~ In General ~
I think we all know that social media can eat our time if we are not very careful. It sucks you in, and you have cool friends to virtually hang out with, so why wouldn't you stick around for a while? Well, I don't know about you, but I don't have time to kill on an average day. So here are my tips for general time management of whatever social media accounts you have:
1~ Keep a list! I know some of you are pantsers, but when it comes to life, sometimes you've got to make to-do lists. There are going to be things you need to do on your social media accounts. Change your picture, update your status, share an article, find a link, whatever. And that's fine. That's why you have the social media. So make a list of things you need to do. I would suggest dividing this list by the accounts you have, prioritize, and give yourself a liberal estimate on how much time it's going to take. If you have extra time, you can loiter, but only until your allotted time is up.
~2 Other than just making a list, schedule your media time. If you're like me, you'll get on your social media accounts heaven knows when all throughout the day. That can complete eat any "free time" you have, so I suggest planning out when you get on. After lunch for Facebook, after school for Pinterest. That bit doesn't really matter. But limit yourself. 10 minutes should easily suffice, especially if all you're going to do is read your endless feed. It is important to engage the people you've connected to, so don't just skim everything :)
~3 One last point: don't get accounts you don't need. You could probably find a purpose for every form of media out there, but don't get one of each. Just because it's a humongous buffet doesn't mean you actually have to try everything. That will kill you in the end. I currently have . . . ten accounts that I would consider media-like and I have a purpose for each. I don't have Instragram, Bloglovin', or LinkedIn yet because I honestly don't think I need them. And I don't have the time to figure them out right now either ;)
Now for all of my accounts individually. I'll list them in the order I got them, but feel free to jump to the ones that apply to you :)
~ Pinterest ~
My aunt set up an account for my mom at one point. My sister and I thought Pinterest looked fun, so we took over Mom's account because she literally never used it. About 3K pins in, we realized it wasn't going to work to share anymore. We had a gazillion boards and were both sick of seeing each other's interests on our feed. So once I had a blog, I created my own Pinterest and began switching important things over to that profile, sharing boards with my sister, and reaching a better level of organization.
Purpose: Storyboards. These cannot be important enough. All the collages on My Writings page came from my Pinterest boards.
Time: I probably spend about an hour a week on Pinterest. On my good weeks, of course. I could spend an hour a day if I get distracted ;)
Platform: I had around 30 followers on my new account a few weeks ago. I hadn't gained one in months. That's when I still had my storyboards secret. I didn't want people to know what I was writing! I pinned spoilers! But then I realized that my friends with two boards could have 40 followers if they were storyboards. So I made all of my storyboards public and boom! I now have 60 followers and they trickle in on a regular basis. ;)
~ Gmail ~
For a long time I shared an e-mail with my parents and just had my own folder. When it came to my first writing contact, Dad decided I could probably use my own account. (Thanks Jamie!!) This not only generated a Google+ account, it created a very time consuming bog, even if it's not really a social media account.
Purpose: E-mail (duh). Largely, the hub for sending and receiving editing projects.
Time: At least half an hour a day. Pretty bad, huh? I want to cut that down. But I now have a steady stream of stuff to weed through, filter, reply to and the like ;) Definitely one I need to schedule.
Platform: Unlike other media, the goal is to have less here. If you do like I did, you will subscribe to all the author websites, many blogs, and clothing stores to get the free downloads and booklets. I encourage you to do that as long as you trust the sight. Then you'll probably need to unsubscribe because it's gonna be a lot of useless mail all the time!
Tip: Have ultra organized label folder things, so you can clear out your inbox better. My goal is to have under 50 e-mails in my inbox (one page) and none in my other categories (social and promotions).
~ Google+ ~
I never intentionally got this account. I realized I automatically had an account one day because I had created a Gmail (Google) account. I added a picture, bio, all that good stuff and started adding Gmail contact to my circles, but I never actually got on the website again for a while. Until I got Blogger.
Purpose: Sharing blog posts.
Time: 10 minutes a week. You all know I rarely post. I have Blogger connected now, so it automatically posts and you all faithfully +1 like good friends :) I rarely get on to do the same.
Platform: Add everyone in the world to your circles. The only additional circle I have is one I called "bloggers." Connect your blog to it if you can (you can with Blogger) and share other articles/posts you enjoyed to it. People usually add back and then you have a really good reach with little effort.
~ Twitter ~
My first real social media account where you interact with humans on a ginormous level. I'm still trying to get the hang of this one, but it's fun :) It seems to be more business-focused than most media anyway, so that's really nice. Everyone there has a purpose, not just a life. And a character limit, so you can only say so much at once, hehe :)
Purpose: Sharing everything writing-related and building a platform of potential readers.
