social-networking Sometimes it’s hard to find the balance in things.  Social media networking is one of these.  It takes an enormous amount of effort and time to participate in the social fields, and this can conflict with our primary responsibility of our day jobs.  You know, the one we get paid for? 😉

It’s hard, especially when you start to become part of the community.  As you get to know the people you’re networking with, and as you have those “aha!” moments that redefine the value of a given social networking tool, it becomes more important to participate.  But what of work?  How do you stay connected with your online friends when you have limited or monitored access?

Or forget about access to your online social resources, how about the workload that you have?  What about priorities?  These may sound like ridiculous questions to some, but for those trying to forge a new career and life goals from social media, it is paramount.

I have no profound wisdom, and fewer hard-won examples to go with this question.  I’ve only a few ideas that I’m working on in order to find my own way through this difficult portion of social media.  Here are some of the ideas, tools, and techniques I’m trying, in order to help me GTD and still network.

  1. “Twitter Scope: down” Many fellow Twitters will recognize that one.  Simply logging off the social tools we use is the best start.  Schedule a time during the day to log in and check/update status.
  2. Reduce the number of sites/tools  Another tip would be to reduce the number of social networking or social media sites that you visit or try to keep up with.
  3. Groom that RSS reader  Seriously pare down the number of feeds you read.  How many tech feeds do you have?  How many times do you see the same post in each? ‘Nuf said.  Find the bloggers and sites that simply adhere to your ideas, themes, beliefs, etc… and follow those.  News is everywhere and easy to find.  Intelligent posts that are relevant to you are not.  For those Google Reader users out there, check out the Trends feature and use it to identify abandoned or otherwise seldom-updated feeds.
  4. GTD  Find the organization tool that works for you.  For many it’s the Seven Habits, or GTD that work wonders.  For others, it’s a simple Moleskine, notebook, or other simple list.  Maybe leadership training, or project management skills help drill in the needed organization lessons.  Whatever it is, give it a try and stick with what works.
  5. Schedule Social Time  Here is another simple but effective  technique.  Just like having a girls or boys night out – schedule your social networking time to fit your day.  Breaks, lunch, before/after work.  All these are simple to do, and your social network will adapt to your participation.
  6. Integrate  If your employer or job permits, maybe you simply integrate your social networking with your job.  Got your favorite email & IM client open all day?  Why not have a good Twitter Client open all day as well?  Leave yourself logged into Facebook for all the special interest groups.  Use some time during the day and answer questions on LinkedIn.  Keep it business focused, not “Saturday night” focused.

Obviously number 6 is for folks who work in an industry that has direct tie-ins to social networking or media in some way.  There may also be some environments that simply don’t care what you do as long as you get the tasks you are responsible for done as expected.  Kudos to those who do.

Now, I really want to learn more, because I’ve only mentioned the really obvious ones.  What tips do you have?  What other techniques and tools are there to help manage being an active social participant and not getting in trouble?

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