Ever since its launch in June, I have been trying to get my head around Google+.
It’s not so much the features and benefits but how to fit Google+ into an already crowded and time-consuming social landscape.
It’s difficult enough keeping up with the tsunami of blog posts, comments, tweets, updates, linking and sharing without having yet another social media service vying for my attention.
It means I haven’t spend much time with Google+, although I have good intentions to embrace it or, at least, get a better appreciation of it. But with Facebook, Twitter, LinkIned, blogs and a bunch of content aggregation tools battling for attention, it has been challenging getting Google+ into the mix.
I’m pretty sure the challenges that I’m encountering are becoming more widespread as our use and consumption of social media increases.
According to a recent Nielsen study, social media now accounts for 22% of all time online. The big challenge is making sure that the growing consumption of social media doesn’t become overwhelming.
With that in mind, here are some tips to avoid being overloaded by social media:
1. Be sure to create distinct goals for using social media. It’s about being focused on what you want to get out of social media as opposed to simply using it. Without a plan of attack, there’s a high possibility of killing time with no productivity gains.
2. Be disciplined with your time. Be honest and pragmatic about how much time you can realistically invest in social media to achieve your goals or needs. This has to include your professional and personal activity.
3. Create a schedule for using social media…and then stick to it. Allocate slots during the time to use social media. It could be several 15-minute chunks thorough the day, or 30-minute slots in the morning, mid-day and after work. It might be helpful to look at social media as a reward for being focused for a certain period of time.
4. Pick your poison. Social media is a giant buffet, overflowing with lots of attractive options. And much like a buffet, it is hard not to overeat. To avoid over-consumption, you need to eat enough but not too much. It means picking social media services offering the best bang for the buck, rather than using every social media service on the assumption that more is better.
5. Adopt a one in/one out approach. It’s perfectly acceptable to explore a new service but you may want to consider embracing it only if there’s capacity within your social funnel, or getting ridding of something else that is no longer compelling, interesting or valuable. This helps to keep your social media portfolio manageable and do-able.
6. Use a multi-service management tools such as HootSuite, TweetDeck or Seesmic that make it easy to get a quick handle on a variety of social media services and, as important, let you post to different services at the same time.
How do you avoid social media overload. What approaches, techniques or tools do you employ?