post “Internet Bubble” breaking.

I left tech completely and set off for Asia. I quit my job as a 3D artist at a company and gave up my freelance contracts and became a teacher. My first year in Korea was a complete about face from technology. I had loved it so much, but it quickly led to my “burn out” in 2001. That was my first tech melt down so to speak.

That first year in Korea I didn’t even have a computer or even a cell phone. I would email my parents once or twice a week from a computer in the staff room at school. I would occasionally call people on the telephone, but normally, I would just “pop” by my friends’ apartments to see what they were up to and vice versa. That year was filled with work, martial arts training, drinking with friends, travel and general adventure.

Fast forward to 2006. That's the year I discovered You Tube. I had a Japanese girlfriend in Korea (now my wife) and we would watch videos about Japan. I opened up an account so I could email people like tokyocooney with questions about Japan.

Soon after that I purchased my first video camera. I bought a Sony Handycam at Emart in Busan, South Korea. I started making crappy videos and editing them in Windows Moviemaker. Months later I would move back to Canada, but the You Tube hobby continued.

By the time I moved to Japan a little more than three years ago, I was downright obsessed with You Tube and vlogging. I was all about building community, socializing and interacting with fellow bloggers and having a great time. Things got to the point where I had thousands of subscribers, received dozens of emails every week (often asking the same questions continuously) and started to find it hard to keep up with things.

My love of You Tube continued and in early 2009 I became a You Tube partner. In 2010 I had a chance to visit the Google campus in Tokyo when I was there for the Tokyo Marathon and met many amazing fellow vloggers.

By 2010 I was juggling several blogs, two You Tube channels, had become very active on Twitter and was doing numerous collaboration videos. It was a lot to handle. Did I mention I had a full time and very demanding job as a teacher and was a husband?

By mid 2010 I was a new father and things changed a lot more. I had far less time to sit in front of a computer maintaining my “social media empire.”

My interest in You Tube began to diminish a lot during 2010 and more so this year. The simple amount of time needed to maintain what I had created was simply too much. I was spending up to and above twenty hours a week parked in front of my computer working on You Tube and the community around it (that was before my son came along). I was no longer watching movies or television shows. I was no longer reading books. Everything was about maintaining my community and working on my You Tube success. I was taking things far too seriously.

Recently, I have also started to explore other areas of interest. I am now more interested in writing than shooting and editing videos. I realize I will never be a “superstar” or “professional” You Tuber and would rather channel my energy into more traditional blogging and writing. I also have some other literary projects I am interested in starting this year. My marathon running and charity work have also eaten into that “You Tube time.”

For the first time, I notice that You Tube causes me more anxiety than joy. I have met some incredible people through this social media network over the years, made a little money and have had a lot of fun, but it is now time to take a little break. I will of course pop videos up from time to time about my charity work, projects I am involved in and when I have vacation time, maybe a little more. My involvement won’t in any way what it once was.

I’m not disappearing by any means of course. I am still alive and very well on Twitter and I plan to focus a lot more on my blogging. I will be writing more than before and trying my hat at more traditional writing as well.

Long story short, when something you do stops being fun, it’s time to start doing something else.

I’m still going to be around and in a big way. I’ll just be around in a different way!

You can follow me on Twitter: @jlandkev


Wanderer said...

Kevin, I have been more "off" than "on" You Tube for that very reason. It's always good to see the responses to my videos, but they're frequently more for friends like you (and other very specific people) and family members. I personally have no intention of doing what you have done. It's good to know I'll always be able to stay in touch with you by regular e-mail too.

Stay cool my friend, and keep yourself healthy.

Scott Brown said...

Good move I reckon Kevin, but before you get rusty I'd like to have you make a video for a business of mine.
No great rush but I'm sure you're the right bloke for the job so please get in contact and we can talk about it.



Hiko said...

Kev mate - to tell you the truth, I had no idea how you were doing it. I had to slow down and space out my vids more and more, and I saw you were keeping it going - even increasing activity. I was impressed as hell, being in the exact same situation, I completely understand.

For me, that time in front of the computer late at night recording and editing vids just doesn't exist any more.

It's taken me into blogging more, and Twitter, partly because writing is less demanding of time and location. And I'm thankful for all the fantastic interaction I get on my blog and Twitter, that really wouldn't be there if it weren't for YouTube.

I've adapted my online habits to Jnr, and enjoyed the new discoveries it's allowed me to make. I think you're a good writer and you'll get a lot of satisfaction from that, and find ways you are comfortable to keep your YouTube ticking over.

Anyway, enjoy the rest. I think everyone understands your situation - I haven't had any complaints at my lessened activity.

We still haven't had a chance for a proper sit down for a beer and a chat yet - I hope the chance arises sometime this year.


Anonymous said...

Same reason why I've taken a pause from blogging & making videos. I want to make videos again, but I need to relax first.

Do what you must Kevin!