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How to Keep Social Media from Dominating Your Life

Social Media, whether Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, LinkedIn, Flickr, or something else, is like a huge train whizzing by.  Some people are trying desperately to get on it (enter the snake oil salesmen) while others are spending a little too much time on it.

For those of you on the Social Media train, how often do you find that your priorities fall victim to your Tweets and status updates?

Be honest with yourself.  If you’re not careful, entire days get sucked away.

Here are four tips to engage in the online party without letting your life slip away.

1. Prioritize BLT:  Blogging, LinkedIn, and Twitter

Prioritize the social media venues you use.  Most lawyers and other professionals should prioritize, in the following order, Blogging (posting and commenting), LinkedIn, and Twitter. Some people use Facebook for work, though I tend to keep my personal profile among friends (our company page is a different story).  ListServes and YouTube are also extremely powerful.  But the first thee should be at the top of most people’s lists.

2.  Use Tools to Help You

Free tools exist to help you manage multiple social media accounts and schedule posts.  Scheduling Tweets in advance is a productivity-saver. As much as Social Media is about dialog and responding to people, it does help if you can identify times of the day where most people are plugged-in. You may not always be online at peak times. HootSuite, my favorite tool, allows you to schedule Tweets and manage multiple accounts, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and others.

3.  Block Off Time & Turn Off Notifications

Try limiting your Social Media time to über-productive 30 minute chunks. If you can do 1/2 hour in the morning and another in the afternoon or at night, you should be able to take the pulse of the online dialog & schedule tweets and blog posts in the future to maintain a constant presence.  Don’t allow yourself to be notified by filtering or turning off emails. And do yourself a major favor to your family life and driving safety by killing text notifications.

4.  Keep Perspective and Give Yourself a Break

Don’t beat yourself up and cut yourself a little slack.  Keep in mind that some of the people with huge online presences spend all day on social media because that’s their job. It’s like the bodies you see in fitness magazines or on actors.  Of course you won’t achieve those abs because those people spend all day sculpting their six-packs.

We’re interested to hear from you.  How are you managing your social media without letting it take control of your life?