Do you have more than one Social Media account? Are you on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn? Do you blog?   Are you exhausted yet?

There IS a solution for you to tame your time spent engaging with Social Media so that you can indeed connect with people, but do it efficiently and still keep your day job. I’m a Social Media Consultant and I still need to structure my time and manage my resources so that I’m not taking a nose dive into the endless abyss of rabbit holes offered continuously on Twitter and Facebook.

You’ve got to remember that you’re the one who drives your media bus, not the media itself.  This is another message for another time, but suffice to say that in order to make the most of your social media connections, which are hopefully strategic instead of pellmell, you need a central location where you can see what’s going on quickly and move on until you have a few minutes to read a post or two that grabs your attention.

There are a few great, free web applications that provide a dashboard for you to stay on top of your activity.  Here are three I’d like to review:

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is by far my favorite web application for managing Social Media accounts. It can include Facebook profiles, Facebook fan pages, LinkedIn, a multitude of Twitter accounts, MySpace, and Foursquare.  I’ve been invited to participate in a private Team CollaborationWebinar by them today to discuss their latest features, which will include having multiple admins, among many more features.  Visit here tomorrow for all the details.

TweetDeck

TweetDeck gives you the capability to view several different Twitter lists at the same time and offers cool customization features that other services don’t offer. It’s the first web application for Twitter that I adopted and while I really did love the general effect, I found it distracting to have open all the time on my desktop and much prefer to leave a tab open on my browser for occasional reference. This way I can better compartmentalize my time spent on it so that I can spend the majority of my time with people face to face, designing, and, writing.  They just recently released a version for iPad, which I have to admit looks really cool – and distracting!

Gist

Gist is a very interesting and even more involved possible solution to the big question of how to manage Social Media accounts efficiently.  They have devised a system that can integrate all your email and social media accounts and organize them into one service that focuses on the people you know, rather than the different mediums. I find this to be intriguing, because different media have different personalities.  LinkedIn, for example, is very professional while Facebook profiles can be extremely informal and just a place where people wind down by connecting with others for a few minutes. What’s revolutionary about Gist is that they are all about “getting the most out of your professional network.” I’ll research and experiment with this more over the next few days, so please do check back or just subscribe so that you don’t miss what could mean a lot of time savings and savvy use of your social media network.

Does this help? How do YOU spend your time with Social Media? Enquiring minds want to know!

Lori