Balancing Life and Your Social Networks

How many hours a day do we spend on our social networks? Balancing life and your social networks is a common challenge all active social media users share.

Some of you probably think I spend all day on Twitter because my feed is pretty active. In fact, you may have even figured out that I schedule my tweets.

I program my tweets throughout the day but do hop on to say hi and thank you or respond to my @ messages. Scheduling tweets allows me to keep my life balance and meet other friends that are not in my time zone.

In the morning, I check my mentions stream to look for new people I haven’t seen on my TweetDeck before. I enjoy re-tweeting one or more new people each day.  I program my tweets and re-tweets throughout the day so I don’t tweet bomb my Twitter feed.

I tweet while I blog or watch a movie but I never tweet while I am out at dinner or at social functions unless it’s at a tweet-up and that is part of the agenda. I spend quite a bit of time on Twitter but I don’t feel that it is a waste of time because I catch up on the news from the Twitterverse instead of watching the news on the tube. I value my social networks because they offer a way to communicate, educate, learn and share with the world. I appreciate the wealth of knowledge that comes in my feed.

I have a Facebook account but I am not as active on my page. I just love the speed of Twitter.

Everything in moderation is fine, and if you enjoy it then have FUN!

I asked ten people to tell me about their typical day on the net and what secrets they would like to share with their followers to help with balancing life and your social networks:

I have no set time-limit each day. But, I do spend anywhere between 2 to 5 hours on my social networks.
Different time zones delays the Social Media engagement and productivity. There are certain tools I’m using (like HootSuite, Buffer app) that are helping me a great deal to manage time between life, business and social moment. By this way, it won’t feel like a load, but instead something fun to anticipate.
My only advice would be: learn to prioritize the tasks at hand and do it accordingly, whether it’s for pleasure or business, in your workplace or social networks. One secret may not be suitable to all: try to burn the midnight oil. It fits to a T for my lifestyle. ツ

My family is the most important part of my life, so the iPhone goes away when my little girl wants to play 🙂 I really love to share my travels by posting pictures and updates and I’m thrilled that people like to follow along.
I don’t think about it by time, it’s really just a part of my day and life. I enjoy chatting and over sharing. ツ I have met so many amazing people through social media it makes that time spent, worth every second.
There really is no secret (that I know of anyway) I would suggest: be patient, have fun and be nice. When I started tweeting in ’07, besides my travels, I wanted to share positive thoughts, quotes and ideas. I believe people need that extra boost every day, I know I do. ツ

I used to work 16-18 hours per day for over a year and a half. But now I work 8-12 hours each day.
My days are spent Tweeting, researching and building relationships with potential investors.
If you are on Twitter for fun, learn the rules and have fun. If you are on Twitter for business you better have a blog, be measuring your analytics AND have a social media marketing plan in place or else you are wasting your time.

My day is about a 12 hour day but each hour I might spend only 15 minutes on a social network. It changes day to day and as needed. Twitter I use most heavily; I’m almost always connected. Throughout the 12 hours I’m connected somewhere with someone.
I would be lost without my iPhone. Many times while waiting for my kids to finish an activity I catch up. Family always comes first for me, I’ll plan those times ahead. Because of family life there are so many unplanned moments to tend to, I have to adapt as the days goes.
Plan the day the night before. I keep a notebook by my bed because for some reason everything seems to pop into my head right before I go to sleep. That has helped me tremendously!

For years now, I’ve been saying that online IS real life. Just like the telephone, my social networks extend and expand the relationships I have with people I know, want to know better, and want to get to know.
In fact, the networks make it easier. That said, I put fences around my work and my social stuff. I don’t do much online when I’m traveling … that’s face-to-face time — I don’t read email in meetings either. It helps tremendously that I love the smart people I keep meeting. I get inspired sharing ideas with them. It also helps that I don’t feel a need to be everywhere or use every tool.
The Internet is my second home, my school, and my vacation playground all in one. What could be more balanced than that?
Social networking is very alluring to the artist because making art is such a solitary profession. With Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, I can post something and get instant feedback and gratification from my friends. This can be addicting, so each day I must balance my painting career, writing career, blogging and social networks as well as run my household. Managing my time wisely is a must!
Lately, I have been putting a time limit on my live tweeting and updates. Generally, I tweet, FB and G+ in the morning around 8 am MST for about 45 minutes. I even set an egg time to wake me up from my Twitter trance! I like to use TweetDeck to schedule some tweets. I pop on Twitter randomly throughout the day from my studio computer and late at night you might find me tweeting!
BufferApp is the easiest way to schedule tweets, but I also like and use it often. Scheduling tweets might seem like cheating, however it really is smart tweeting. I can keep a strong Twitter presence, drive traffic to my blog and have time to paint, blog, workout, spend time with my family and have a life!

I don’t really know how many hours I’m on social networks but if I have to come out with a number, I’d probably say it used to be about 4 hours a day. Now that my Internet connection is so horrible, I hardly go online.
I make it an effort to be on Twitter each night (that was when I had great Internet service) but now I can only count on my iPhone. There’s no secret or tricks up my sleeves but know what you really want to achieve with your social life and that’ll be your huge motivation.

