November 25, 2008

Sending Out an SOS

Help! Woman drowning!

That's increasingly my reaction as I consider the Herculean task that social networking presents to time-strapped people. It started with this blog. Then LinkedIn and a little Twitter action. Now I'm told I've got to invest in both Facebook and FriendFeed, not to mention several social bookmarking sites.

In a recent post, Chris Brogan laid out a personal social media strategy. It's filled with great tips, however, I need something more: clear guidance on how to engage with social media while still holding down a job, spending face-to-face time with family and friends, and taking care of the mundane chores of life.

If you've got some useful advice, I'd love to hear it. Just toss that life preserver in my direction soon, please.

8 comments:

James Mullan said...

Mary, I've just finished reading Chris's post and your SOS call. Chris's post has some useful advice and it's interesting that my route into Social Media is pretty much the one he outlines. I started with a blog first, then someone told me about Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

One thing I learnt early on was to focus your attention on the tools you're actually going to use. So I played with MySpace and then forgot about it and I did the same with Stumbleupon, Pageflakes and a plethora of other Social Media tools that appeared on my radar and then disappeared.

So identifying a tool or set of tools that you feel you will be able to dedicate a significant amount of time to, is easy to use and that other people are using is one piece of advice.

The other is this...the important thing to remember about Social Networking tool/Social Media is that it is all about being...well social, so you need to be "lively" so that might mean updating your status regularly, writing on peoples walls, posting photos, adding updates to Twitter etc etc as long as you keep at it. Having said that some Social Media sites require more interaction than others Twitter and Facebook are very dynamic wheras LinkedIn you could argue is quite static, unless that is you're a big user of LinkedIn answers.

So having a prescence on some of these sites but not updating them that regularly isn't that big a deal.

Daniel J. Pritchett said...

1) Tame your inbox - filter "you've got a new friend on this network" notices out of your inbox. Try not to check them more than once a day. Merlin Mann's Inbox Zero series is good for this.

2) Take control of your social networks. The good ones are flexible enough that you can spend 18 hours a day on one network if you really want to invest the time. As a professional you don't have that time, so learn to control the flow of the high-value networks you choose to participate in. My favorite is FriendFeed. Here's my presentation on getting more out of FriendFeed without losing control of the firehose of information.

Mary Abraham said...

James -

Thanks for your advice. I wonder occasionally how much time I need to invest in any one tool before I can declare it an exercise in futility and move on. I'm still working on that issue.

You're right about being "social." The catch is that being social via some of these tools is way too much fun and tends to take a lot of time. As a result, it demands a great deal of personal discipline!

- Mary

Mary Abraham said...

Daniel -

Thanks for the tip about Merlin Mann's series. He offers a lot of good advice.

You've made a good argument for FriendFeed. I'll definitely check it out (as soon as I get a free moment). Thanks!

- Mary

Samuel Driessen said...

I try to apply the 'Getting things done' method to all things in my life, also to social media. So, I try to fix time to check my feeds, tweats, etc. I've set up a Friendfeed account and it works great. But I still bounce between my tools, while I understand I could to 'everything' from Friendfeed... So, I've been reading up on FF. Here's some advice: http://thenextweb.com/2008/11/20/the-unofficial-guide-to-friendfeed-part-2-getting-started/
I mainly focus on my feeds and tweats. I check up on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc every so often.

Mary Abraham said...

Samuel -

Thanks for the good advice. Clearly FriendFeed is something I've got to spend a little time with. Speaking of time, how do you make time to blog and comment?

- Mary

Chris Brogan said...

In Do You Have to Touch Every Conversation, I talk about how being involved in all the tools isn't that great an idea, either. The question is simply this: which tools do you perceive have the most value to your business communications needs? Stick with those. For instance, I'm not a very big Facebook guy. I use it, but I'm not really participating. I don't answer wall comments, etc. Why? Because I don't get business there.

Twitter? Business all the time.

So, I pick where I might find the most value.

Best of luck. Thanks for stopping by. : )

Mary Abraham said...

Chris -

Thanks for sharing your rule of thumb. It is wonderfully clear. And, I'm jealous.

The catch for folks like me who don't derive business from social media (yet) is that we're going to have to measure payback for social media use in terms of something less concrete that business won. Psychic reward? Relationships improved? Perceived influence?

You're right about focusing on value. Now I have to spend a little time thinking about what constitutes "value" for me.

- Mary