I’m All A Twitter: 7 Tips To Manage Your Twime

I’m All A Twitter: 7 Tips To Manage Your Twime

Gosh, my thumbs are tired. All that texting, typing and tweeting has given my digits an Olympic-size work out.

With the past few weeks bringing on a torrent of Twitters about Michael Jackson, Iran and Sarah Palin, there can be no doubt that social media has left its mark on mainstream media. When CNN starts showing the URL to its Twitter stream — the world as we know it has changed.

But revolutions, celebrity passings and political head-scratchers aside, left unchecked, social media can become a big, huge gaping black hole worthy of a scene in the latest “Start Trek” movie. “Step away from the iPhone, Mr. Spock; just step away.”

The down, dark side to all this Twitter activity — all the time — is that it can really bring out one’s obsessive-compulsive personality tendencies. And I speak from experience here. Twitter-aholics, Facebook fanatics and LinkedIn mainliners — not a pretty story, but one that must be told.

If you want to get the Twitter monkey off your back, but still buy an e-ticket to the social media wild ride, try these seven smart strategies:

1. “I save time by syndicating my content automatically to all my social networking profiles: Twitterfeed.com sends my posts to my Twitter stream; the Notes application on Facebook feeds my Facebook profile; the Blog Link app on LinkedIn updates that site. I also use Ping.fm to update my status on multiple social networking sites as well.” Denise Wakeman, www.BizTipsBlog.com

2. “I practice batch tweeting — setting aside certain batches of time for Twitter, rather than just dropping into it at random times during the day. Ten intentional minutes on Twitter can help a lot.” Darren Rowse, www.problogger.net

3. “Look for timesaving tools and applications, but don’t waste time playing with ‘gee whiz’ applications that don’t improve your productivity,” says Dana Lynn Smith, author of Get Connected: Build Your Business With Online Networking. “Some useful productivity tools include applications such as TweetDeck.com and twitterfeed.com that make Twitter easier to use.”

4. “HootSuite.com has a toolbar button that makes it easy to tweet a link. When you run across an interesting blog post or other resource, you can send it out to your followers with a couple of clicks. You can also schedule it to appear at a later time.” Cathy Stucker, www.BloggerLinkUp.com

5. “Saving time on social media is not only about tools, but more importantly, it’s about knowing whom you want to connect with (your ideal audiences) and connecting with them instantly when they visit your profile,” says George Kao, social media expert. Make sure your one-line bio on Twitter resonates with that audience instantly by (a) telling them who they are, and (b) stating what results you can deliver for them or why you’re someone they’d want to follow.

6. “I am easily distracted by various social media sites, and will lose track of time quickly! So, I’ve scheduled times during the day to go on the sites and make posts and respond. I even put these times on my calendar to remind me. When I get on, I have a set time limit; then I get off! If you have trouble getting off, set a timer to remind you.” Gladys Strickland, GS Business Resources

7. “You want to follow and be followed by people who are following less than 100 people themselves. Otherwise it becomes a ‘follow-fest,’ and nobody is listening. But … the people who are following less than 100 Twitterers are the people who are being very selective … and are the people who are listening. So, here’s the lesson … don’t build for quantity, build for quality … follow and be followed by people who care, not by people trying to build a list.” Mike Michalowicz, blogger and Author of “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.”

Bonus Tip: And here’s my hot tip… If I have a topic I’m hot to write about and want to do a series of tweets on it, I use http://www.tweetlater.com/ I find that by picking a topic and focusing on it for ten minutes or so, I am able to come up with a series of tweets that link together and build on one another. I usually schd. them to be tweeted once an hour or one a day for a period of days, set them up in tweetlater and move onto the next item! Karen Leland, author Time Management In An Instant:60 Ways to Make the Most of Your Day.

This post was originally published at Karen Leland’s Featured Small Business column on The Huffington Post.

New Year Resolutions Week

New Year Resolutions Week

The last few days of the year (the procrastinators among us hold off until the first week of January) is the time when most people sit down to formulate their New Year’s Resolutions. I think the reason this beginning-of-year activity is so popular is that we are a nation that loves the “do over.”

We fancy the idea that in one relatively short time span (a week, a day) we can raise the magic wand of declaration and erase the past year’s mistakes with its missed opportunities and make a fresh start. It’s the kind of feeling we get from putting on a clean white shirt, or opening a new box of Kleenex, or unwrapping an unused sponge for the sink and throwing away the grimy old one.

As we roll into January, I have been reflecting (in between shopping, cooking, planning, and partying) on my past resolutions of 2008 and my goals for 2009. To start, I sat down yesterday to review the goals I had set for myself with such good cheer and optimism in that first week of January, a mere twelve months ago.

