Creating Balance in Social Networking

I counted. I have accounts with over 40 websites, most of which are social networks. Yet, I am currently really only active on 8 of them…and as I write this, even I think 8 is too many. Then, as I study what I do with each, well, 8 isn’t all that bad.

So, today, I aim to find balance. We all need balance online (and off, for that matter but that’s for another post). Ignoring social media and the endless possibilities associated with it is like ignoring the telegraph when it was first developed. Social media is a communication tool just like the telegraph was, telephone, snail mail, email, video conferencing, etc. You get my point.

The questions are:

  • how many networks do I need to be on?
  • why?
  • how often?

I think that’s the biggest issue- jump on the latest and greatest and figure out the rest later OR create a plan that makes the most sense for YOU that allows you to maintain a balanced online and offline life. So, I took a good long look at my 8 networks and came to the conclusion, I’m good with all 8 as long as I maintain my purpose for each.  Here, let me explain.

With Facebook, that is my primary contact for friends & family and SOME business associates (I have a few I’m connected to personally and I do administer a Fan Page about digital media too). When I sign on to Facebook my objective is to see how everyone is doing, offer a “like” or a comment or a Birthday message, and share something I think my friends & family would like to know about me, but that (hopefully) is inspiring too.

Lisa Sullivan on Twitter

With Twitter, my main goal for that platform is to connect with those that talk social media, the arts, football, coffee, wine, and that’s about it. I’ve picked the topics that are interesting to me and I’ve connected with people on that medium with the same interests. With Twitter I also aim to inspire too and try not to post anything negative. Negative Nelly’s are Debbie Downers after all.

With Linked In, that’s my professional connection tool. I mean, that is the purpose of the platform after all. I don’t use it as often as I should but I’m trying to rectify that.

With You Tube, I have my own channel. It originally started out as a log of videos I had done for my job with NBC 17 and it has turned into not only any video of personal interest from me, but I’ve also taken advantage of the categorizing feature by creating such categories as “Scotty (McCreery) Love” and “Fonville Morisey Uploads” (a log of videos I’ve produced for my new job with Fonville Morisey). I upload a video from time to time and just like with Linked In, I do aim to do more with it this year as well.

With Foursquare, my only goal there is to give props to the businesses, events, or conferences I support. I don’t “check-in” as often as I do “check-out” (I am a female and well, safety calls!). Even then, I feel as though I might cut back on this platform in 2012 simply because I really don’t use it that often. Still considering the options.

With this blog, it started out as random thoughts just as most blogging started out in the early 2000’s. I’ve since narrowed it down to random thoughts and social networking though I’ve expanded it in the last year to include a series (“What I Love About“). This year, I aim to write at least one post a week and do more “What I love…” posts.

Google+ is fairly new for me. While I joined the bandwagon in July when it was first released, I still hadn’t figured out what I wanted to use the platform for. However, what I do know is that I like it…a lot…and now that I have figured out my purpose (I aim to share only stories, updates, etc. that inspire my Circles.) I plan to integrating Plus more this year.

Finally, I’ve just joined the latest craze Pinterest. I didn’t get it at first but since someone else explained how they use it, I have since seen the light! I now know why it’s addicting. The idea of “pinning” your likes & interests in such a way that it categorizes them can be a valuable way to keep track of recipes you want to try, inspiration for home decor, books you want to read, places you want to visit. The list is endless!

Why have the reach you have by engaging online if you’re not providing something of value to your audience?

Now, the question is – how do I balance all of this? Darned if I know. The next week or so I’m working on a revision of my company’s strategy and I think it’s a good time to revisit my own personal one as well to make all this manageable. I’ll update y’all with what I come up with soon.

One last thing that I probably should stress, my ultimate goal  by being online in such capacities isn’t to boast my expertise or make new “friends” or “follow” the thousands. My ultimate goal no matter what I do on these platforms is to inspire.  Why have the reach you have by engaging online if you’re not providing something of value to your audience? That’s kind of a no-brainer, if you ask me. Value equals inspiration. At least it does in my book.

