For some of us social media is not just a way of keeping in touch with our old classmates, it has become a way of communicating and sharing our life’s work and projects, for some even a vehicle to network with peers and find new prospects but it can sometimes get overwhelming with so much activity we need to keep up with.
I have to admit, I’m one of those guys that loves technology, talking about it, trying every single new gadget or application. A few weeks ago not only I realized that sometimes we end up making our lives more complicated this way but also how annoying it gets with so much activity going on.
Social media can get pretty busy if you don’t control it, so I decided to look for ways of simplifying the spaghetti plate and I made a small list of tricks that we all overlook when using these web services. First I made a commitment and it goes something like this:
If it’s not making your life easier or it’s not providing a real benefit, you should just drop it.
With that in mind, here is my list of things you can do to simplify your social media activity and concentrate in your objectives:
You do NOT need to be on every single social network available
If you think you have a better reach by being everywhere you are wrong, I can assure you that you get most of the action in just a couple of networks and the rest are just a waste of time. If you are tracking your website traffic, go take a good look and decide what networks to drop. It’s different for everybody, if you own a skateshop is probably smart to keep using MySpace…
Control the time you spend
If social media is a way of marketing for you, it’s important to spend some time everyday, make it part of your day and schedule a time to do it. It’s very easy to get distracted by shiny objects when you have Facebook open all day (What was I saying…?).
Stop the email madness
Don’t let social networks control your email inbox, they all want to send you news and emails every time someone in your network does something. Think about this: Why do you need a message in one inbox to let you know that you just got a message on the other inbox? See the picture on the left? That means you not only have 33 messages on Facebook, but you probably also have 33 emails in your inbox…
Did you know that all these websites let you set what kind of communications you want to receive from them? On Facebook you can go to Settings > Notifications and you have a menu to choose from, if you want to get an email every time someones “Pokes” you, then set it up…
Get rid of the Auto-Response junk
Services like Twitter offer the option to setup an Auto-Responder to thank whoever is following you (if you think I’m about to recommend one of those you are wrong…), the problem is that you end up getting all those automated responses saying “I appreciate you following me, I’m looking forward to your Tweets…” in your email. As I said last week in my post “Best How To Use Twitter Resources For The Overwhelmed Beginner“, you should take the time to do it and I’ll take the time to read it… since everybody does it, I turned off my email notifications.
Dump your favorite blogs in a RSS Reader
Instead of keeping all the blogs you love and frequently read on your bookmark toolbar or waste time visiting each one of them to see if they posted a good article, subscribe to all of them through a RSS Reader. I use Google Reader but there are plenty of others. Also to consider, bloggers work very hard and if you follow one, you should consider spreading the love when you like an article.
These days I’m taking it a little further. I moved all my email, calendar and documents to Google Apps, got rid of email signatures, dropped the activity on a few networks, I don’t use a phone except for my iPhone, don’t print and don’t even remember the last time I faxed… I still play with new Apps but I don’t marry them, they need to really kick ass for me to implement them into my life.
So the message is to simplify, don’t get overwhelmed with social media, take the time to set it up so it’s convenient for you. I’ll leave you with a great quote from @shitmydadsays that I think a few of us can take as an example and relax a bit…
Now you can share your thoughts… If you have time.