Social media: the straw that will break the multi-tasker's back?

Every day, I do my social media “drive-thru's,” checking in with Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook. And then I read my emails – hundreds a day – and dig into the long list of projects that need my attention, all of which are vitally drivethru.jpgimportant to running a business, none less critical than the others. I address business issues that come up on an hourly basis, while sneaking in a few parental tasks like emailing teachers about my child's absence, and finding help interpreting Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

I proudly consider myself a “professional multi-tasker.” I even talked about it with Cindy Krisher Goodman, as part of a discussion on work life balance.

But social media. This might be what breaks me.

On Linkedin this morning, I saw Todd Herschberg gathering input for a panel discussion he will be monitoring: “What social media questions would you like answered?” (Todd is a LinkedIn master, with 27,250+ connections. He is the 36th most connected person on LinkedIn.)

“When?” That’s it. That is my question for Todd's panel.

I want to be connected. I’m aiming for 500+ connections on Linkedin. I aspire to thousands and thousands of Twitter followers. I would love our Facebook Fan page to strain with 50,000 fans (or likers, I guess they are now called).

So I try. But in all honesty, I am mainly doing “most” social media because I feel that I can’t be left behind. I would be horrified to be termed “old school” and certainly don’t want to miss business opportunities. And I do believe that business opportunities are there.

The problem is that I am a business/financially minded bottom-line kind of gal. I have yet to see social media contribute to our bottom line. Rather, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s becoming a distraction from making our company profitable. It takes a lot of time to answer tweets, stay connected and not be tardy in my social responses. I am trying to find a social media balance, to set priorities: I think Linkedin is far more important than Twitter, from a dollar-and-cents point of view.

So at times, this professional multi-tasker's response is, "Enough already." Tempting though it is, my life is too complicated to sit with my iPhone, tweeting, for hours at a time or Facebook all evening.

If a call from my kids about homework and afterschool activities is a necessary but attention-diverting intrusion, what is responding with the appropriate @ to a deluge of tweets?

I’ll keep up with my “drive- thru’s,” and certainly won’t abandon the effort. If I figure out the “when,” I’ll let you know. Any ideas?

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When, Leslie?

I find that by using a few simple tricks, most people can manage their social media in about 10-15 minutes per day:

1 - Integrate LinkedIn with Twitter:
Updating your "Network Activity" on LinkedIn will then update your Twitter account as well

2 - Form letters:
I average about 100 emails/day from LinkedIn connections (which go to a seperate email account). About 80% of these are "help me find a job", "help me find funding", or "please review my website/social media strategy, but I can't/won't pay". These get a form letter (I do spend a few minutes personalizing them). The other 20% are business deals, client leads, speaking engagement offers, etc. These get personal attention.

3 - Robust filters:
Remember that Facebook users vary; some use it for business others for fun. I have set up friend lists for multiple categories, allowing me to simply switch views with a single click... I want to see what my neice has been doing? Switch to the "Family" view. Wondering what's been going on in Orange County? Silicon Valley? New York? Philly? Again, a single click filters my view.

The average person, however, should be able to use the above tips to streamline a few things.

For the record (if you don't mind my slipping in a bit of shameless self-promotion), one of my more popular speaking/workshop/seminar topics is "Social Media in 10 Minutes per Day". If you'd like to book me to speak at your conference or to your organization, feel free to reach out: bookings@quantimark.com

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