Do you think you can manage your social media each day in just 18 minutes?
Back in July, after The Wayward Journey went dark for about a month due to what I described as “social media malaise,” I got back into the game with a post called “I’m back…” In that post, I described some lessons learned from taking a refreshing pause from blogging. I returned to The Wayward Journey renewed, rejuvenated…and rarin’ to go.
And yet, I continued to have this nagging feeling that I wasn’t being as efficient at social media as I could be. That I wasn’t managing my time well. That there had to be “a better way,” a secret formula for successful social media discourse that didn’t drain valuable minutes and hours from each day.
Time management seems to be a perennial topic on social media sites, although much of what I’ve seen is directed towards those folks whose job is to mange social media for their organization. I’m more interested in the personal time people devote to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the other major online social haunts.
My guess is that we spend way too much time (i.e., obsessive amounts of time) or, in some cases, too little time to be effective.
So here are a few suggestions:
- Push the pause button from time to time. You don’t have to be “on” every minute of the day. Turn off the notifications. Decide which hours of the day you will devote to social media and which are for work and family. Take a day off, or a week off. You need to unplug every once in a while and take a break.
- Limit your engagement. Pick a platform. You do not have to engage in every form of social media that exists. Find the medium that best fits your purpose and personality and stick to that one, whether it’s Facebook, blogging or Twitter.
- Set a schedule. Some experts suggest devoting a set amount of time each day or week for social media. I like Lisa Buyer’s modification of Bregman’s 18-minute formula. Essentially it’s this: plan your priorities in the morning before you start working. Check them every hour to see if you’re on track. Then, at the end of the day, assess your progress. Good advice!
- Focus on what you want to accomplish. Stay “conscious.” That is, don’t get distracted, and don’t become a passive reader of social media. Take action! Comment on someone’s blog. Like someone’s Facebook post. Do it while you’re there, not later. Set goals for your social media presence, and then take action steps to accomplish them. Do you want to be known as an expert on green technology? Then post on green technology and make yourself known on green sites.
- Create meaningful interactive communities. The purpose of social media is to be social! It’s far better to have fewer followers who actually care about you than to rack up hundreds (or thousands) of fake followers. Many social media users seem to think the person with most friends or followers wins. That shouldn’t be your goal!
Oh, and one more thing: Have fun! If it becomes drudgery, turn it off.