Grumblings about social networking overload have been growing among colleagues of mine. We’re spreading ourselves too thin between LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other online forums. We’re sometimes overwhelmed by the never-ending commitment to connect, update, and engage.
The more social networking commitments we have, the harder it is to balance them all and leverage each one well. And the more difficult it becomes to take a break and disconnect completely for a day or two or more. Some feel obligated to stay connected 7 days a week, and even during vacations.
I spend a fair amount of time on LinkedIn – making new connections, updating regularly, starting and contributing to conversations through LinkedIn Groups, etc.
And I’ve fully embraced and love Twitter. I like the precision, short-form communications, similar to the kind of writing required for tight resumes. I find that Twitter is the perfect complement to my blogging routine.
Like many of my careers industry friends, I’ve drawn the line at Facebook. I can’t take on another commitment and do it well. I do have a Facebook account, and will friend business associates, but that’s about it. I don’t have time or the inclination to keep up with conversations or promote my business there.
As far as my personal network, I prefer to communicate directly with family and friends by phone and email. Remember voice communications?
I don’t at all underestimate the business value of Facebook. But with my busy schedule — working with my clients, blogging three times a week on my two blogsites, frequently guest blogging elsewhere, and keeping up with various marketing activities — I can’t handle more than LinkedIn and Twitter.
For the past several months, I’ve been able to keep my promise to myself to disconnect completely most of the day on Saturdays and all day Sundays. This means lots of catch-up on Monday mornings – social networking and social media upkeep, AND an over-stuffed email inbox. But the break is worth it.
In her Mashable article, HOW TO: Deal With Social Networking Overload, Alexandra Levit has the answer to burnout:
“Figuring why you’re joining social networks and how best to use them is the first step in coping with social networking overload.”
Here’s her 4-step plan to keep up with social media and get over overload. Read her article for the details:
1. Ask yourself why you joined each site.
2. Consider your purpose and the value derived from each site.
3. Create boundaries.
4. Communicate your social networking plan to your network(s).