DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm feeling overwhelmed by social media. I was advised to sign up for Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and a few others, so I did. Meanwhile, I have a busy job that I love and a family. Here's the thing: I find that people write to me on all of these platforms, and it is hard for me to manage answering them or even keep up in a timely manner.
I was offered an opportunity the other day on LinkedIn but didn't notice for more than a week. When I followed up, it was too late. On Facebook, I feel like it's mostly family and friends telling silly stories. When they write to me, I don't feel a sense of urgency, but they often do.
How do I juggle all this stuff so that it works for me and not against me? I don't want to be rude to anyone or hurt anybody's feelings, but I can't seem to keep up. -- Bad Juggler, Baltimore
DEAR BAD JUGGLER: You are not the first person to be worn out by social media. Like anything else in your life, you do have to figure out how to balance your responsibilities. You can start by evaluating which of the social media outlets is most beneficial to you. Do that by considering what is important in your life. If you want to build a network of contacts professionally, LinkedIn can be very useful for you. If you want to stay in touch with friends and family, Facebook is easy to engage. If you like visual interaction better, Instagram and Pinterest work really well.
After deciding which social media outlets are your priorities, make a decision to devote 20 minutes once or twice a week to checking your various social media accounts. If you maintain a rhythm that makes you feel comfortable, those who engage you will learn to respect it.