I've been thinking a lot about the concept of social productivity as it relates to using social media and chewing on a post that Chris Brogan wrote a few days ago called "You Can Do Your Job Without Twitter." I keep thinking there has to be a sweet spot between social productivity and personal productivity.
Marnie Webb left a comment about this in a nonprofit context. There are many tasks in a nonprofit day-to-day life - like grant writing, hiring someone, or prepping a board meeting where personal productivity matters most - connectedness really doesn't play a factor in getting these tasks off the to do list. She goes on to say that there are other activities that really require moving a network - and social productivity.
So, the real question is - if you have both of these types of tasks to accomplish- they take different approaches, probably use different sides of your brain, etc. How do you organize your productivity tools effectively?
The other day I got a Tweet from Joselin Mane a Boston-area social media strategy consultant from LITbel who has worked with small businesses and nonprofits, including El Mundo to let me know about his Social Media Kit.
What caught my eye was his diagram of how one might use a collection of google apps to for social media listening. The diagram shows the tools and on page 6 he lists the basic features for each of the tools. I might tweak this dashboard and also add Google Analytics to keep an eye on your referrals.
(1) Email - to reply to blog comments, filter updates/alerts from social networking sites, catch google alerts related to your social media strategy
(2) Google Alerts - set up on your key words, name, url, organizational issues or anything that is critical to monitor as part of your social media strategy
(3) Google Reader - this would include feeds that you've set up for listening (persistent searches, summize searches, and the like) as well as critical blogs and web sites you need to monitor.
(4) IGoogle - this would your customized gateway. I'd set this up with the mission critical feeds to read, plus perhaps a google analytics report, google notes (for a to do list), etc
You could actually set up a specific gmail acocunt just for your social media activities and this would seperate it from your regular business email account and work flow. I've been thinking a lot about this as a way to "time box" the listening and participation activities which can be open-ended and cause you to loose track of time. This way, I'd have a "social productivity suite" -- which where I would do my listening, participating, and other networking work. The "efficiency or personal productivity suite" would be the place for all business and work related email and activities that are not related to social media and don't require collaboration.
Right now everything comes into one account and I have specific folders set up based on whether it is a social activity or not. When I open my google/gmail accounts, I have to a purpose and a goal - and be very disciplined or else risk getting distracted.
This is probably more of an issue for those folks who work in nonprofits and have social media responsibilities as part of their work, not all their work. Can we expect that down the road five or ten years that we might have "social literacies, skills, and competencies" at the nonprofit staff level? Certainly we have a baseline of digital literacy skills, but what does that mean in web 2.0, social media context?
- What are your best tips or techniques for balancing social productivity with personal productivity?