A tricky balancing act

By | September 7, 2011

Photo from Flickr by: Pickersgill ReefI’m a social media professional. I make my living using social media to power my marketing and promotional initiatives for my employer and for the events I organize.

I haven’t always worked in the social space specifically, but I have always worked in marketing and promotions throughout my career.

I have always been online (since before the Internet), participating socially and creating content. As social media numbers blew up, so did the number of relationships I maintained online. It became faster and easier to meet interesting people. It got crazy… it is crazy.

We know now that Dunbar was right. We know that managing countless relationships online doesn’t scale. It’s simply not possible. Now consider doubling (or tripling) those relationships.

It’s hard enough to balance so many personal relationships on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, but consider this. I also manage an internationally recognized company’s social media presence and our relationships.

A tricky balancing act

I occasionally hear friends say they haven’t seen me on Twitter lately, clearly they are not following me as @griffintech as well. I don’t expect them to, unless they are interested in what Griffin is up to.

I’ve seen so much chatter about social media fatigue lately, and it makes sense. Let’s face it, the biggest social media enthusiasts, the early adopters, often become the professionals representing brands online. It’s difficult enough to balance our personal relationships let alone those on behalf of a brand.

Personally and professionally, how do you balance it all? Please share your take.

Photo from Flickr by: Pickersgill Reef

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  • http://community-roundtable.com/ jimstorer

    Hi Dave – I’m feeling your pain. Just last night I trimmed a bunch of folks from my Facebook profile to streamline my experience there a little. I probably need to do a little more pruning. I’m trying to get better about managing my lists on Twitter so I see the people that really matter to me (personally and professionally) on a regular basis. I haven’t even begun to tap into the power of G+… it’s just too much at the moment. 

    I guess my advice is to take it all in stride. Jump in when you can and interact with conversations and people that matter to you at that moment. Don’t get bogged down trying to be everything to everyone. Share what you can, when you can and don’t apologize. 

    The balancing act you bring up is an important one. I try to remember it’s just as (or more) important to nurture your offline relationships as the online ones. Jay Baer wrote an important article on this topic the other day. 
    http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-networks/social-media-pretend-friends-and-the-lie-of-false-intimacy/

    Stay cool! 

    Jim | @jimstorer:twitter 

  • http://community-roundtable.com/ jimstorer

    Hi Dave – I’m feeling your pain. Just last night I trimmed a bunch of folks from my Facebook profile to streamline my experience there a little. I probably need to do a little more pruning. I’m trying to get better about managing my lists on Twitter so I see the people that really matter to me (personally and professionally) on a regular basis. I haven’t even begun to tap into the power of G+… it’s just too much at the moment. 

    I guess my advice is to take it all in stride. Jump in when you can and interact with conversations and people that matter to you at that moment. Don’t get bogged down trying to be everything to everyone. Share what you can, when you can and don’t apologize. 

    The balancing act you bring up is an important one. I try to remember it’s just as (or more) important to nurture your offline relationships as the online ones. Jay Baer wrote an important article on this topic the other day. 
    http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-networks/social-media-pretend-friends-and-the-lie-of-false-intimacy/

    Stay cool! 

    Jim | @jimstorer:twitter 

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks Jim. What do you think of Chris Brogan’s approach of unfollowing everybody on Twitter and starting again, fresh? http://www.chrisbrogan.com/unfollow/
    As for managing offline relationships goes, I wish I could see awesome people like you more often. I blogged recently about this… http://www.davemadethat.com/2011/08/19/no-conference-blues/
    When is that teleporting machine going to be ready???

    Thanks for the advice.

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks Jim. What do you think of Chris Brogan’s approach of unfollowing everybody on Twitter and starting again, fresh? http://www.chrisbrogan.com/unfollow/
    As for managing offline relationships goes, I wish I could see awesome people like you more often. I blogged recently about this… http://www.davemadethat.com/2011/08/19/no-conference-blues/
    When is that teleporting machine going to be ready???

    Thanks for the advice.

  • http://community-roundtable.com/ jimstorer

    I haven’t given it much thought. Given the DM spam he was getting it might have been the only option. I don’t have that problem (yet) and lists seem to help me see what matters. 

    +1 on the teleporter. 

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    I’ve been getting way too many spam/phishing DMs. Unfortunately, I believe many come from people who don’t realize it’s happening. They’ve handed over their keys to suspect applications without realizing it. Twitter needs to do a better job at educating their users.

    I hope to see you around one day soon.

  • http://www.ricardobueno.com Ricardo Bueno

    How do I balance it all? Ha! I have no idea.

    Sometimes, I don’t sleep (or I sleep late). Mostly because I can’t turn my brain off – working on this, or that. Making sure things are scheduled and published for the next day. Though here’s the thing (at least for me), I’m not married and I don’t have kids. I’m guessing that if I did, things would be much different and I’d be managing my time differently.

    As for everything else, like balancing the personal and professional, you NEED to filter yourself. Sometimes there’s things I want to share but probably shouldn’t, so I don’t. Simply put, that’s because I’m still a representation of my brand even if I’m not technically on the clock. That sort of things matters.

    What’s tough is that social media makes you accessible, and the more responsive you are, the better. But people can also be pretty darn demanding asking for things at odd hours then venting on-line as a way to pressure you. The best thing you can do in those cases is work on setting strict expectations. We put “office hours” on our Twitter Bio and when somebody asks me a Support question off-hours, if it’s easy I”ll respond. Otherwise, I ask that they kindly email support. Otherwise, I’d go crazy trying to manage all of that stuff.

