Archive | October, 2009

Social Media Time Management

26 Oct

514845946_7922cff51aWhat’s that sucking sound? It’s the sands of time, the ticking clock and and my unfinished to-do list — all being eaten whole by Facebook, Twitter and my blog. I have succumbed to the time-sink of social media, and I’m all too keenly aware of my addiction. How do people draw the line between true engagement and online time-wasting?

It’s a difficult habit to kick when it partially drives the economic engine of my professional livelihood. Working in public relations, I feed the beasts of my own personal social media presence as well as my agency’s and certain clients.

I was recently asked a question about this on a panel. The question was: How do you find the time to “do” social media for yourself and clients? Doesn’t it take up all of your time?

The answer? It can if you let it. The best way to carve out the time is to set limits on how much time to devote to each social media footprint. The worst thing for me is to leave my time wide open. When I do that, I get caught up in “the zone,” or my “flow” space, where I lose all track of time. This is fairly self-indulgent for me—although it feels good in the moment, I can’t usually afford to let my time evaporate. I’ve got a family to get home to, client deadlines to meet and other normal life to-dos.

I try to spend 30 minutes on each Twitter account per day, 15 each in the morning and the afternoon or evening. With the blog, it’s a couple of hours a week. Just one post a week, usually. And then I’m reading others’ blogs through my reader, usually an hour a day.

Then there’s Facebook. How much sharing is enough, really? I try to limit myself to sharing just a few items per day of others’ content, with a couple of status updates and/or content of my own. This one is my real weakness, because I pore through information obsessively and tend to think that everyone should also ready the cool stuff I’ve come upon. This is where I have to reign myself in and exercise some judgment about not oversharing.

There are people I’ve friended that I filter out of my feed because they are constantly putting up stuff from third-party sources. To me, that’s as bad as someone telling me the minute details of their life second by second. Get original. Have your own thoughts and insights.

It does add up, all told. At least 10 hours a week for myself, probably another 15 or so for work-related items. When examined like this, the opportunity cost of social media becomes more stark. What real-life experiences am I missing due to social media interactions? How much outside time am I sacrificing?

What are others’ experiences? Amber Naslund, Director of Community at Radian6,  just put up a good post about time management in the midst of social media. Bottom line, it’s about knowing one’s goals and setting priorities aligned with them. She shares helpful information to guide social media priorities.

For me, it’s all about the balance. Easy to write about, not easy to strike!

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Corporate Twitterer: Mascot, Spokesperson, Teacher

14 Oct

stringphonehj1For several months now, I have been the woman behind the curtain of my company’s Twitter presence. Every day, I put up several tweets, and since we began tweeting we’ve organically built a base of 1,000 followers. That’s several million less than Ashton Kutcher, for the record. But our enterprise is more about quality than quantity, so we’re in no hurry to get there.

Being the designated twitterer has been illuminating. There are several keys:

  • Tweets demonstrate the company’s values and culture, adding content of value to the conversation.
  • Retweets are within industry and share helpful information to broaden the minds of our followers.
  • Mentions call out other respected thought leaders within the industry.

In short, serving this role has me behaving somewhat like a combination of mascot, company spokesperson and teacher. Mascot, because I am “in costume,” behind the walls of Twitter, not posting my own individual thoughts but engaging as the Twitteresque embodiment of our company’s unique combination of offerings. Spokesperson, because I am serving up the company’s thoughts and opinion. And teacher, because I am providing a curriculum of sorts for our followers, through which they engage back with the company to provide shared content.

We’ve stayed away from prescheduled, automated tweeting, believing instead in the power of real-time, I’m really here interaction. Our belief is that our authenticity and credibility are built on our actual presence in the space, to build our reputation and engage with our customers.

Next time you visit your favorite brand on Twitter, say hello to the Twitterer behind the curtain. You might be surprised by the conversation.

Obama’s Peace….Both Sides Now?

11 Oct

I’ve been curiously listening, watching and reading news coverage and general opinion about Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. Put me in the “conflicted” camp about whether or not he deserves it—at this point in time. For those who know me, this will be no surprise. I am a ferocious moderate, mainly because I always want to have clear proof before I’m won over to either side. This is an interesting case study for proof, or lack thereof.

On one hand, I admire Obama’s perspective of hope, international cooperation and thoughtful decision-making on tough topics. I don’t agree with those who claim his only skill is oration. I do believe that we deserve a president who is intellectual AND action-oriented. We can both be inspired AND see the fruits of our efforts. I see both qualities in his approach, and I’m willing to give him the time to prove his mettle. When it comes to fixing national problems, instant gratification is not possible. Sorry, far right.

On the other hand, I do think it’s fair to question whether or not mere potential qualifies someone for the award. Just as it’s unrealistic, naive and obviously partisan to criticize President Obama for not getting us out of Iran, Guantanamo Bay, the recession and staggering national debt, it is premature to award him a prize for results not yet achieved. Have we truly moved the needle in terms of the world’s opinion of the U.S.? Too soon to tell. Sorry, far left.

Some have vehemently reacted to the announcement, both ways. The right is vilifying Obama as if he awarded himself the Nobel Peace Prize. I suspect that he was as surprised as everyone else was about the news. The left is responding to neo-con pundits with incredulity, insisting that the right-wing spin-meisters are not paying attention. The left-wing contingency would do well to wipe the stars from their eyes and keep Obama focused on outcomes.

Instead of criticizing Obama for not having done enough, speak up about what he should do. Get off your high-horse and point the way forward. Rather than being blinded by the light, the far left should keep clear outcomes in mind, and hold Obama to meeting them. To the extremes on both sides, who’ve come out in full force to dominate the news coverage on this topic, there’s still much to be learned. Don’t look back to decisions made under previous administrations, Republican or Democrat, and either blame or credit Obama for the problems or the accomplishments. Again, look forward, with solutions in mind, before judging or believing before it’s time.

I don’t believe that true change will happen right away, and I haven’t seen any evidence to prove otherwise. Frankly, it took us eight years to bring down our international reputation. Cowboy politics don’t play well in the global sphere, and we are now paying the price of rebuilding our country’s reputation. Both Republicans and Democrats in D.C. have roles to play for the sake of change. Don’t dig in your heels and prevent it—and don’t just assume that saying it will happen is sure to make it so.