Tape It Down
I spent the last week visiting the AARP headquarters where I work. I'm a teleworker based in Columbia, Missouri tasked with helping train the entire organization about social media. Those tasks range from understanding the ethics and etiquette behind the use of social media to ways to use it effectively on a personal and professional level. It's a vast task that I'm trying to do in as logical a manner as possible. The one resounding theme I taught as I met with groups from all kinds of different portions of the organization was: You need to organize your social media usage or else you will feel completely overwhelmed. I explain it like this:
Imagine you're in charge of painting a room. You have two options: Tape down the windows and edges or just try to do your best to not paint on the window frames, ceiling and crown molding. Taping down is tedious but when you finally get to painting, it's a fast and simple (non-stressful) process. Painting without tape is slow, tedious and stressful.
Social media is no different.
If you tape social media down, you have set up an organizational structure that helps you track information that matters to you to do your job and improve your connection to information that may be personally important. If you don't set up lists, RSS feeds, search alerts and more, you will feel overwhelmed and stressed.
Setting up lists, feeds, alerts and more can be tedious and annoying. But it is the best way to get your work done without feeling like you're drowning in a sea of information.
My co-worker, friend and managing editor of the AARP blog, Alejandra Owens (@frijolita) is working on a series on her blog called #GSD (or Get Sh#t Done) and lists a great collection of ways to tape your social media down. She's also shares how she personally stays up to date and organized. I am actually in the process of re-working my organizational use of social media since I changed jobs. The one thing I can say is no matter what you do in your career, being a part of social media is so much easier when you build a structure to help with how you manage time. Take a look at this presentation I've given a handful of times on time management and let me know how you keep social media taped down.