How to Manage Social Networking Sites

Social media and networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, GoodReads, etc., are excellent ways to build your network of readers, friends and fans. They provide a wide-reaching online community and allow you to disseminate information constantly. In a matter of moments you can alert thousands of people to the release of your novel, provide a link to an article you have written or ask a pressing question. These sites are important to building name recognition and increasing your exposure. The major flaw in this great design is that it can suck away your precious time and for writers, time is your greatest asset. With publishers wanting at least a book a year from their authors, it is imperative that you put all of your available time into your writing. Here are some tips to managing your activity on social networking sites.

1.) Organize. Set aside a specific time to check and update sites like Facebook and Twitter. Give yourself a half hour in the morning and a half hour at night. That way you can still interact with friends without becoming a slave to your status updates.

2.) Separate. Have a separate email address reserved specifically for social networking sites. We are emailed constantly throughout the day when friends contact us through Facebook. If someone comments on our status update, we get an email. If one of our friends updates their GoodReads page, we get an email. All of these emails can be enticing but also very distracting. You can also adjust your settings so that you don’t receive an email for every Facebook/Twitter/GoodReads message sent or comment posted.

3.) Balance. For every Facebook interaction you have over the course of the day, try to make a real connection outside of the social networking sites.

4.) Avoid Games. Admittedly, those Facebook games are fun and entertaining, but they can suck up your time faster than you can spell SCRABBLE.

5.) Be unavailable. Set your Facebook status to unavailable. If a friend wants to get in touch with you, let them email you. This will allow you to set aside the time to get in touch with your friend. If a friend sends you an instant message through Facebook, it is hard to tell them you’re busy when to them you appear to be “playing” on Facebook.

These new networking sites are providing us with an abundance of publicity opportunities, but there is always a down side. By managing your time appropriately you can take advantage of what these sites offer without giving up all of your available time and energy.

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