After losing touch with a friend earlier this year, his response to my complaint on the subject was to point out that he just did not have time to keep up. My first reaction was a bit prickly—when something is important, don’t you make time? I have come to realize, however, that even when something is important, finding time can be hard, and it’s easy to just throw in the towel rather than make the effort.
Case in point, I have had less time for social media lately.
My CustomScoop days frequently entailed reading and commenting on blogs, poring through TechCrunch looking for feisty podcast topics and interesting memes, and keeping in touch with my online network. It was a terrific and interesting experience. I am completely happy in my new position—and also completely busy. Browsing PR blogs and reading Valleywag is no longer in my job description, and I know I’m not alone. While there are the true aficionados out there with careers outside this space using their free time to be full-time social media rock stars, I find my free time more consumed by other pursuits. In short, social media has suffered from my desire to spend a Saturday afternoon watching six back-to-back episodes of “House” instead of blogging. I am trying to make amends, and have tips for those of you out there who would like to stay involved, but are overwhelmed by time constraints.
5 Ways To Stay Involved When You’d Rather Watch “House” than Read Blogs:
1) Dramatically Cut your Feeds: I have about 115 PR and other social media blogs in my feed reader, and they mock me every day. In reality, to stay abreast of the social media “scene,” you need only read a maximum of 10 blogs a day. Far less daunting, especially when you consider that not all of the bloggers are going to update every day. I’ve whittled down my list to the bare essentials, like Todd Defren, Mitch Joel, Kami Huyse, and Brian Solis (and, of course, Media Bullseye!). Odds are, if there is something you’ll be interested in, one of these will cover it. Be sure to tailor it to your interests, but it’s a good place to start.
2) Listen to FIR: Again, if there’s something you’ll want to know about in the PR podcast space, Shel and Neville will keep you in the loop. It is difficult to imagine keeping up with every PR podcast out there—For Immediate Release (which goes up twice weekly) is an excellent one-stop shop.
3) Consolidate Your Networks: In a dream world, I’d love to stay active on all my networks, but in reality, it’s been months since I last Uttered. I’ve been sticking to Facebook and Twitter when I want to share a link or give my thoughts on the latest online kerfuffle. Trying to stay active on the dozens of various networks out there when your time is limited is just too much.
4) Become a Guest Blogger: Blogs often suffer when the updates are few and far between. For a long time now, I have taken the pressure entirely off this situation by eschewing a blog of my own and serving as a guest blogger at Blogstring. I only post once every few weeks, when I find the time, but I find that taking the “better than nothing” approach is a good way to not fall off the blogging map entirely. Speaking of which…
5) Blog About Your Interests: I recently started up a personal blog that will likely have next to nothing to do with communications, new media, web 2.0, or other social media goodies. Instead, I’m going to write about the things I like offline. Movies, books, a new wine I’ve enjoyed, a vacation I’m planning. Writing about these everyday things is yet another way to take the pressure off, but still stay active online, keep my writing skills sharp, and continue to develop my personal brand.
Throwing it out the comments—how do you stay tapped into the 2.0 world when the outside world pulls you in different directions?
Sarah Wurrey is a public affairs professional in Washington, DC. She is the former managing editor of Media Bullseye and a co-blogger at Blogstring.com, where she writes about social media with a humorous twist and co-hosts the sporadic Blogstring podcast. She can also be found at her personal blog and on Twitter at twitter.com/sarahwurrey.