Perhaps it’s twenty-five plus years as a management consultant, or all that time I have spent leading time management courses, or just my natural obsessively organized personality, but I always write down my goals and list them under subheadings by category – body/health, marriage, finance, family, creativity, etc.

The interesting thing is that the goals from the current year often bear a striking similarity to the goals from the previous one. The same desires appear, year after year, like flowers that bloom every spring from long-dormant bulbs. They have been hibernating, storing energy, and every year around this time are ready to spring forth with a fresh bunch of flowers, yet are still part of the same old plant.

Among other things, my yearly blooms always seem to include fitness, career, money and love. Doesn’t everyone’s? The fact that each fresh crop of resolutions is a slight variation on the same theme does not stop me from making them. I keep coming back for more.

Looking back, it’s actually been a pretty good year. I’ve achieved, if not all my goals, enough progress on them to make me feel like a productive member of my own life. I did write that series of books, sing in that play and start that exercise program.

As for the goals that I did not achieve in 2008, I have come to realize that some (i.e., run a marathon) were just good ideas, never meant to move beyond the page to the real world of action. To others, I gave my best shot (lose twenty pounds) and fell short (I lost nine).

Thankfully, this coming week is officially New Year’s Resolution week, so I can declare a “do over,” wipe the slate clean, and start again, bringing a fresh perspective and enthusiasm to my “new” goals, even if they happen to look an awful lot like the old ones.

This post was originally published at Karen Leland’s Featured Small Business column on The Huffington Post.

Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

n my office, on my desk, I have a plain white coffee cup that has written on it in simple black letters, “‘Do one thing every day that scares you’ — Eleanor Roosevelt.”

As I stare down the barrel of another year filled with hope, possibilities, challenges, and change, I think about what living the cup’s motto really means in practice.

It’s all too easy to stay in the same routine year after year, doing the same things, thinking the same thoughts, eating the same foods, doing the same job and engaging in the same hobbies. Relatively nothing new learned or risked. No standing on the cliff looking over the edge and thinking, “What am I going to do?” or “What have I done?” or “What the hell have I gotten myself into?”

The feeling of jumping out of your comfort zone so that a free-form anxiety grabs hold in the stomach and won’t let go. A lump in the throat that sits sedated like a cat sleeping on a hot spot where the sun comes in through the window in an otherwise dark and cold room. Then again, there are comfort zones and there are comfort zones. Among the risks that I won’t be taking this year are:

1. Climbing Mount Everest. First of all, it’s cold, really cold. Bone-chilling, long-underwear, ski-pants, parka-jacket, gloves-under-mittens cold. Secondly, there is the altitude, which, as I understand from hearing stories from people who actually are crazy enough to climb Everest, packs a real wallop to the head and stomach causing blinding headaches and constant nausea.

If this were not enough, consider those ice caverns or cracks or whatever they are called that at least once a year (if not more often) some climber falls into, descending to the bottomless pit of frozen blue, never to be seen or heard from again. The other members of the climbing team don’t even try to rescue the guy, but just place a bandanna on a stick, plunk it into the ground (in memory of) next to the site of their fallen comrade and place a cellphone call back home to the wife.

All this for the chance to freeze to death once you reach the top and are caught in a blinding snowstorm with sub-zero temperatures that descend in the wink of a cloud’s eye. No, thank you.

2. Sky dive. Do I even need to explain this one?

3. Wear a prairie skirt with Birkenstocks and white socks. If your reaction to this is, “Why not?” go immediately to your television set and Tivo TLC’s fun fashion makeover show What Not To Wear — all will become abundantly clear.

These are the things I won’t be doing to stretch beyond my comfort zone in 2009, but there are plenty of ways I plan to make scary (good scary) choices in my everyday life in the coming year.

Of course, from this vantage point this is an easy plan to make, but in the hurly burly head-long rush into life, I may have a bad day or two and be tempted to say, “No,” even when I ought to say, “Yes,” or “Yes” when I should be saying, “No.” No worries. Just in case, I have my coffee cup to remind me to break out of my comfort zone and do one thing every day that scares me.

To Break out of your comfort zone, try the following:

– Say yes to something you have always wanted to do, but been afraid to try for fear of failure, rejection or embarrassment.
– Say no to “a sure thing,” where you have the security of knowing the outcome but no passion for its pursuit.
– Say yes to a creative challenge, even if (at least for the moment) it does not carry a big financial reward.
– Say no to something you really don’t want to do, but are doing anyway out of guilt, fear or shame.
– Say yes to being of service to an individual, an organization or your community — without expectation of getting something back in return.

This post was originally published at Karen Leland’s Featured Small Business column on The Huffington Post.