How do YOU manage your time online? Whether personally or professionally, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Perhaps you might inspire another blog post out of this topic.  Please leave a comment below.

In the meantime, back to strategizing. I’ll be in touch!

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Comments
6 Responses to “Creating Balance in Social Networking”
  1. Block time on my calendar, and take advantage of free time to do more.

    I manage my time very carefully. I schedule time to write, and I take advantage of 5-10 minute lulls in my schedule to read new articles and schedule them to go out to my various social media channels. These scheduled times allow me to be more serendipitous when I have a block of extra time available to connect more deeply with folks and to learn more about them.

    • Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Phil and I have to admit, I’ve neglected this blog again. 😦 Although, I do have 2 new posts coming up in the next week or so. Still, I need to make it a priority to deliver some content at least once a week as I said I would. I do scheduling for work but I don’t do it for me personally. I probably should re-think that strategy.

      Thanks for the push in the right direction!

      • Happy to help Lisa. I’ve been stopping by each Tuesday as I said I would. Please do keep writing.

        Another few ways to stay on top:

        Start with stubs – write just a few lines, and save it for later.

        Ask a question and share the answers – use Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to ask a question and then share the answers, giving full credit to those who helped.

        Make an appointment for just 15 minutes – Set a firm appointment for just 15 minutes, and then write all you can, not worrying about form or function. Whatever comes out, cool. Then sculpt that later in another 15 minute burst into the post or posts it deserves.

        Take inspiration from your comment box – Did someone leave a good comment? Pull that out and make that the inspiration for a post where you add some other brief points.

        Start with an image and go forward – Found a cool image? Start with that and write all you can about that as it relates to the topic you want to cover. Make a connection that you didn’t possibly see.

        Practice creates habits, and habits creates success. You CAN do it! I know it!

      • You’ve just given me incentive, Phil. Got a post coming up today I’ve been waiting all week to write and a social networking post going out on Tuesday. Thank you for your support & encouragement!

  2. Carolyn J. Palo says:

    Great post Lisa – I think organizing our media is key. I don’t like how You Tube has changed since its merge with Google – and Google wants to know all about you – phone number – etc…I don’t feel my online tools need to call me. I suppose it may be an attempt to legitimize an often annonymous environment. I can applaud that.

    Is MySpace “over?” I think it’s for musicians – but what used to be hot seems lacking now.

    I love, love, love YouTube – it’s what radio and MTV used to be.

    I think the important thing about having a social media presence is learning how to present oneself appropriately – there is work to be done here, and also, even though they say “sharing is caring” – I’ve seen how too much sharing can make one cringe.

    Thanks for the thoughts today!

    Carolyn

    • Thanks, Carolyn, for reading and your thoughts!

      In my opinion, whether users realize it or not, I think a “user” stops becoming just a “user” when that person starts popping up on multiple platforms to share their expertise, insights, or talents, and instead morphs into a “brand”. That does not mean the brand has to be something specific or the same on all platforms. However, it does mean that if one finds themselves on multiple sites sharing something of value with each audience, s/he then ought to consider what his/her “brand” then is. I think this distinguishes the “one or two channel player” with the “brand manager” in a sense. Obviously, I’m not talking about those that get on the networks to just keep in touch with friends or play games. That’s separate. I’m talking about those that are sharing in multiple places and have thus begun to establish themselves as a thought-leader in something. This is why organization & strategy is key, even if the strategy is for your personal brand.

      As for MySpace, I’m anxious to see what Timberlake and Co do with it. He made an announcement this week at CES. Very interesting idea; just don’t know that it will bring MySpace out of the slump. I do like it though. http://mashable.com/2012/01/09/myspace-timberlake-tv/.

      Oh and I do like You Tube’s overhaul. Once you get used to the design and features a bit more, I think you might change your mind. 🙂

      Again, thanks!

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