    Alright, I feel like I’m dragging on. So I’ll end my thoughts there. Off to be a superhero!

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks Ricardo.
    I certainly understand about how I should present myself across profiles. You raise a good point about family. If I was single and without kids I would be dangerous! HA!

  • http://twitter.com/KatieBigTex Katie B.

    I deal with the same situation. Run SM for an iconic American brand all the while trying to take advantage of all SM has to offer for my personal enjoyment. It’s exhausting at times. Also, I find myself checking my professional SM accounts every time I check my personal ones. I’ve always been a big believer in keeping my work life and personal life as separate as possible but with my SM responsibilities it’s just not possible anymore. I’ve even made the mistake of sending my friends product troubleshooting tips. They’re good sports about it but it makes me feel like a dolt.

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    I believe in that too, but I don’t hide behind our brand. It’s important to me that our customers know who I am. http://blog.griffintechnology.com/about-dave

    I’ve made that mistake before. Luckily, I believe in tweeting nothing to upset grandma, so when it happens, I’m not too embarrassed. :)

  • http://twitter.com/KatieBigTex Katie B.

    I’d love to be more open with our customers about who I am but without any SM corporate policy or standardization I’m wary about it. I started all of our SM efforts myself and haven’t received support from corporate yet. I’m hoping they’ll come around soon…

     

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Good luck with that Katie. I hope they see the light.

  • http://twitter.com/JohnPM21 J.P. Quayle

    Good Post Dave.

    I run the social media avenues for a medium sized music venue and I find it less about relationships than it is the information I’m supposed to share. As far as entertainment goes, I think that people are interested in the basic information (Who, What, Where, When, etc.) and not the person behind it. I’ve experimented with putting my name out there but it hasn’t made that much of a difference. I will say my email box gets bombarded with people asking all kinds of questions about different shows. I feel like I’m on the clock for at least 14 hours a day.

    From a personal standpoint, it is all about trimming down to the necessities. Yes, social media’s purpose is to be social but as you stated, managing countless relationships is difficult. When I meet new people, I make a mental note to see if I see them again or if we collaborate on business/side projects. If not, I don’t really look to stay in touch. I’ll admit that I’m limiting my windows of opportunity (might even be cold in nature) but I’m a big proponent of targeting specific relationships. If I can maintain my core group, I don’t worry about the other countless names & faces. It isn’t personal, it is just how I manage my time.

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Gosh you’re cold. JOKING! :)

    I think it depends on how you communicate with your customers. If you are only using Twitter, etc. to dispense information about shows, then I understand why more hasn’t come from it on a social level.

    Why not create public polls about popular upcoming shows? Ask people their favorite songs by artists who will be playing soon. Offer free tickets to giveaway (if you can do so). This will all help, however, you may not want to do this. That’s perfectly cool too.

    I understand where you’re coming from about managing relationships and your time.

    Thanks a million for the comment JP.

  • http://danieljohnsonjr.com danieljohnsonjr

    I’ve found myself constantly pruning and making the tools useful for me. I have to remember WHY I’m using them in the first place. Right now, for example, I’m not doing a lot of photography, so I’m not using Flickr that much. Same with video; I’m consuming a lot but not producing as much.  I’ve decided to keep my main blog going and use Facebook and Google Plus to hang out.  I’ve been able to get a lot of juice for the squeeze from my blog and from LinkedIn, especially the one or two groups I like to hang out in.

    I don’t spend as much time on Twitter anymore because it’s not been as useful to me. Google Plus for me is like what Twitter was when I first signed up back in 2006.Now, if you ask me in a few days, I might have changed my mind.

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Ha! Things certainly change quickly these days.
    Doesn’t 2006 feel like a million years ago?

    I’ve been having fun in G+ too. I need to dedicate more time there though.
    Thanks for the comment. It’s so good to hear from you Daniel.

  • Nancy VanReece

    In one word: Lists. Very single person on my Twitter or FB feed is on at least one of my lists. Some are on more than one.
    G+’s cirlces feels redundant to the lists I already have.
    Logging on to Hootsuite and taking a look at a list column rather than a main feed keeps back the fatigue.
    Interesting to see FB start pushing the lists this weekend.
    Keeping up with Reader is another issue- clearly, it took me 10 days to see your post – ha.

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    Thanks Nancy! Great advice.
    I’m thinking about reevaluating my feeds soon. It’s overdue. Glad you found my post. :)

  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

    - Dave

    Dave Delaney
    Social Media Coordinator at Griffin Technology
    Greater Nashville Area

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  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

    - Dave

    Dave Delaney
    Social Media Coordinator at Griffin Technology
    Greater Nashville Area

    Confirm that you know Dave Delaney: https://www.linkedin.com/e/218pu5-guhp184h-2d/isd/4770054253/MGdyYbre/?hs=false&tok=2mL55GdrO6LAY1

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  • http://www.davemadethat.com Dave Delaney

    I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

    - Dave

    Dave Delaney
    Social Media Coordinator at Griffin Technology
    Greater Nashville Area

    Confirm that you know Dave Delaney: https://www.linkedin.com/e/h9cegj-guhp1g8t-31/isd/4770055653/04exElEQ/?hs=false&tok=2enykN8_m6LAY1

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