Yes, as strongly implied, there is ineffective consumption of your social stream. Facebook if often a never-ending black whole. I am convinced that many jumped head first into the online social world, but now must pull back to a responsible level. There is no end to tweeting and retweeting. Don’t get me started on Google+. Today, we find the consumption of our online social activity is more akin to drinking from a fire hydrant than a water fountain (bubbler for you Wisconsin cheese heads). There is so much helpful, and unhelpful content. It seems to me to be a good steward of our most precious resource (TIME) given by God, we must be wise in our choice of how to consume this massive flow of information.
Facebook, Twitter, Google+ aren’t evil, but they easily can be.
Here are my top 5 suggestions for you…
- Use Google Reader, or some other RSS/ATOM web based aggregator for blogs and other online content. Most online resources have a feed associated with them. A “news reader” such as Google Reader allows you to check multiple feeds (example: blogs) in one location. New content (blogs, picasaweb, flickr, facebook, etc) comes to your Google Reader when it's posted, so you don't need to visit individual sites. One page, for all content. One of the most inefficient ways of consuming blog content is to actually visit all the blogs you want to read.
- Use Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Seesmic or some other Social Media Dashboard to interact with all your social streams all in one location. For instance, Hootsuite receives and publishes updates simultaneously to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ (sort of), LinkedIn, Foursquare, MySpace, WordPress, Flickr, Tumblr, and YouTube…
- Set boundaries/limits. Only check your social activity at specified times of the day. Only spend a pre-specified amount of time online. For instance, maybe you want to check in the morning, at lunch, and in the evening before bed. If you are addicted (which is quite possible), make some hard choices to break the addiction. You will be fine without consuming all this data. Go on a diet. Go extreme if necessary. Fast. Have you noticed I have been much more quiet lately?
- Speaking of boundaries, keep your work life and your personal life separate. Your employer is not paying you to check your granny’s Facebook (yes, these days, even granny’s are on FB). Your employer is not paying you to write personal blog posts during the work day. (Ask me why I worked on this post a little bit at work.) Be a good steward of the time you have in the place God put you.
- Protect your family. Your family deserves your undivided attention. Facebook does not. Set aside time to exclusively spend with your family, as in not your mistress (aka Facebook). Husbands, avoid inappropriate chatter with other women. Ladies, same idea. Children should be supervised.
I don’t claim to have all the above figured out perfectly, but I thought I would share with you what I know in case it helps. Any suggestions you have?
Use it well. In our day in age, I actually think it is a requirement and responsibility to have some level of social activity awareness. Clearly it has it’s limits and pitfalls, but it also has it’s very helpful benefits, but personally and professionally. There is so much to learn. There is a great way to use the unlimited resources of the web. There is also a sinful way. Be wise about it.