I hate to admit how much time I probably put into social networks, especially Twitter! I’ve only recently started “managing” my online time so I can balance it with work and family. I’ve just started implementing Carrie Wilkerson’s (@barefoot_exec) “power hour” strategy of unplugging completely for an hour to focus. I also close down my TweetDeck during certain times during the day so I don’t get distracted by notifications and find myself pulled back in!
My biggest “secret” would be using a service like HootSuite or TweetDeck. I would be completely overwhelmed if it wasn’t for TweetDeck and my lists!

On average I spend at least 2-3 hours a day on social networks. This varies based on schedule and client projects.
Number one thing I do to balance life and technology is to always stay focused on my WHY. I try my best not to let my mind, body or life be consumed by tweets.
However, even with such, I have to admit my iPhone is a permanent part of my body. I set time limits on my time on social networks. I have specific hours during the day that are “social network” free time. These are hours that I am with family, friends, running errands, and conducting other work. I find that if I don’t set boundaries it’s too easy to get pulled into an endless day of online social networking.
This is the hardest part for me as I simply love what I do. I have met so many amazing people on Twitter and other social networks. It’s often hard to turn off as it doesn’t feel like work. I am getting better though.
Leverage tools and technology where possible to drive efficiencies. Some of my favorite tools include Hoot Suite, Argyle Software, numerous Google Chrome bookmarking plug-ins and several mobile applications.
My last tip for life balance is to focus on the people and conversation first. An early shift to conversation and people will help you grasp the art of social media much quicker. The tools and science of social media is easy once you understand the art of engagement.

This is a hard one; I do spend some really focused time just on Social Media but am usually semi-connected with my iPad or iPhone too. I also do social media for my job so I am always monitoring my social networks. I do fully disconnect at night so I get a great night of rest.
I use my time wisely when I have time to focus, it takes a long time to read posts and decide what content to share. When I have a period of concentrated time, I use the Buffer App to load all the things that I find. This way I don’t flood my stream with 5 or 6 posts at a time and then hours with nothing. It balances out my material and sends it at optimal times. I also try to do the same with family time – I focus on the present and giving each element of my life the same focus, energy and passion.
I think the best advice is from Oscar Wilde: “be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” Don’t be a cheap imitation of someone else, find your own unique voice and be proud of it!
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14 Replies to “Balancing Life and Your Social Networks

  1. Great post! Really enjoyed reading it! Agree that social networks turned out to be an important part of everyday life: they educate, offer a way to communicate and great opportunities business prospects. But one should never forget there are boundaries that must be kept. Very honest and fascinating ideas. Thanks for your work!

  2. Great post, Ann. Thank you for the wonderful insights and another thank you to those who participated in this important topic of balancing life with social media.


  3. Thanks for the insight. As with my blog, I am fairly new to social media. Have found myself giving hours to it every night after work. (My career path does not involve social media.) Still learning to balance with career, travel and blog and finding I need to learn a lot more about twitter! Learning slowly – great perspectives in your post. Thanks.

  4. Thanks for the insight, Ann. Balancing various parts of ones life is so important. How easy is it to become consumed by the current trends to the detriment of your job and or relationships.

    Balance is key. I am learning. Slowly, but making progress.


  5. I love Joyce’s idea to keep a notebook by your bed. Sometimes your moments of genius come between waking and sleeping. If you wake up and hit the ground running you will forget all those creative ideas.

  6. I’ve known for some time about scheduling tweets but have yet to really try it. Once my freelance schedule is again at capacity, I suspect this will be a necessity for me as it seems to be for so many who tweet regularly.

    It’s also refreshing to see others talking about where they draw the line (or don’t) on using social media.

    Thanks for putting together this roundup on finding life/social media balance.

  7. social networking is indeed valuable as it links us to the world. but as always, moderation is the key to keeping your life in check. 😉

  8. Ann, this is an amazing collection of great thinkers. I couldn’t agree more with the words here. Especially Karthick’s words resonate a lot with me, as consolidating for the timezone difference is key.

    Also love Peggy Fitzpatrick’s thoughts on how to focus more extensively for both your time with family and the things you share on social networks.

    Big thanks for the amazing Buffer shout too Peggy and Karthick, you guys rock! 🙂

  9. Great perspective. I would guess that most people might look at your profile and either expect that you spend all of your time online or it is all automated. I have found you to be very personable and balanced. Your post seems to support that.

  10. Hi Ann~

    Interesting to learn how others not only balance the two but how they view them as well.

    Some great tips and useful tools!

    All my best, John

  11. Ann,

    Nicely done! Yes, it’s important to remember that “Twitter time” is like any occasion where we’re keeping up to date with friends (or customers): it’s only part of our life. For those of us who tweet for others, there is personal and business tweeting (and other social media) that must be kept boundaried as well.

    Thanks for putting some honest reflections — like the one from @MelissaOnline — in your post.

    Playful blessings & C U on Twitter,

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