If you’re anything like me, you get inefficient when things aren’t organized. And if you’re anything like me, the number of networks/groups/randomness that I’m connected to online is huge, and can sometimes feel unwieldy. To me, better organization means more time and more focus of energies. I also know people who shy away from some of the great online tools because it’s “just too much.” What a pity, if only they streamlined it, it could be quite rewarding.
So I’ve devised a few ways that I organize my online life.
- Mimic your communities across platforms as much as possible
With all the Twitters and the FriendFeeds and the Facebooks and the this-and-thats, how do you keep up? What I try and do as much as possible is make my communities the same across each platform. Most of them have ways of searching other platforms to see if some of your connections crossover. Remember, if you’re up on new place to be, a lot of them are too (or you’re getting referred to new places by them!). This way you communities are generally the same.
To me, this means I don’t need to be so concerned about keeping everything, everywhere, immediately updated, or that I’m losing large portions of my network in one place, or that. Plus, the developers of “new things” know that there’s a switching cost for users, so they try and make that as easy as possible. This brings me to my next suggestion.
- Whenever possible, link your tools or communities together
This allows you to kill two birds… or three…or ten… in one stone. Why WOULDN’T you do that? Usually this is in the preferences or settings tab.
- Read the website of each tool you use
At least in my experience, these “things” can do a whole lot more than I think they can at first. So every time I get a new one, I spend 10 or 20 minutes reading about it, and reading reviews about it, so I have a much better handle of what it’s doing for me. Would you install a microwave without reading what all those darn buttons do? Well, ok, not gunna lie, I do that, but then again, maybe I’m not the most efficient microwaver (touche to myself…. and I don’t use the microwave much).
- Have one central place to organize the links
The way I so this is old school. I have a folder on my bookmarks toolbar, labeled simply “Online Tools” (tricky, I know), and I have the links to all the networks or whatever right in there. When you get upwards of ten (which is low for some people!) you forget some sometimes. It makes for a pseudo To Do list. You can figure out the best way to do this on your computer depending on how you use it. The idea is just that there’s one place where their all cataloged and easily accessible.
The last two items I’d like to throw out have less to do with organizing your online life, but how to fit it enjoyably into your “real” life (you know what I mean).
- Make your online community into your “real” community as much as possible
Many of the people you connect to online, you’ll know in person. But there may be a lot that you don’t (Twitter makes this very easy!). To make those connections more meaningful, try and meet up offline with as many people as you can, even it’s just for beers at a Tweet-Up (I missed one last night organized in part by Chris Brogan, who I’ve been following on Twitter. It seems that close to 30 people went).
- Unplug sometimes Last night, I went unplugged from 6pm onwards, and it was awesome. I read a magazine, made dinner and relaxed and my mind unwound. I highly suggest this to anyone
What tips do you have for organizing yourself online? Please comment below.
Also, I would like to extend this challenge to anyone. I’m only going to give you my Twitter name (just_kate), and see how many different places you can connect to me from (hint: I’ve mentioned a few tools above…..).
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