I find value in social media sites. My biggest problem is finding the time to visit and use them. So how do you prevent social media from taking over and eating up huge chunks of your productive workday?
Simple. Get yourself organized — and turn it into a routine.
My latest article about taming the social media beast has been syndicated over at the OPEN Forum:
The one tool that I find invaluable to organize my activities is Netvibes, where I bookmark my list of social media sites. The sites I visit regularly include OPEN Forum; Sphinn.com; SmallBusinessBrief.com; Work.com; my own websites; Facebook; Twitter; and numerous blogs and forums.
If I had to stop and think about every site I wanted to visit, and manually type in the URLs, it would take me a lot longer. I’d certainly forget some of them. Using Netvibes to bookmark my master list, I don’t have to think about which sites to visit. Also, if I stumble upon a new social media site or discover a new blog, I simply add the URL or the RSS feed to my list.
Rather than just talking about my routine and how I organize my work, I thought I would show you two screenshots of how I use Netvibes, in case you are not familiar with it.
Here is a screenshot showing my social media page that I’ve set up in Netvibes.
Each of the colored horizontal bands (red, blue, gold, gray) you see on the above screenshot is a collapsed window that I can click and open up. When each window is opened up, think of it like a “picture in a picture” on a television screen.
When I open each of the little windows, I’ll get to a list of bookmarks (shortcuts) to social media sites. I can quickly go down a list of sites I’ve bookmarked on Netvibes and jump over to those sites. No hunting around for URLs or trying to remember them.
In some cases the window embeds certain applications right within Netvibes — including Facebook, Delicious and Twitter. In those cases, when I open up the window, key information I need to manage my Facebook account is right there on the Netvibes page. I can even update my Twitter status directly on the Netvibes pages. It saves keystrokes and surfing time.
Here you can see my Facebook application opened on the left, and Twitter and Delicious on the right column:
I do a lot more with Netvibes than simply manage my social media activties. For instance, I can track some of my Web statistics from widgets contained within Netvibes. I can even check my GMail account from within Netvibes.
Netvibes is deceptively simple. It may not seem like a big deal. But it saves time and keeps you organized. You can get a lot more done in a short period of time using a tool like Netvibes.
I think of it as an executive dashboard for managing my online business interests. And did I mention it’s free?