in Digital & Social

Social Media Time Management

(how to regain my sanity)

I have a problem. I love marketing and I love social media, and I am very excited about the rapid change and innovation that is occurring as marketers join consumers in conversation about their products, services, brands and companies.

Every day, through my multiple online profiles, I am connecting with new people – some very bright minds – and I am learning new things.

However, as the number of people I am connected with increases, and as I discover new tools to try, widgets to download, and articles to read, I find myself to be increasingly starved for time. Time to invest back into the social media communities I participate in, hopefully providing value to others, and time spent in the offline world (is there such a thing anymore?). Time also, to focus on writing for this blog – although admittedly I was quite distracted by the Winter Olympics in February.

Here are some tactics I intend to try, to better manage my time spent on social media.

1. Focus on quality, not quantity of connections

Dunbar’s number is a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of social relationships one can maintain.  There is no precise value, but many people approximate it to be 150. I imagine most people in social media are well beyond that, and I am quite certain that I am.

I have a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and I am fortunate to have met many of the people I have connected with. However, I don’t feel I have devoted enough time towards truly nurturing and growing my relationships, and I believe that many have the potential to flourish – online and offline. Moving forward, I intend to focus more on building the relationships that I already have. How? By interacting, joining conversations, and helping others when possible. For example, on Twitter I now have a separate list for friends and I will make every effort to focus on it.

2. Become selective with social media communities and tools

Being active in social media and staying on top of the game doesn’t mean that one needs to use all available tools, or participate in an inordinate number of communities. I used to run a social group using ning, however I found that it was too much for me to handle so I abandoned it – the value generated didn’t warrant the effort required. I also had an account on Delicious to share articles that I enjoyed reading, but again I didn’t find it worthwhile to maintain. Instead, I now send out a couple of tweets a day with links to articles I believe others might find to be of interest. Where possible, I also aggregate my status updates, using Twitter to feed into Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites.

4. Spend more time, less often

Truly becoming involved with social media, and understanding the changes and impact on marketing, requires both time and effort. It’s cliché, but one gets out what one puts in. That said, personally I have found that I am signing into social media platforms too frequently, in intervals that are too short – checking Twitter to review the feed, or commenting on a friend’s updated status on Facebook. It’s very tempting to stay connected and find out the latest news. However, I have found my habits to be disruptive to other tasks I’m working on.

As such, I intend to sign in a little less often, but spend more time online when I do sign in.  I am going to take the time to read blog posts, craft replies and hopefully write my own. With regards to Twitter, I have set up lists that make it easier for me to catch up on the latest news. I will also be make more use of timed tweets, to help build my own personal online presence.

These are just a few of my planned social media time management tactics. Do you use any that you have found to be successful?  Please feel free to share!

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  • Liam

    Great post Eric! I too find it a challenge to tune out for quality private time but I suspect much of that is pressure I place on myself.

    In terms of social media management, I’ve taken to what I call “digital detox weekends”. Ideally, get offline & stay offline Saturday and Sunday. It doesn’t always work out that way admittedly, but for the most part it has for yours truly and I find it’s a big stress reliever.

    And I agree it’s necessary to be selective with which social tools & communities one uses, not only from a time management perspective, but also from a personal privacy one.

  • Jrxrkidd

    Well social media does connect you to the world like no other way technology has evolved that way. It can be enjoyable time chatting with new folks learning new things and it can aslo be a hassle arguing or fighting with another from the other side. Social media can also be expesnive depending on what device you use data plans on cell phone companies. In a way social media has brought the world together for good and for bad and can aslo be costly to use. 

  • Eric Buchegger

    Thanks for commenting! Yes, people do need to be wary of their data usage – unfortunately, for the most part, rates in Canada aren’t very competitive.

  • Joeline Cross

    Hi Eric! Good article! Thanks for sharing. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Google+. I am loving the new decision that has to be made each time *before* posting content: “who would be interested in this?”. It is making people content curators rather than oversharing broadcasters. I’m enjoying the circles feature very much, particularly as someone who does business in multiple countries on multiple projects I’ve found that LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter & Gmail have not helped me organize these relationship groups. But I’m concerned about the data Google is aggregating on me, and secondly of how it is being monetized voluntarily (will I have to pay / can I pay to not have my info sold to others?) and involuntarily (receiving invitations for games or deals that I’m not interested in). Finally, directly related to your blog post, should I be uploading my travel pics now to facebook, flickr or picasa to share with networks on facebook, google+ and family who never made it past email…? It’s definitely an ongoing (and transitional) challenge. Where is the space for brands in the new Google+? Should we be advising clients to get on board before the organic communities have even gained traction?

  • Eric Buchegger

    Joeline, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I do like being able to segregate my updates using Google+ Circles. Admittedly though, right now I am torn between spending time on Facebook and Google+. This weekend, for example, I’ve checked Facebook a few times and Google+ only once. Regarding data, I haven’t heard anything about Google selling it to other parties. Have you heard that this is happening? As for brands, there are rumors that Google has expedited the launch of their “counter” to Facebook Pages – some bloggers are reporting the launch could happen in a few weeks.