How to Avoid Social Media Overload

The advent of Web 2.0 has made keeping up with your industry a 24/7 pursuit. Reporters are constantly tweeting new stories, your colleagues and competitors are blogging and now, you’re expected to join the fray as a “content producer” — on top of your regular job. How do you make time for it all?

1) Don’t be an early adopter. You could spend your entire life test-driving new technologies. Unless you’re billing yourself as an online strategist or are dying to headline an O’Reilly tech conference, sit back and let others do the hard work for you. Remember Second Life? The fad-du-jour of the mid-aughts featured a “virtual world” in which people could create cartoon avatars that interacted with other participants in a variety of activities, from buying and selling virtual goods to conducting online love affairs. Second Life even played host to corporate recruiting events for prestigious companies such as Bain & Co. and Verizon Communications. At the Bain event, the Wall Street Journal reported, “a partner’s avatar slumped over by accident and looked as if it were asleep.” Save yourself the trouble: don’t bother adopting technologies before they’re ready for prime time — as evidenced by the fact that Second Life has now been eclipsed by trendier technologies.

2) Sample widely. Most executives don’t need to become social media mavens — but they do need to know what they’re talking about (you don’t want to be the only one in the room who doesn’t know what a hashtag is). In general, you’re fine if you’re comfortable using and talking about the social media technologies that have penetrated public consciousness — namely Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, podcasts, and blogs. If you’re not a regular user, open an account and block off an hour or two on your schedule to fiddle around. If needed, with the assistance of a tech-savvy minion who can show you the highlights. To keep up, make a point of picking up Wired magazine at the airport and visiting the SmartBlog on Social Media every week or so.

Read the rest at the Huffington Post.

Dorie Clark is CEO of Clark Strategic Communications and the author of Reinventing You. She is a strategy consultant who has worked with clients including Google, the National Park Service, and Yale University. Listen to her podcasts or follow her on Twitter.