How To Simplify Your Social Media Life


January 10, 2010

So, you’re reading this blog.

That likely means that you are embracing social media to some degree because many people still do not turn to blogs for information, nor do they know how to find them.  The one thing I keep hearing is that as we become more connected with reading blogs, connecting on FaceBook, networking on LinkedIn, and building relationships on Twitter, people are overwhelmed.

I’m constantly asked how I find the time to blog and use social media.  My answer is simple, I schedule time and I use some simple tools to help organize my online experience.  I also make choices about which platforms I use daily vs. those I only check on occasion.  I read a great post by fellow blogger Naomi Bloom where she lays out her own personal social technology policy for 2010.  I recommend checking it out because it makes sense that we would each need to do this in order to maintain sanity.  So, here are some tools I use to make it all work easier.  Some of you will be very familiar with them already, but I know a majority of people do not use them yet.

1. Blogging– I read a LOT of blogs.  The only way I can do this is to use Google Reader.  Google Reader allows you to aggregate all the blogs and other news sources you like into one place.  Then, anytime a blog or news outlet posts, it updates in your reader.  I’ve found that by checking my reader in the morning, then around lunchtime, I can stay on top of many trends in my industry as well as the current news.  It’s also a great way to search for information in the publications I trust.  My advice is to click here on Google Reader and set one up.  Then, subscribe to my blog and those on my blogroll.  We use easy “subscribe” buttons so you can put us in your reader.

2.  Choose a daily social media outlet- I love to use Twitter daily because that is the way I get additional HR information I may miss in my reader.  It also let’s me speak directly to the HR and recruiting pros on a regular basis so I can develop closer relationships with them.  They share their knowledge and make me a better HR professional.  The way to manage this is to use a tool like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.  Once you use Twitter, you quickly realize there are certain people you would like to follow more closely than all the thousands of people you may actually be “following”.  By using Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, you can create specific lists of those people you find most relevant and have a separate column of only those people’s tweets.  It’s a great tool.  You can also have key word searches for all the things that are important to you.

3.  You can’t do it all every day– Realize this and you’re golden.  I can’t possibly use all social media sites, it would be impossible.  So, FaceBook and LinkedIn are sites I check on a weekly basis.  Depending on your situation, you may choose one of these sites as your daily and Twitter as something you check only occasionally.  The point is that you cannot do it all, so don’t try.

So, that’s my advice for any reader who is new to all of this.  If you have any strategies to share, add them in the comments.


  • Great advice Trish! I really need to make this a focus. Social Media has become overwhelming. So many places to connect, so many people to talk to. It is so time consuming, and it can be a real distraction to “everyday living”
    I look forward to hearing how everyone else balances their time and energy between the two.

  • Great advice Trish. I’m somewhere in between Shennee and Mike – still trying to cover every base but knowing that I need some structure!

    I find that I’m juggling time zones – a lot of interesting stuff from the US comes out whilst I’m asleep!

    I think Mike’s approach is right, though I still use the the bTwitter groups as my starting point, and like Shennee look forward to reading how others manage to balance their time.

  • I like to keep up with Twitter and Reader daily and refocusing on the number of blogs I read regularly has helped. I am starting to play with Linked In more,

    I am always looking for ways to integrate it all into what I do each day. Some days I am much better than others 🙂

  • Great grounding advice as always. Thanks for the social media therapy. It does not have to be overwhelming. I need that reminder sometimes. @designtwit

  • It’s Reader and Twitter for me as well. And I have been asked the same question, how do you manage a blog, twitter, work, read blogs, etc. The answer I give is, “I don’t sleep.”
    I do of course sleep.
    It’s just that if its something you enjoy, you’ll make time for it.
    I like your third point. When I started I let myself feel overwhelmed. I soon realized you cannot read it all and it’s important to realize, that’s ok.

  • Totally agree Trish. My big lesson on social media from 2009 is be persistent and consistent but don’t beat yourself up when you can’t. Not sure if anyone has mentioned Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Crush It but it’s a great primer on social media.

    Cheers –


  • Trish: Nicely explained! I use Reader and Twitter to gather good info as well. These are invaluable! I’ve met really incredible people and it keeps me current with what’s going on. I pack it all in during the morning before I head off to work. It is a great workout for the mind! Yes, it is possible to try and do it all!

    • @Shennee- Sounds like a majority of people who commented use Google Reader and Twitter as their “major two” to keep in touch on a professional basis. You’ll have to let me know what you eventually gravitate to. It’s definitely possible to stay connected, obtain a large amount of info, and not feel too overwhelmed. : )

      @Mike- Thanks for sharing what works for you. We’re similar in our approach!

      @Mervyn- You bring up a great point about trying to keep up with global time zones. I can already see that people in the UK and Europe seem to be on Twitter more an more when the US is most active. Just remember to sleep a little, or you’ll turn into Bill. lol

      @Lisa- Good tip about refocusing on the blogs you read. I don’t do that enough. I finally made separate sections in my Google Reader of HR blogs I read EVERY day, HR blogs I check about once a week, News I need daily, blogs about my hobby (scrapbooking) and art, and misc. Thanks for sharing what works for you.

      @Lyn- Thanks for commenting! We all need to check ourselves occasionally or we’ll rejoin the overwhelmed group.

      @Krista- Glad I could help. I loved your post and I do think that scheduling will help you begin to feel connected and informed without feeling overwhelmed.

      @Ruth- So glad you commented! No need to keep up with the Jones’. Only what makes you comfortable. 🙂

      @Paul- You know like I do that once you throw actually writing a blog into the mix it’s a whole new time-management game. Sleep becomes less important if you’re passionate about writing. That said, it sounds like we could start a self-help group for social media addiction. lol It’s ok not to do it all.

      @Scott- Thank you for stopping by to read and comment. Great tips on persistence and consistency. And, I haven’t read ‘Crush’ yet, but it was also recommended by some other leaders I know. I’m definitely adding that to my 2010 reading list. Thanks so much!

  • Even after all of that, I’m still hitting my head on a ceiling. Probably because you keep writing great stuff that I just can’t ignore. 🙂 At some point, you just have to start cutting things ruthlessly to make sure you’re still focused on what really matters.

  • Trish,
    Really great article and a huge help! My computer has been ready to die on me after I finish opening my reader, Tweetdeck, outlook, etc. It’s also true about time management!

  • Great post! I agree that you can’t do it all everyday. There are only two things I do daily — browse SmartBrief headlines and summaries and Twitter updates. It’s just very hard to keep up with all the information and updates that’s out there.

  • In fact you can do everything everyday, it just takes a lot of coordination and dedication. Understanding tools to enhance your productivity and workflow.

  • Great article! That’s what I hear most from people who wonder how I keep up with everything and to be honest, I get overwhelmed sometimes too. I LOVE Tweetdeck, I can check and post to twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn. This is my dashboard. Thanks for the blog post.

  • Thanks for the advice, I think it’s great to set a plan and a certain amount of each time do interact with social networking and blogs. I know for me, the amount of time I spend depends greatly on how much I want to be seen.

    For instance, when I was looking for a new job, I was trying harder to make my personal brand more available on the internet.

  • Trish,

    What great suggestions to help us feel less overwhelmed. This what I’d add to your point #3: “Just because you *can* doesn’t mean you should.” In other words– there are billions of people out there in the world. Before social media, did we think we could converse with all of them? Of course not. Now access to billions (or at least thousands) is possible. But is it reasonable? As you point out, no, it’s not and we need to remind ourselves of that.

  • Google Reader. I will set up an account with them. This should help me aggregate information and spend less time piddling around trying to find what interests me. Thanks Trish!!


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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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