How to Manage Your Time with Social Networks

Twitter. Facebook. LinkedIn. MySpace. Social Median. FriendFeed. Friendster. Ryze. Blogs. It’s never-ending.

Those of us who work to keep up with social media as a marketing and publicity tool feel like we’re drowning in a pool of “Be my friend,” “Join my group” and “Update me.”

It’s like tangled cables. You have all these resources that connect you to a network of many, but the tangles drive you crazy.

  • Tell yourself that no one can keep up with it all. Well, maybe the one person who can make it a full-time job to do it without worrying about money.
  • Create a profile at all the reputable sites. I said create a profile, not go there every day.
  • Pick three to use on a regular basis. Generally, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Connect other sites with your Twitter and Facebook feeds. Many sites now let you update them through Twitter and Facebook. This way it looks like you’re active, which you are — just not at that specific site.

Fascinating Twitter conversations with just 140 characters and the addicting Facebook applications can engulf you. Here’s how I control my social networking cravings so they don’t get in the way of my work:

  • Create a folder called “social media” or “social network” and filter everything from twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. etc. into that folder. Check it once or twice a day. This made the biggest difference.
  • Avoid using applications like Tweetdeck. With Tweetdeck putting a lot of features in your control, it’s easy to get carried away. Twitter and Facebook almost never have slow times.
  • Multitask. I try to participate in two twitter chats every week. On those days, I tend not to sign in twitter until those chats start and catch up then using tabs and multiple monitors.
  • Stay off when you’re most effective. I do my best work in the morning. So no social networking in the morning. Instead, I write and write.
  • Use monitoring tools. If you have to know when someone mentions your company, you or something else, let the monitors do the job for you. I know some don’t do a perfect job as I use several that haven’t been consistent in reporting.

Don’t let social networking overwhelm you. You’re the boss of your time and very few can be all over the place on a regular basis. Instead, take a step back and prioritize. Having a profile is better than nothing. Besides, you can point to where people can find you.

How do you manage your social networking activities?

8 thoughts on “How to Manage Your Time with Social Networks”

  1. Meryl,
    For someone who’s work is all computer based, the lure of social networking is a great temptation.
    We can come up with all kinds of reasons to justify a big chunk of time “networking” and while I think some time spent is valuable, it’s too easy to become THE thing we do on a daily basis.
    I love your suggestion about using folders, I’ll have to try that.
    I end up using Twitter almost exclusively, although I have profiles at LinkedIn and Facebook. LinkedIn isn’t interactive enough for me for regular use and FB is just plain outta control with karma, birthday and about a million other inane invites and requests.
    Tumblemoose´s last blog post… What Kindergarten taught me about writing today

  2. Thanks, George. You’re right that Facebook has too many apps. That’s another thing — just click “Ignore.” No one’s feelings will be hurt if you don’t install the app.
    How is LinkedIn not interactive enough?

  3. Hi Meryl. It can be overwhelming, I agree. These are good tips you’ve shared — I too, stay offline when I’m focused on other things.
    I used to keep Twitter open while I worked, but it was too tempting to click over to see if I was missing a good conversation. Before I knew it, at least 10 minutes had passed.
    I have my hands full with working to earn a living being the top priority, and then keeping up with the blog and Twitter. So many options. It’s all good when we can keep it balanced.

  4. @Davina, exactly. I learned early on not to use twitter apps (except when in a twitter chat) because it’s very easy to let it swallow up your time. It’s a great water cooler and helps freelancers get out there and talk with folks.

  5. Great list! Here are three things that have helped me cut back on my online time:
    (1) In my profile, I list that I’m generally only online on evenings or weekends, which I try to stick to(though I’ll sometimes check in during lunch breaks or downtime).
    (2) On Twitter, my goal is to try to post at least 2 or 3 tweets a day (often RTs of things that catch my attention), I feel this at least helps give the appearance of steady activity.
    (3) I’ve overcome my fear of “what if I miss something”…generally the important stuff gets retweeted or referenced often enough.
    Hope that helps!
    Helen Hoefele´s last blog post… Green Shoots: Not Just About the Short-Term

  6. @Helen, that’s a great idea to list the times you’re online. The nice thing about twitter is that the messages will stay there (when it behaves). Many of us look at older tweets — not the ones from the last 10 mins.

  7. I also turned off email notifications which can suck you in. The downside is I have lost a few leads that way. On the other hand if they are serious they can get to my site easy enough and email me.
    I check Twitter 1-2 times a day, Facebook 1-2 a week and Linkedin 1-2 a month.
    I disagree about Tweetdeck, it can save you time. You just need to manage when and how much you use it, just like updating directly on Twitter.
    Harrisburg Web Design´s last blog post… Custom Twitter Pages


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