I spent most of my social time last week adding people to my groups little by little. I punched the Like Button a lot and commented on several posts, but I didn't do too well on making original wall comments or tweets. I also joined Google+ - thanks to Clarissa for the invitation :)
Since all this jabbering about and eavesdropping is brand new to me, I know I'm spending more time there in these first few weeks than I ever plan to spend again. I know this because if I continue to spend so much time there I've defeated my purpose. I would then have no time remaining to write. And I get cranky if I go for a while without writing.
Even with all that, my Goodreads page is in sad, sad shape. One day I will tend to it. Sadly, that day will probably be when I'm totally embarrassed by its condition. I've thought about all this more than a bit because all of us have a finite amount of time in each day.
Although I don't yet have any sort of answer that works for me, I do have methods I'm going to try. And I'm going to share them with you. If you have something that works for you, please share with the rest of us.
Set a Timer
This method works well for me in other areas, so it's my go-to for any time crunch. I check in at the Tiki Hut early. Then mid-morning, after lunch, late afternoon, and evening. Depending on my schedule I may check here more or less often, but those times are pretty standard. I spend 30 minutes to an hour early reading your blogs. I rarely get to all of them in that time frame. I spend about 15 minutes on subsequent check-ins throughout the day. I read your blogs then. And on the following day. I try not to read in the same order all the time. If I add 15 minutes morning and evening to this schedule, that gives me time to check-in, comment, and say something on each social media outlet twice a day. I hope. This will be the best option because it will be the least intrusive on the rest of my day and still allow me to maintain contact with everyone. This is the method I will try first.
One Media at a Time
If the timer method doesn't work, I will visit each site one at a time once a day. But I will set a timer here, too. No more than 15 minutes for each site visit. This will take an hour of time as opposed to the 30 minutes above. It may be that I will need to do things this way for a while before cutting back to twice a day visits. I hope not. If neither of these work, then I have to rethink.
From time to time, I'm sure there will be conversations I want to follow. But I can't let them take over my day. I think if I have a plan in place, I'll know where I need to be and not be as prone to get too caught up in something.
I may be all wet. It may be that nothing will work. But I have to try.
I don't know if I will start this week or next. I had some social media goals when I began, and I'd like to reach them before letting things build the rest of the way organically. I will probably focus on achieving those goals before I cut back. I hope most of them are met this week. They're not huge goals, but to me they will put my pages and profiles and circles and followings and friends in more respectable positions. And that will make me feel better about myself and about being more active.
The Top Things I Need to Remember
Prioritize - Put first things first. For me that's family and writing. Everything comes second after that - blogging, email, and social media included. This is the basis behind using a timer and staying firm.
Read - It's what I tend to drop first when I run out of time. And I hate that. I love to get lost in a great book.
Unplug - It's important. It doesn't have to be for a long time. Even a few hours once a week can work wonders.
So how about you? Do you manage your social media time? Or does it manage you?
Share your secrets. We won't tell.