Look closely at the photo, it’s not as chaotic as it seems!
(Image credit © Joe Lafferty: Kapoor’s superb kidney bean sculpture in Chicago)
OK, so you’re on Facebook, but I think that’s just for friends… but it’s grown arms and legs! And, of course you may have started out on LinkedIn, but haven’t been on line much and keep getting requests for people to connect with you… Then, you might be part of a few online learning communities – either independent or through LinkedIn or Ning – and you might be on Xing – not to mention RSS feeds you may subscribe to, keeping track of your bookmarks across multiple computers, or updating your photos on Flickr or YouTube…
And now you’ve discovered Twitter! Those alluring but obscure 140 character updates that seem to be in foreign language with @’s and #’s thrown in!
I remember being in a chat with a fellow social networking aficionado, Jozefa, at the ECLO conference in the Netherlands in 2009, and one of our colleagues said, ‘don’t you spend all your time updating and therefore not doing any work?’
A joke, but a serious challenge.
How to manage all these?
How I do it is to make some time at certain times of the day to overview and capture key ideas / thoughts from these various streams. Not every day, as sometimes I need to be fully focused and present, either directly with client work, or preparing/thinking for client work or my own research/learning. I use socialite – a superb bit of software from the Realmac guys in Brighton that lets you see Twitter, Google Reader, or RSS feeds, Digg, Facebook, and Flickr all in one app. It allows for multiple accounts, and is a dream to use.
I then save relevant items in a plain vanilla text file (text edit in the mac) for use later. If it’s a link to a single idea that I think others might find useful – I usually tweet it, or post it on twitter. A tip, if you add the Twitter app to LinkedIn, then when you add the characters #in to your ‘tweet’ it automatically updates your LinkedIn status.
If it links to something I’m thinking about, or working on, then its more likely to become a blog article – so I then begin an outline in MacJournal – a superb bit of software (for Mac) that allows you to Journal, capture images etc, and then directly upload to a WordPress blog. I have a few articles ‘pending’ in my MacJournal.
These tools can help you communicate, research, inform customers and clients, but they don’t have to take over your life!