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How To Simplify Your Social Media Life

Originally posted: January 10, 2010 on TrishMcFarlane.com

So, you’re reading this blog.

That likely means that you are embracing social media to some degree because many people still do not turn to blogs for information, nor do they know how to find them.  The one thing I keep hearing is that as we become more connected with reading blogs, connecting on FaceBook, networking on LinkedIn, and building relationships on Twitter, people are overwhelmed.

I’m constantly asked how I find the time to blog and use social media.  My answer is simple, I schedule time and I use some simple tools to help organize my online experience.  I also make choices about which platforms I use daily vs. those I only check on occasion.  I read a great post by fellow blogger Naomi Bloom where she lays out her own personal social technology policy for 2010.  I recommend checking it out because it makes sense that we would each need to do this in order to maintain sanity.  So, here are some tools I use to make it all work easier.  Some of you will be very familiar with them already, but I know a majority of people do not use them yet.

1. Blogging– I read a LOT of blogs.  The only way I can do this is to use Google Reader.  Google Reader allows you to aggregate all the blogs and other news sources you like into one place.  Then, anytime a blog or news outlet posts, it updates in your reader.  I’ve found that by checking my reader in the morning, then around lunchtime, I can stay on top of many trends in my industry as well as the current news.  It’s also a great way to search for information in the publications I trust.  My advice is to click here on Google Reader and set one up.  Then, subscribe to my blog and those on my blogroll.  We use easy “subscribe” buttons so you can put us in your reader.

2.  Choose a daily social media outlet- I love to use Twitter daily because that is the way I get additional HR information I may miss in my reader.  It also let’s me speak directly to the HR and recruiting pros on a regular basis so I can develop closer relationships with them.  They share their knowledge and make me a better HR professional.  The way to manage this is to use a tool like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.  Once you use Twitter, you quickly realize there are certain people you would like to follow more closely than all the thousands of people you may actually be “following”.  By using Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, you can create specific lists of those people you find most relevant and have a separate column of only those people’s tweets.  It’s a great tool.  You can also have key word searches for all the things that are important to you.

3.  You can’t do it all every day– Realize this and you’re golden.  I can’t possibly use all social media sites, it would be impossible.  So, FaceBook and LinkedIn are sites I check on a weekly basis.  Depending on your situation, you may choose one of these sites as your daily and Twitter as something you check only occasionally.  The point is that you cannot do it all, so don’t try.

So, that’s my advice for any reader who is new to all of this.  If you have any strategies to share, add them in the comments.

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