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Set Aside Some Time
Google has the right idea with their 80/20 perk. 80% of your time must be spent working, the other 20% is yours to do with what you wish (as long as it is appropriate). Consider setting aside specific time to read Digg or Sphinn. Personally, I start the day strong checking my pertinent social profiles early in the morning, and leave softly with a few checkups. This works great for me, but you might find something that meets your needs a bit better.
Resist The Urge
I know it can be difficult, but that email in reference to a message about a shout in regard to that event can probably wait until your designated time. The people that need to contact you asap, usually know how. Otherwise, the message can probably wait just a bit. Of course, there are exceptions, but you can usually tell these from the “I just bit you with my vampire, please bite me” requests.
Cut The Fat
There are so many social sites out there. There are communities for just about any topic you can think of. I find it best to stick to the communities I know I can be most active in. That being said, I’m all to happy to start playing with a new site as it comes along to give it a chance. If I find I like to make use of it regularly, I re-evaluate all of my communities, and cut back on the sites I don’t get the most out of. Remember, you don’t have to delete your account, just back off of it for a bit.
You Get What You Give
In normal “everything has 2 sides” fashion, I’m also going to warn against ignoring a profile that you find to be useful. If you are going to take part in a community, really take part. If you have a profile that says “last logged in 40 days ago” or you don’t speak much, when it comes time to share what you have, nobody will be there to listen. You will only get out of social media what you are willing to give it.
The Right Tool For The Job
There are a ton of tools to help you consolidate your efforts. Just about every social site has a badge or widget or bit of code for you to make use of. Figure out what you need from what site in order to maximize your efforts. You can find a Twitter tool to work with your browser, eliminating the need to visit the site all together (this only works for cool browsers like Firefox).
Like all things fun and productive, you have to set a few rules to keep it so. If you let your social profiles get out of control, you will find it a difficult task to get things back in order. Try to find the times that work best for you, and attempt to make that a schedule. Evaluate the sites you are using most often, and consider cutting the rest.