Online communication platforms and social networks have completely lost sight of user experience in their rush to include All.The.Features.
And community builders are compounding the challenge by using too many platforms to communicate.
The big social networks have been copying each other for a while now, but the mass adoption of the “story” format was the beginning of the end. It established a horrifying precedent in which every single social network had to have feature parity. And now audio spaces are getting the same copy/paste treatment.
This is a mistake.
The user experience becomes muddled and confusing, like walking through a Las Vegas casino surrounded by bells and whirring machines. Which slot machine should I choose?
Never mind, I now have a headache, so I’m going outside for some fresh air.
As much as Big Tech would like us to lose track of what day it is and keep gambling, we are starting to yearn for peace and quiet.
That’s one reason single-focus apps (like Dispo and Minutiae) are starting to pop up. They actually feel like a relief.
“constraints — even when artificially imposed — can be much more satisfying than information overload” FT.com
Feature fatigue is not a new phenomenon. This HBR article from 2008, Defeating Feature Fatigue, shows the study data behind our aversion to overly complex products and advocates “designing products that do one thing very well.”
We still haven’t learned the lesson of feature simplicity.
With each new platform, app, or communication medium, creators/entrepreneurs and community builders are tempted to add to their portfolio.
But what am I, as a consumer, supposed to do when you come at me with this barrage of information? (this is a real example of a community I participate in).
Perhaps they're also thinking about adding creator coins in Rally or BitClout, which have their own spaces to communicate
I like you, I really really like you, but I also have a job and a family.
Keeping up with the conversation across your galaxy of venues is making me dizzy. It’s like social media whack a mole.
“But I’m just trying to 'be where you are,' Rosemary!”
The great decluttering has to happen on two levels.
First, when you’re building your slice of the community economy, choose your platform(s) sparingly.
Second, once you’ve chosen those platform(s), be thoughtful with your use of features within them. Think about how your members will get the most value with the least amount of mental load.
Let’s apply Marie Kondo’s KonMari system to decluttering our communications.
Commit yourself to tidy up. Recognize that your members, followers, the audience are exhausted and overwhelmed. Perhaps you’re a bit burned out too.
Imagine your ideal lifestyle. What are you trying to achieve with your community and the conversations within it? What are your members trying to achieve?
Discard anything that has outlived its purpose first. That Medium blog you set up months ago but forgot about? Time to delete. The extra Slack channel that nobody is using? Shut it down.
Tidy by category, not location. Look at your Google Analytics and figure out which channels or sources are actually contributing to your goals, then make the tough decisions. Don’t just go to one of your platforms and start deleting. Back up and gain insight into what categories of content are really resonating with your audience.
Follow the right order. In KonMari, it’s clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous, sentimental items. In our decluttering, those might be replaced by Story videos, audio, long-form content/blog posts, short-form status updates.
Ask yourself if it sparks joy. We’ve mostly discussed how decluttering your communications will benefit your members, but it will also lighten your own mental burden. Scheduling, producing, and tracking will become much simpler once you’ve let go of the things that don’t spark joy for you or your audience.
Now go spark some joy.
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