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More Networks, More Problems

Not as catchy as Biggie and Diddy’s ditty (heh heh), but true just the same. It occurred to me earlier this week that joining multiple networks means having to keep up with multiple avenues of communication. It’s already enough for me to keep up with voicemail am I setting myself up for social media etiquette failure by belonging to a multitude of social networks?

Now, in addition to staying on top of our seemingly bottomless email inboxes, we are expected to respond to Facebook messages, Twitter @ replies and DMs, comments on our blogs and more. It seems that instead of social networks making our lives easier, they just may be adding another layer of responsibility onto our already over burdened days.

Here’s what I’ve been doing to manage the madness:

Email. I use Gmail for my two main email accounts (I route my professional ones there). This allows me to use their “Starred” feature to note important emails that I need to respond to and can come back to later without them getting lost in the inbox abyss. When I have a block of time, I sort my mailbox to show only my “starred” messages and respond to as many as I can, deleting as I do. I know others that have great success in using folders to organize their inbox.

Facebook and Twitter. I put less pressure on myself to respond to these messages immediately since, for the most part, these are more casual methods of communication. Also, because I work a day job, I cannot be on Twitter or Facebook throughout the day. That said, I do make a point to at least read the messages and notifications that I get via these sites at least every 2 days, if not more often, and respond to them in order of importance. It really helps to have notifications routed to my email inbox so I can see if any are urgent but…the notifications definitely do add to my email clutter.

Blog Comments. Having my blog comments also route to my email account is a lifesaver. This strategy allows me to see my comments each time I login to my email account (which is often). I can respond to them directly from my email account which is nice for 2 reasons: (1) I don’t have to login to my blog to do so; and (2) I am able to develop a one-on-one relationship with my readers because they will receive a personal email directly from me and can respond back. I often end up having an extended conversation with a commenter this way, which is really nice.

So far, this has been my approach to staying on top of all of the incoming messages coming at me from a variety of places. How do you manage yours?

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