My first mobile device was a pager. Remember pagers? If you wanted to reach me, you’d call a number, punch in your phone number, and a few minutes later I’d get a “beepbeepbeep” on my hip (I wore that thing EVERYWHERE).

As rudimentary as pager technology sounds today, it was a very fundamental shift in the way I interacted with the world. No longer did I have to sit at home by the phone waiting for an important call. People could reach me wherever I was, whenever they wanted to. I was accessible. I was mobile. 

Today, we take for granted how mobile and connected we are. Not only do we have the ability to be reached 24/7, but we have access to the entire world in the palm of our hands. We can look up any bit of information we desire at any moment. We can instantly reach out to our friends and family, no matter where on the planet they are. We can put our ideas out to the world in the blink of an eye. We have access, and we are accessible, and we don’t even bat an eye about it most days.

As much as all this connectivity is great, it’s had a significant impact on our lifestyles. Our days are much different now than they were 10 or 15 years ago. Information comes at us from multiple directions now. Where information used to be like a dripping tap, now, it’s a bucket being poured over our heads. Add in the layer of social connectivity on top of that, and it’s enough to send most people into a tailspin (or give it up entirely).

Where has the time gone?

I believe that all this connectivity, while essentially good, has really thrown us for a loop when it comes to managing our time. Social media does not keep 9 to 5 hours, and for those people who are trying to maintain a consistent work schedule, it can be a real challenge to keep up. Maintaining a blog, remembering to tweet, responding to messages – it can be overwhelming to manage it all and still keep the boss and your clients happy. I’m not going to lie – social media can be a huge time suck. And for a lot of people, it’s a time suck they can’t afford. So instead of finding ways to manage social media, most people just don’t bother. And as far as I’m concerned, not bothering means you’re missing out on plenty of valuable connections and business opportunities.

Get your life back.

I have some good news for you. It IS possible to be active in social media and still have a life, see your kids and meet your deadlines. It’s really all about finding ways to manage the flow of information, while staying focused on what you want to achieve.

In the 6 or so years I’ve been active in the social space, I’ve learned a lot about how to manage my time. I connect and share on a regular basis, and still have time to run a successful business, teach college courses, and even see my family! And now I get to share with you how I (and lots of the pros) do it.

University, HootSuite-style.

I’m thrilled to announce that I’m part of HootSuite University’s Lecture Series, and today is the launch of my seminar called “Get Your Life Back: Tips for Effective Social Media Management”. In it, I present 4 tips (plus a bonus!) on managing social media while still being able to maintain your sanity and your business. This presentation is geared to small business owners, but I think anyone can benefit. In it, you’ll learn:

  • Why social media campaigns often fail
  • Business vs. social media goals
  • The social tools you should be using
  • BONUS: How to manage social media in 1 hour/day
  • … and more!
The presentation is available to everyone for FREE from today (September 13th) until September 19th. After that, it will be open to anyone who is a part of HootSuite University. You can go here to register. 

I’ll also be participating in the #HSUChat Twitter chat with HootSuite U next Tuesday, September 18th, at 2:00 p.m. ET. I’ll be taking your questions on managing social media, so please join in if you can.

I look forward to continuing the discussion with you, and please, do let me know what you think of the lecture.

[photo by HAINBACHKAR]