April 27, 2008

My Social Media Consumption Workflow

Amidst watching some talk about how they are reducing time in Google Reader due to information overload, or switching away from one service for another, whether due to its features, the friends, the noise or the content, I've been thinking a bit about how I consume social media, and specifically, the order of how I do it, to be sure I've caught up on everything quickly.

There's no question the amount of information I consume can be daunting. Glancing quickly, as of this morning:

1) I have 270 RSS subscriptions in Google Reader, sending between 500 and 800 items a day.
2) I follow 490 Twitter users.
3) I am subscribed to 269 FriendFeed users.
4) I have 210 Facebook "friends".

On the back of all this information coming this direction, I am pushing out information:

1) Posting one or two items here daily (1,300 so far)
2) Updating people on Twitter (334 updates so far)
3) Comments and Likes on FriendFeed (1,135 and 643 respectively)

In addition, there are a number of ways to engage and act on the data.

1) Adding bookmarks to Del.icio.us (630 so far)
2) Tracking activity via Technorati and Google Blog Search
3) Tracking comments here and elsewhere via Disqus
4) Trading e-mail with readers, entrepreneurs and peers

Add the above to a way a typical non-robot views the Web, including viewing news, sports and entertainment, not to mention everything to go with work and family obligations, and it can be hard to know where to start. While there's no question I'll vary from this process from time to time, below is a good idea of how I start the day in social media.

1) It always starts with e-mail. E-mail helps me know what's actionable. From e-mail, I can find out and act on:
a) New Twitter, FriendFeed and Facebook connections
b) Direct Messages from Twitter
c) New comments on the blog via Disqus
d) If Google Blog Search has uncovered references to the blog
e) If there are conversations about upcoming posts or new services to check out.

When e-mail activity is completed, I open the Web browser. While FriendFeed is my home page, I usually leave it on the first visit of the day, and head to Google Reader, to rapidly consume the Web.

2) Reading Google Reader, I can catch up on the night's blog posts, add items to my link blog, or open posts in a new tab to bookmark or comment.

3) I'll open Twitter and do a quick scan of the first few pages of "tweets" from those I'm following to see what the discussions of the day are. I'll also check the replies tab to see if anybody tried to send me a message where action is required.

4) I head to FriendFeed.

Why is FriendFeed last in this order? It's because unlike the first three, which feel like work, where there is an action that needs to take place, or a task that needs clearing, FriendFeed is more like the finish line, where I can finally relax and engage with peers. I don't necessarily want to be rushed when I'm on FriendFeed, but can take time to see what others have done throughout the Web, make comments and respond to others who have commented on my own activity.

Also, visiting FriendFeed last here means that my feed is "properly" filled, with shared items from Google Reader, bookmarked items from Del.icio.us, any updates on Twitter, etc.

5) Additional activity

All other social media activity is optional, and comes when it makes sense. That would include:
a) Submitting items to the Elite News Tech Reddit
b) Digging items from the Upcoming list of Digg's Technology section
c) Visiting Shyftr and posting comments or responding to conversations.
d) Seeing what's popular on LinkRiver, ReadBurner or RSSMeme.
e) Checking trends and news on TechMeme and the TechMeme River.

Everybody has their own route to how they consume and act upon social media. This is how I tend to do it, so I feel I'm on top of things. Am I doing it wrong? How do you go about your social media workday?