Few would dispute that the world wide web has revolutionized our lives. But, as with many good things, there is also a downside that requires a management strategy.

I do not profess to have a solution, as I myself lurch between excitement, overwhelm and fear of missing out (FOMO). However, I would like to share some of my learning points, accumulated over three years of exploring digital marketing for my coaching business.

If you have unlimited financial resources, as well as time, it can mean the world wide web is a very useful resource for following the world, your interests, and your passions. But, for those of us with capped financial resources, it has very emotive, subtle ways of encouraging one to part with money.

It Is a Slippery Slide to Overwhelm

Since I qualified as a coach, I have been keeping abreast of developments in both coaching and marketing in the 21st Century, mainly through webinars.

The problem, I have found, is that as soon as you express interest in anybody’s information, or sign up for a webinar, or simply follow something interesting, you open yourself to a flood of emails, newsletters, facebook messages, to mention just a few.

Then follows the slippery slide from “Wow, that is interesting” to “Oh, no, not more information!”

When I attend a webinar or I acknowledge something that interests me, I find myself skimming the ensuing flood of emails for a week or two and then I unsubscribe.

Sometimes, I suffer from what the youth refer to as FOMO, and against my better judgment, I let the flow continue for another couple of weeks.

Then one day, when I am feeling totally overwhelmed by my inbox, I go down the list, unsubscribing left, right and centre. Very therapeutic, I have to confess, and it certainly eases the overwhelm for a week or two. Do you know that feeling?

Many Are Climbing on the “List” Bandwagon

Unfortunately, every Tom, Dick and Harriet is jumping on the bandwagon to create a list of people they can email in order to sell their products and services.

Most of them want to tell you how to do something, and they will give you enough information for you to feel that you simply cannot survive or make it through life without the rest of the information. Then comes the catch – you need to pay for the rest of the information! How many times have I fallen prey?

I am learning – albeit slowly – to “sleep on it” when they foist a special price or discount on me. Their technique is designed to put you on the back foot so you take up the offer without much thought.

I would love to know the statistics for the number of people who actually utilize the offerings fully. I have several incomplete courses, paid for, that are lurking in the cloud somewhere!

Summits Come at You Hard and Fast for a Week

Then there are the summits. They look so enticing and interesting when advertised. I sign up and during the ensuing week the podcasts flood in, 3 – 5 talks per day taking 1.5 – 3 hours’ listening time.

Then I find myself asking: Who has the time to watch all these? Sure, you can buy the whole package, but who has the money to buy every interesting summit that comes their way? Will I watch it again, anyway?

I bought one programme two years ago, I have lent it to a couple of friends, but I have yet to watch it again myself. If you do manage to watch some of the talks and then sign up for the specials, be prepared for the deluge.

Some Guidelines

This has led me to draw up a list of guidelines for myself, which I thought I would share with you:

  • When signing up, say to yourself – am I REALLY interested, or is it FOMO?
  • Do not buy anything without sleeping on it. If they do not give you 24 hours to make your decision, their intention is to catch you off guard. Take note of the ‘opt-out’ clauses – you may need them.
  • Clear your inbox once a week (preferably) or once a fortnight. If you have lost concentration reading an email to the end, consider unsubscribing. If you think you might still get to it, put it into a ‘pending’ file which deletes emails after two weeks.

I am talking from the heart here, and I am certainly writing this blog as much for myself as you. I currently seem to have fallen into a pit of chronic overwhelm. The www is a fabulous tool, but we need to use it with caution.

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of information on the Internet? Do you experience a fear of missing out and find yourself constantly going online? Please share any tips you may have for dealing with the FOMO factor.