Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How Do We Balance Social Networking and the Business of Work?

I've just entered the social networking system with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Information moves almost instantaneously. I can "instant message" with any one of my "friends" who happen to be online through Facebook, or through my computer's camera on other networks with family and friends anywhere in the world. I can find and network with those who might have mutual business interests and I don't even need to leave my house. The world at my fingertips!

While all of this is wonderful, and somewhat miraculous to my baby boomer mind, I also feel a little bit like my "network" is beginning to sweep me off my feet and carry me down stream. I'm having difficulty keeping up and wondering when some people who post often to Twitter, etc. get their work done. Finding people around the world to network with is great and offers unlimited possibilities to build a business, but how do others balance the actual work production of art for sale (which is why one networks, isn't it?) with marketing and connecting?

I'd certainly be open to suggestions as I'm finding it a difficult balance. How about it . . . how do YOU find the balance?

3 comments:

  1. Well, I have profiles on a lot of different social networks (Myspace, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc), but I concentrate on only two at a time. Right I'm only putting my energy on Facebook and Twitter. I've found that these are the two channels that have given me the most traffic and results.

    To keep these networks from "sweeping me downstream", I try to be very focused and goal oriented whenever I visit. If I "wander" somewhere, it's because I'm trying to do something specific, like find other artists or other gallery owners on Facebook, or I'm sending notes to some of my contacts or I'm updating my Facebook page. I try not to go on any of these networks without a plan.

    Also, I make my social networking part of a routine. I for example send at least 4 to 6 tweets a day on Twitter. I send one greeting tweet first thing in the morning. A couple during scheduled breaks during the day and a couple at night. I check my replies and direct messages in the morning and at night and reply to them then. I also send direct messages to new followers each evening.

    Plus, I also use tools and services when I can to make things easier. I have by blog hooked up to my Facebook profiles, pages, and to my Twitter feed, so I don't have to make the update manually when I put up a new blog post.

    I also use a program called Tweetdeck to monitor the people I'm following on Twitter and to send tweets instead of going to my Twitter profile. The cool thing about Tweetdeck is that you have the ability to assemble the people you're following into specific groups. I have a group of people I'm follow that I find particularly interesting and/or informative, so I put them into a "VIP" group and I'm sure to check their updates at least once a day, while I save reading the "non-VIP" tweets to when I have time.

    Altogether, I average about 30 minutes to an hour a day keeping up with this stuff...and while it may sound like a lot, I do get more traffic to my blog and website and I've made a number of different contacts by spending that 30 to 60 minutes a day. The fact that these social networking tools don't cost anything for me is a huge advantage over placing an ad somewhere and (for me) gets more definite results.

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  2. I've had to limit myself to night time for the computer because once I sit down I'm sucked in for hours. I enjoy blogging and think it's fun but the computer and everything it brings with it really does take up too much time.

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