Avoiding social media overload

With the advent of Google+ and one more social media site to join, people have begun asking when is enough enough? When do we reach the point of oversaturation? And who the heck has time to be on all these social media platforms and still live a normal healthy productive life that involves real person-to-person interaction?

It’s no secret that I am a huge social media fan. My friends make fun of the fact that I use my Droid more as a social media device than as a telephone. I’ve had Facebook since it arrived at my university soon after it was invented; now I have a blog page and an author’s page too. I opened a Twitter account when I started freelancing full time 3 years ago and have since opened two more accounts. I have a professional LinkedIn account. And now I have personal and fashion-related Google+ accounts. I answer questions via FormSpring and check in my location on FourSquare. Oh, and let’s not talk about the accounts I manage for freelance projects. (I never had a MySpace account – shocking, I know.)

To a new social media adopter the thought of opening a Facebook and LinkedIn profile is overwhelming. To those a little more versed the task is not as daunting but it is still time consuming. I can honestly say that if this wasn’t my profession there is no way I would be able to maintain all of this and still stay sane.


So how do we tackle all the social media outlets in front of us? Some thoughts from the trenches:

  • Streamline. There are programs that will automatically update some of your social media accounts. For instance, HootSuite will allow you to manage up to 5 social media accounts through one interface. That makes shuffling multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts simple.
  • Become an expert at one social media outlet. It’s no good to have a cursory knowledge of every site and yet not know how to use any one specifically. Pick one that is most beneficial to your purpose and get to know all the ins and outs.
  • Keep your passwords/usernames consistent. Unless you have an amazing memory or create a password document it will be impossible to remember every little thing. Plus, maintaining one user name across the different mediums will make it easier for people to identify you.
  • Open accounts. Even if you think you might use the site in the future, some experts suggest opening an account with your typical username and password in order to secure it for future use. Most of these sites are free and it takes little time to register. No need to use it until you are ready.
  • Do your research. There are countless blogs and articles out there on the best practices for all the different social media sites. Instead of stabbing around in the dark, read up on the site and its functionality.
  • Set time limits. I highly recommend logging in to do your social media stint when you have a clear stopping point. It might be time to pick up your daughter from soccer practice or a conference call. Give yourself a set time, do what you can and then log off and step away.
  • It’s all about communication. I’ve found with all these social media outlets the most successful people are the ones that see it as a form of two-way communication. If you just plan to shoot out messages you will not be as effective. There needs to be a back and forth.



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