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How do you keep up with the social media rat race?

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If there’s a common theme I’ve been hearing from folks lately, it’s this: I’m overwhelmed. Too much to do. Not enough time to do it. There’s your day-to-day duties. 2011 strategic planning. Managing your team. And, oh by the way, you have to keep up with trends, best practices and new tools on a weekly basis.

I’m right there with you. Although I get paid to stay on top of trends, news and the newest tools for my clients, I struggle, too. I think if you’re not struggling, you’re either lying or you’re some super-human cyborg cut from some kind of Terminator meets Predator cloth.

So, if you can’t keep up, what can you do?

You do your best. You set up systems and processes to try to find 1-2 nuggets a day that will benefit your client or organization. Without this kind of discipline, you will fall behind. Quickly.

What do I suggest? Below are a few ideas to get your head wrapped around the process and discipline I’m talking about:

* Build a blog reading system. No matter what Reader you use, it’s all about breaking down your blog reading list into chunks, lists and niches that are easily consumable. I use Feedly. I like it because I can separate my lists by client, geography (I have a list of MN-based blogs in there) and industry. Then, spend the first half hour of your day reading. Block it on your calendar. Don’t accept any meetings. It can happen.

* Pick 2 chats a week and actively participate. Don’t spread yourself too thin on Twitter. Stick with just two chats a week and actively participate in them both. I may actually start taking a rolling approach as I rotate between chats from week to week–but never taking more than two on in any given week. In particular, I’ll probably focus on #pr20chat, #measurepr, #journchat and #hcsm among others.

* Don’t forget SlideShare. People forget about SlideShare but it’s one of the real under-used resources when it comes to thought leadership on the social Web. Make sure to check out SlideShare regularly–or, if you’re like me, insert it into your Reader so you’re reviewing content regularly. With so many people presenting on topics around online marketing and digital PR right now, you’re likely to find a few nuggets you can use each week.

* Pick a handful of industry events to hit in 2011. Your time is at a premium, right? Then ditch the networking and recognition events and focus keenly on events that deliver educational value. More specifically, make a list of the skills you want to acquire or brush up on in the year ahead and then target industry events that will help you build or refine those skills.

What other tips do you have for keeping up with the social media rat race?

Note: Photo courtesy of saulk61 via FlickR Creative Commons.

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How do you keep up with the social media rat race?

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