Social media sites are awesome tools. Unfortunately, they can also be major time-wasters. Yes, some people would benefit from simply un-plugging from their Facebook and Twitter accounts for a few days. But it is not necessary to drop out of the online social scene altogether if you are willing to do a little bit of organizing. Social media users can take a few simple steps to streamline their time online without missing any of the relevant information and (of course) the fun of participating in social media.
Here is how to organize your online socializing so that you can still participate without being distracted from your other daily tasks.
With all the organizational tools out there that are built specifically to streamline social media participation, there is really no excuse for not doing so. If you participate in more than one social site (who doesn’t ) or if you are very active on Twitter and/or Facebook, then a third party program can really be a time-saver. Popular programs like TweetDeck, Hootesuite, and Crowdbooster can help you manage your participation on major social sites. With these third party tools, you can organize your Twitter streams according to priority and also schedule updates and tweets for the future. These programs also work with Facebook updates and notifications, so you can be plugged into all your social sites and see all your updates and information in one place.
Another approach, used by itself or in conjunction with a social media management strategies, is to categorize your social sites by what they are used for. What is your goal for using Facebook, Twitter, Tagged, Flickr, etc? If a site is used to socialize and connect with old friends (as Facebook is for most people), then how much time do you need to do this every day? Most people can do everything that they need to do on Facebook in a few minutes. The same with Twitter. You can read tweets from the people that you are following in a few minutes each day. If you have some streams that you think are more important, you can use a third party app to assign them priority. This means that you will be getting relevant tweets in real time (on your phone or tablet), but won’t have to deal with other, less time-sensitive tweets until later. Some people use social media to network for work or to promote their business or build their brand. It is best to have a separate account for these types of tasks. Logging on to check your business or professional pages is a great excuse for also checking on the latest updates from friends. If, however, you are able to keep it 100% professional, then you wont even be tempted to waste time.
Sometimes, it is OK to be ruthless. No, you don’t want to un-friend your grandma so you can escape her Facebook updates. You can keep a separate account for family if you want. If you get too many inane tweets or Facebook updates from someone, it is not bad form to simply unfollow them. The less superfluous information that you have to wade through, the more time you will save. Approach social media like the tool that it is, and get rid of the superfluous information that makes it a less effective tool.
Still struggling to limit your social media time? Why not limit it by giving yourself a scheduled amount of time each day for Facebooking and tweeting. When your time is up, you log off and wait until tomorrow to visit the social media world again.