Engaging in social media takes time, and it's easy to let the scales tip. At times, social media can feel like a hungry beast that constantly needs to be fed.
Internet pioneer and writer Jaron Lanier felt the same way. So he quit social media. Now he reports that he feels more innovative. In addition to eating up our time, does engaging in social media stifle creativity? This article on Neon Tommy sums up his sentiment: "If everyone collaborates on everything, then nothing is original."
How can we find balance with social media before we all throw in the towel? Lots of folks have suggestions for how to maximize social media tools for efficiency and tips for how to manage time online. Here are some of the reoccurring themes that can be helpful:
- Determine what you want to accomplish online using social media tools.
- Evaluate which tools will help get the job done and exactly how you will use them.
- Set limits on the amount of time that you spend on social media sites.
- Recognize when you are being distracted.
- Get outside and get some fresh air (and don't bring your iPhone).
Finally, I think this quote from a 2009 BusinessWeek article still applies:
"If the productivity best practice is to target your social media very precisely to attain your goals, then the productivity worst practice would be to indiscriminately hook into multiple sources of poorly defined static. To use social media effectively, just be sure that you aren't putting more effort in than the result you're getting. "