From time to time, I am asked how I can keep up with numerous blog topics, twitter accounts, and Facebook pages while not making myself crazy.
Well OK, maybe I am actually crazy, that is up for debate.
However, what isn’t up for debate is that it takes a lot of content to keep all those accounts going and sharing new information every week. Truth is though, it’s not as much work as you might think. The trick is to let the tools do the heavy lifting. In this series of posts I want to look at how I manage to do this without spending every waking hour online. (Only most of them…)
Last week, I talked about how I get news and posts to come to me. This week, let’s talk about what happens when I see something I want to share.
So, here I am browsing one of my news sources, and I see a headline that sounds like something I want to share. What steps do I take to do so?
This is, by far, the most crucial step. Before I even think about how or where I want to share an article, I actually go and read it. I am not kidding. I am stunned by the large number of otherwise intelligent people who share links to complete BS, the kind of stuff that anyone with a modicum of intelligence would see is worthless if they just spent a minute actually looking at it.
So yes, I go and look at the post. I look at what site it’s is on, and consider whether that website is even a place I would want to link to. Sometimes, I can look at the URL and know already that it doesn’t matter what the article says, I’m not sharing it. To be fair to both political sides, anything from InfoWars or Occupy Democrats, for example. (Among quite a few other sites for a number of reasons). Also, anything that talks about the results of a study, or references a press release, etc. has to actually link to the study. It does no one any good to say “researchers have discovered that eating grass cures the common cold”, if you don’t link to any actual research.
Once I am satisfied that the article is legit, makes sense, and actually has something worthwhile to say, the next decision is relatively simple:
Do I have anything to add?
This becomes the deciding factor between just sharing the link or creating a blog post out of it. If I feel like there’s something I want to say about part of the article, I’ll turn it into a quick blog post, if I don’t really have anything to add, but think it’d be interesting for other folks to read, then I’ll just share it using the method below. If I’m truly not sure, I’ll simply add it to Pocket, to read and decide later. (Also a good place to drop things you want to spend more time reading/investigating before deciding whether to share it)
Diigo – IFTTT magic.
Once I’ve made the decision, I’m going to bookmark the post using Diigo. I have a number of tags setup in Diigo, and again, depending on what I want to do with the link, I’ll tag it accordingly. For example, if I just want to share it to folks who follow this blog on Twitter, it gets one tag. If I want to say more about it, it’ll get another tag, and I’ll add what I want to say in the description.
That’s where IFTTT kicks in. IFTTT stands for If This, Then That, and it’s a repository of applets that help automate life. In this case, I have a number of applets that say “If there’s a new Diigo item tagged “x” do that” Either sending it to WordPress as a new blog post, or adding it to a queue on Buffer to be tweeted, or shared on a Facebook page, at a later time.
So let’s take a look at how this plays out in real life:
I’m catching up on RSS feeds in Feedly. I read a really interesting little photography tutorial that I want to post to my Photo twitter account. I simply use the Diigo browser add in to tag it as such. Then, I come across some new research into mental health in US prisons that I want to post to my Child Abuse Survivor blog and make a point about the lack of mental health resources that are available, I tag it, and add a description. Continuing on, I find a few more links of a techie nature, about using 2FA for example that I want to share, again I use a different Tag in Diigo.
Then I sit back and let the magic happen.
That first link gets added to the queue for my photo twitter account on Buffer.
The second becomes a draft blog post, waiting for me to go clean up the formatting, add a header image and schedule to post. And when it does post, more applets push it to the Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook pages for that blog as well. (One even adds it back to the end of my Buffer queue with ICYMI added, to be posted a few days later.)
The third gets added to the queue for my professional Twitter account on Buffer, and since each tag on Diigo is also available as an RSS feed, it will also appear in the sidebar of the blog.
So simply by tagging in Diigo, and using Buffer to create a queue and a schedule for social media sharing, I wind up with a bunch of posts ready to go. I also end up with draft blog posts just waiting for me to log in and schedule, which then also get shared automatically to those same accounts, and I can do that across 4 different websites with the same exact tools.
With that foundation in place, then I can know that the accounts stay active, even if I don’t have time to be active with them. Of course, I do try and make some time to do that, to actually interact with folks, and respond to comments, etc. I will also dig into the archives and schedule shares of posts I wrote this same week years ago, if applicable. But I don’t have to feel that pressure to “tweet something” every day, these tools are taking care of that for me.
How do you keep your social media accounts active? Do you have any great IFTTT recipes that help you with social media?