Part of the Cool Sites series

Cartoon by Brad Fitzpatrick

Photo from Brad Fitzpatrick a great flash animator and cartoonist!

Do your friends or partner accuse you of being a Twitterholic? Do you fear you spend too much time on Twitter? Daily people ask me how I manage to have a life and spend so much time on Twitter. It is true that you will see me tweet daily. I don’t skip a day. I love Twitter but at one point I had to curtail my Twitter time so I could get more accomplished. Social media networks are part of my daily routine, especially Twitter and they have helped me grow immensely professionally! I love to be connected but I had to find my comfort level. I think the time is not so crucial as finding your comfort level. When being on Twitter, Facebook, or whatever social media tool you use becomes stressful and it loses the fun then I recommend you take a break. However, we no longer have to get to that point. Here are some helpful tips that have helped me:

  • Define your purpose!
    • I love socializing but I know that I use my social media networks to collaborate and connect with my educator community. Each day I think about why I am using the tool and aim to accomplish this and not get off task. Sometimes, I do get on Twitter to relieve stress or get distracted from a stressful task. Other days I want to find a resource. If I define what I’m doing this helps me manage my time effectively.
  • Be realistic!
    • How much time can you spend? You know how much you have to accomplish in a day so be realistic about how much time you can spend on these networks.
  • Stick to the plan!
    • If you have set aside 30 minutes to be on your favorite social network then stick to that plan. Remember you are avoiding getting burnt out. I like to put myself on a timer because the sound of the alarm reminds me it’s time to quit!
  • Reflect on the time spent!
    • Think about what you accomplished and see if it was what you intended on accomplishing. It’s okay to decide you want to socialize and do this, but if that is not your purpose then this becomes a problem. If you reflect on your time spent, you will become more focus.
  • Be accountable to yourself!
    • People often get upset at the tool, when they are really upset at themselves for not having the will power to be accountable. Is it better to quit the tool or learn will power? I prefer learning will power, because this builds character and personal strength. Plus, I meet too many bitter people who were burnt out by the tool and try to judge others on their time spent online.

Use a Browser! Tweetdeck!

  • Tweetdeck- I love the several options to save you time in the free browser, Tweetdeck! However, you may not realize you can automatically set-up these features! These include the following:
    • You can add more than one account to Tweetdeck such as your LinkedIn or Facebook account. Click on the ones you want to update your status on and they will be highlighted. A separate column will show you the updates in these accounts. Choose which to be your default browser to change the account.
    • By clicking on the person’s profile picture you have several more options, such as replying to all members in a tweet, favoriting the tweet, blocking them and more!
    • You can add to your settings to automatically tweet with a hashtag or include hashtags when you reply to a person.
    • You can automatically shorten links, upload videos and images by dragging and dropping them into the status bar at the top.
    • If you get the small screen notifications then you can reply quickly by clicking those tiny windows. In the settings, you can set them not to show up.
    • With the newest version you can set tweets to tweet later! If you know you will be somewhere with no wifi you can still participate in a discussion or tweet resources!

Helpful Tools & Resources!

  • Twitterfeed- I have several blogs that I read daily that provide me with some of the best resources consistently. For me it is a no-brainer to automatically tweet these links when they are published. Having to copy and paste each one takes time so I use this free service that does this automatically for me. Sometimes I’m not on Twitter but this ensures I get some great resources to you. When I am traveling this service makes sure I don’t miss a Twitter day helping out my PLN! Anything with an RSS feed can be tweeted using this service. Watch this video tutorial for general tips. This video tutorial shows you how to tweet Google Alerts.
  • RSS Flash G- There is a free version but I have the paid version. I use this Iphone app to tweet my Google Reader links, save them to Delicious, upload them to Instapaper, and more! I just love using this app and it saves me so much time! Watch this video tutorial!
  • EchoFon- There is a free version for your IPhone or IPad. It is a free browser with many features and a nice interface. Watch this video tutorial!
  • Packrati- This free service automatically saves your tweeted links and favorite links to Delicious! You can even choose the tags!
  • Co-Tweet- This free service helps you have many people tweet to one account. This is particularly helpful if you tweet for a group or company.
  • Remember that in many social networks you can go to the settings and automatically tweet links! This works on Youtube, Flickr, BlipFm, and more!
  • Many people who follow you are in different timezones, therefore, retweeting a previous link you tweeted is absolutely okay as long as it is not all you tweet! I often retweet my previous links throughout the day and word them a bit differently. Using Tweetdeck or Echofon I just click on the tweet and click retweet then quickly edit. Or you can set-up Tweetdeck to post the same tweet at a later date!
  • For more tips on how to help with social media burnout, please read Nicky Hockly’s great post, Not Waving but Drowning!

Challenge:

Try managing your Twitter time with these tips and tools!

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How do you prevent social media burnout?