Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: I recently asked NYT Best Selling author Chris Bohjalian how he managed social media. Beside corralling it to early morning and evening (after he completed his writing goals for the day), he also said that he posts 40 to 50 comments/tweets a day (which he said takes about 30 minutes.) “If I can’t give my readers 30 minutes a day then I’m a despicable person,” he said.
We all struggle with social media – what’s too much, what’s not enough. Let’s take a look at how our writers handle this raging bull.
Wendy Thomas: I’ll be the first to admit that I spend far too much time on social media. I try to answer as many comments and tweets as I can. The thought of setting a limit, quite honestly, has never occurred to me. I typically keep my social media windows open at all times and when I hear the siren cry of that beep indicating I have an interaction – well I just have to stop what I’m doing to check it out (and there is never any “just checking it out” I always come up many minutes later wondering where the time has gone.)
I’m using Freedom (and it now has an updated feature (you pay for this) where you can schedule uninterrupted time.) I’ve tried to schedule my own time, but it doesn’t seem to work. I need a strict guard to the internet telling me “not right now, later, but not right now.” Social media is an ongoing problem that I continue to try and manage.
Jamie Wallace: I’m afraid that I’m guilty of the same crimes Wendy confessed. Though I know that I should relegate social media (in my case: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, responding to comments here, and reading/sharing other blogs) to certain times of the day, I can’t quite seem to bring myself to cut off my 24/7 access to the digital conversation. Like Wendy, I almost always have tabs open in my browser to my social media pages, and I tend to “visit” there more often than I should.
That said, I have put some order to the madness by doing *most* of my blog reading at night during an otherwise unproductive time and queuing up tweets via Buffer (my most favorite social media tool for scheduling social media updates). I also try to batch process the bulk of my comment responses. Though this often means carving out a whole hour (or more), I believe it’s more efficient than posting ad hoc responses in real time.
I am always trying to assess the value or “ROI” (return on investment, in my case an investment of time) of my social media activities. At the moment, since I’m not actively promoting anything specific, it’s hard to measure whether or not my time is being well spent. I continue playing in these spaces (and organically building my communities there) so that – hopefully – when I do have something to promote, I’ll have an existing audience to talk to. I’ll get back to you once I see how that works out. 😉