It’s a common piece of criticism: Facebook is nothing but chitchat and gossip, I don’t see why I should use it, I don’t want to know useless things about other people’s lives.

While I may consider that to be partially true, I think people are way too harsh when judging something, and tend to just hit extreme opposites.

I understand those kinds of comments, but I also understand the importance Facebook and many other social channels have for businesses (disclaimer: I work in a social media agency). And while I don’t disregard people who take and defend this position, I do have something against only looking at one side of things.

You can argue that swearing is impolite, but that doesn’t mean that the ability to speak is such a bad idea.

Lately, I’ve had a couple of important chats regarding how much information we consume on a daily basis, and its importance to how we apprehend knowledge to produce something new and useful.

The world wide web and social media have brought many marvelous things to the way we educate ourselves, communicate and share. But with permanent connection comes permanent unplugging, at least if we don’t do something about it.

Bottom line: we’re blocked by these enormous amounts of information, infected with the fear of missing out. In fact, we’re actually blocking ourselves from the real things that matter, such as: what the hell am I going to do with all these articles, infographics, tools, stats and perspectives?

A few weeks back, this tweet by Armando Alves opened my eyes to the matter. In fact, it was upon reflecting that I decided to:

  1. Cut by half my RSS feeds (trust me, you don’t really need that much information)
  2. Start a blog and produce my own content

There’s no bright future in the information age. Only the ones who master knowledge will survive.

John D. Cook said it well in a 2009 blog post:

Programmers are most effective when they avoid writing code.

It’s a great take on programmers’ productivity needs (and realities), the need to simplify a certain problem and how good code is actually reusable for solving future problems.

More often than not, the best solutions are the simple ones, and good doses of reflection and insight are crucial for any problem solver. This is not exclusive for coders, and it’s not an easy task at all.

But then again, if it were, we’d all get a nifty raise in no time.

This is probably one of the wrongest pieces of advice I’ve seen in social media blogs.

I’m not saying it isn’t true, but it’s like asking a blind man to paint what he sees in the mirror.

Most people don’t know who they are. And for companies and brands that’s also true. So this kind of advice ends up being utterly redundant.

Let’s go back to basics. In order to work it all out in the social media world, you must first discover yourself. There’s a subtle yet crucial difference.