How to Stay Social in Social Media

Written on December 8, 2009 – 5:24 pm | by Brian Wallace |

Don’t forget about your friends.  It’s supposed to be social after all.

For any of you that have me on a variety of IM programs, you have no doubt noticed that I typically keep it on the “do not disturb” setting.  This is usually because I’m busy most of the day and really cannot stop to chat.

But wait a minute.  Isn’t social media supposed to be social?

Yes.  Yes it is.  The problem with social for some of us is that it so easily blends with work and play that we find much of our day kept up online.

You have also no doubt seen some of the sore spots opened up by the Businessweek article about being careful of social media snake oil.  I found a follow up post on it from the Harvard Business Review and saw that a few of my social media friends had retweeted it.

Susan aka @buzzedition had retweeted it and it occurred to me that we hadn’t chatted in ages.

What’s the world coming to that you need to get your friend’s attention by retweeting them? Note that this wasn’t her goal – it was just good content to review and retweet.

It almost makes you miss the days when you didn’t feel the need to keep up with every tweet and micro instance of everyone’s day.  To keep sanity, I try to remind myself that Twitter and other such social media outlets are a stream that I can enter and exit when it best fits my time budget.

How do you keep up with your social friends these days? Or, are your relationships deteriorating before you know it? Let us know.

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  1. 16 Responses to “How to Stay Social in Social Media”

  2. By Regina on Dec 8, 2009 | Reply

    I pretty much flow in and out as needed or at will. There was one point that I was following Twitter relentlessly and got crap all done. As you wrote, I just leave it when I’ve got things I must do.

  3. By Brian Wallace on Dec 8, 2009 | Reply

    @Regina – these days it’s necessary to keep up with the flow. Still, it’s nice to slow it down once in a while to think on what it’s all about. Thanks for dropping in!

  4. By David Jaeger on Dec 9, 2009 | Reply

    I try to segment out social media time a bit, just do it on downtime, or when I take time out of my schedule. Otherwise, I would never get any work done.

  5. By Richard Becker on Dec 9, 2009 | Reply

    Hey Brian,

    I avoid IM programs, with Twitter, etc. being enough for exactly the reasons you mentioned. Sometime we all have to work.

    Perhaps its just a matter of changing our expectations. As for many of us, social networks create large audiences of friends, at least significantly more than when we nurtured 50 or so relationships. As a result, there is not enough time in the day, especially for those of us working on social media efforts for other companies as well.

    While I know my personal presence would benefit more often by commenting on other posts and keeping Facebook and Twitter up all day, I decided several months ago that I would allow myself much more flexibility based upon the thinking that if they are my friends, they will be much more likely to forgive any absences.

    After all, my closest friends are those who I might see once or twice a year and still feel as though we are picking up like it is yesterday. Anything less, well, maybe they are only acquaintances despite the “friend” monikers.

    All my best,

  6. By Tommy on Dec 9, 2009 | Reply

    I’ve found that with many of the outlets available it can be very difficult to keep up with them. I find that I’ll update a client status before I’ll update my own, but when the time comes right I can pop in and out and more or less get the same response on my personal accounts… it’s a funny thing really

  7. By Brian Wallace on Dec 9, 2009 | Reply

    @David: segmenting out time is a great method. When you look at doing social as a block of time, it can become a great deal more manageable.

    @Richard: indeed that quality can be more important. I’ve seen people first withdraw from IM and then from Twitter. Personally, I try to still keep both options available.

    @Tommy: it’s all about the timing and good to see you have your priorities straight by keeping client expectations up first.

  8. By AmyV on Dec 10, 2009 | Reply

    Brian – much like you, I tend to leave my IM open, but with a “busy” sign out. That way if it takes me a couple hours to respond to an IM, people understand. But if someone needs to get something in front of my eyes, it’s there. Problem is, there are so many people on my IM who I don’t even really know, and they’re the most likely to ask for favors.

    I’ve been gradually removing them from my IM contacts, because I try to help my friends when they ask, but I can’t help everyone who asks, as much as I’d like to. If you haven’t ever even said “hello” to me and all you do is ask me to retweet something without my even having read it, I’m sorry, but I just don’t have the time for you.

  9. By Brian Wallace on Dec 10, 2009 | Reply

    @Amy: thanks for stopping in – your last line of your comment was especially poignant for me – if people lack the etiquette even to say hello, then I do don’t want to have much to do with them either. If people really think that I am nothing but their IM whore, perhaps their time would be better spent learning hot to build bots rather than talk to me 😉

  10. By BWI on Dec 10, 2009 | Reply

    Just tweet…who actually reads the stuff?

  11. By Brian Wallace on Dec 10, 2009 | Reply

    @BWI: interesting perspective, considering your website is 🙂

  12. By BWI on Dec 10, 2009 | Reply

    I used to be a big fan, and even developed the Twitter Toolbar for Firefox: That link is my main blog, and the toolbar download page.

  13. By Blogger Den on Dec 15, 2009 | Reply

    Very nice article! I’ll have to submit this to Blogger Den, I bet all of the members there would be very interested in reading this.

  14. By Brian Wallace on Dec 15, 2009 | Reply

    @Blogger Den: thanks Jake – Blogger Den is a good concept – for people that want to be on Digg and want to be bloggers. Thanks for stopping in.

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