Time: 10 minutes a day. Thats on average, because I disappear for a few days and then play catch up :P
Platform: Consistency. Post something at least daily if you can. I had this down and was posting, but only at 11 am. When I spread out retweets and posts throughout an entire day (20 in all) I immediately gained 30 followers over the next few days. I don't think that was an accident ;)
Tip: Engage people on topics, participate, show your face. Thank people for retweets. Follow lots of people and never be afraid to unfollow, too. Keep your subject matter limited; for me it's writing/reading/books/editing and the like. :)
~ Goodreads ~
I love Goodreads. This has proved to be one of the best accounts I have, hands down.
Purpose: Tracking what books I read, what they were about, and when I read them. Now people can add my book, so it gets spread around and added before it's even published :)
Time: 10 minutes a day, on average. I didn't have a hard time keeping this low once I got the account underway. I suggest you avoid all but book polls because they seem pointless and will eat your time!
Platform: Find as many friends as you can and follow your favorite authors. I've added a few people I don't really know that well just because they asked, and we have mutual friends. Probably not the best idea unless you're a Goodreads author. In which case, I figure potential reader. Rate everything and leave yourself review prompters. I encourage you to review as much as you can for your own retention and for friends' benefit, but this will take more time.
Tip: Always add a book to your list if it strikes you. You won't remember it if you don't. If you are going to be like me and add some people you only know vicariously, chances are you're still safe on Goodreads. But to be even safer, go to your friends and choose edit. Only leave "top friend" checked (it's automatic) on people you love and trust. This will prioritize them on your feed :)
~ NaNoWriMo ~
The good news that this can only be a real distraction a few months of the year. But boy did I use it a lot for my first Camp! It's so fun to chat with cabinmates and update word counts . . . every few hundred words ;)
Purpose: Quick drafting. The community is a bonus ;)
Time: When it's NaNo season, about 45 minutes a day. It probably won't be that much for regular NaNo but only time will tell :)
Platform: Plug into a cabin with people you know for Camps and buddy with everyone you care about for regular NaNo. It's not too hard to find people.
Tip: It's super easy to find friends and saves you a lot of searching if you'll just look at the buddies of one of your friends. I found Katie Grace and Nadine Brandes and really only had to look at their buddies from there :)
~ Hangouts ~
This is a Google chat for those of you who don't know. You can get an app, or you can view it through your Gmail in a browser. It connects by e-mail, I believe.
Purpose: keeping up with writing friends. This was our post-Camp NaNo rehab because we missed hanging out (thus the name).
Time: 3 hours a week. This really depends and can eat your time if you allow it, because it's conversations with your friends! The one that eats my time is our Camp group of 12 people and our NaNo group of 20+ :)
Platform: Again, less is kinda more here. But it actually has saved me time to chat with critique partners instead of e-mailing them all the time. You get a faster reply and I don't type out my entire day either ;)
~ MyWriteClub ~
I just heard about this and decided to make an account. It's to track your progress on any goals you create and to see progress that friends make. You can update it and comment on each other's. It's used loosely by most people and strikes me as a basic, year-round Camp NaNo. Because it's to keep scattered details of my life sane, it should help with time management overall :)
Purpose: to give myself deadlines and track my work.
Time: 5 minutes a day. Easy. Update your goal, scan your feed, turn it off.
Platform: This isn't a huge deal here because it's more for you than others. So just follow people that you care about! They'll probably follow you back :)
~ Facebook ~
Ah yes. I just conquered this beast last week. I've held out for soo long D: But I needed a professional page for my author stuff before my book is published, so I had to get a personal page, too. So far, I haven't lost too much time on it and have reached a new crowd of friends and family you will find only on Facebook. It's the everyman's media of choice. And you have no character limit ;)
Purpose: Reaching a new crowd for my book and having some place to post more general life stuff.
Time: about 15 minutes a day so far. But I am still in set-up mode, so maybe I can whittle that down to ten?
Platform: Do not be afraid to friend someone! Facebook is not the place to cherry-pick. Similar to Goodreads, I accept friend requests even from mere acquaintances that I could really care less about, or don't know if I can trust not to share gory details of their life. Even if you do cherry-pick, some people will surprise you. So...
Tip: Do friend a lot of people. Unfollow people that you can't stand. You won't see their stuff on your feed, they can still see yours, and you're still 'friends.' ;)
~ Spotify ~
This is like a social Pandora for those of you who don't know. You follow artists, albums, and friends. The wide variety of free music I have found extremely helpful! And the occasional ad doesn't bother me, because YouTube has more ads and little organization.
Purpose: Accessing more favorite artists and creating writing playlists.
Time: Hours and hours a day. But that's just listening to all the beautiful songs. Finding the songs takes like 5 minutes a day.
Platform: Again, the point of this isn't popularity for me since I don't have a music album on here :) But it is fun to follow a few friends so you can see their music tastes.
Tip: Don't feel like you have to follow complete albums. Follow the few songs you like. You'll be able to find the album again pretty easily. Pay attention to whether you are following playlists or albums, too, because playlists is someone else's personal taste on a subject and clog up your list of playlists. Maybe that doesn't bug most people :P
Phew! So there you have it. Hopefully this post was somewhat useful to you and didn't completely overwhelm you . . . or take too much of your time ;)