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Feeling Overwhelmed by Social Media and Web 2.0? – Here Are 5 Tips For You

Last week I spoke with a blogger who had thrown the towel in on his blog. One day he simply stopped posting with no explanation.

I emailed to ask him why he stopped and his response was:

“I can’t keep up with the advances in technology. Every day there is a new tool, widget or social networking site to test out. I can’t keep up. I’m feeling overwhelmed by it. So I gave up.”

This is a sentiment I’m hearing a lot lately. Bloggers are increasingly feeling the pressure to have their fingers in lots of pies at once and are feeling overwhelmed by the choice and effort needed to ‘keep up’.

We look at people like Robert Scoble who manage to keep blogs afloat, produce videos, engage with thousands of people on Twitter, FriendFeed and who knows how many other social accounts – all while having a family and traveling the world speaking at conferences! Our efforts in comparison to people like Robert pale by comparison….

If you’re feeling this pressure I’d like to talk to you today and give you a few words of encouragement.

Image by danielgebhart

5 Tips for Overwhelmed Bloggers

1. You’re Not Alone

There are days when I look at the things that I do and feel like I’m going backwards. I’m lucky enough to be able to dedicate full time hours (in fact I’m probably doing this 60-70 hours a week) to what I do – and I there are times when I can’t keep up!

You’re not alone. I hear stories of people who can’t ‘keep up’ every day.

2. Focus Upon Your Core Tasks

My Mum isn’t on Facebook, she’s never heard of Twitter, she thinks YouTube is a deodorant stick and things RSS is something most people keep in their boxer shorts.

Sometimes it feels like we’re falling behind in adopting technology but it is good remind ourselves that what we do do online is actually ahead of the curve of the majority of ‘real people’.

What I remind myself on those days when I feel overwhelmed by it all is that 95% of the people who read my main blog don’t really care that much about social media or web 2.0 – they’re coming to my blog to read information on how to use their cameras.

As a result my core task is to develop that content and to distribute it using mediums that they are familiar with. My core task is NOT to have my finger on the pulse of every new technology. While it can be helpful to know about the latest widgets and tools to become distracted by them could actually be taking me further away from my audience.

3. Be Smart, Establish Boundaries and Focus Your Energies

I am not suggesting that we all ignore social media, emerging web technologies or forget about Web 2.0.

There is a lot to like about Web 2.0 and it can bring a lot of life to your blogging. However unless you’re blogging about Technology or have a very Web Savvy audience you’d do well to pick and choose what you do and don’t focus your attention on and to put boundaries around these activities.

I wish I could list the 3 tools and technologies that you should focus upon – but it will differ for each blog and every topic – but rather than focusing upon everything, narrow your focus and pick a few achievable technologies to ‘play’ with at a time. My approach with social media has always be to pick up new technologies one at a time rather than to start with multiple ones at once.

Picking new tools to play with one at a time allows you to fully understand it, work out how it might work for you and to add it to your natural work flow. Do too many new things at once and you’re not likely to be able to integrate them into your life to it’s potential.

Remember my post from last week on Home bases and Outposts and how it relates to Social Media – while spending time on outposts can be useful you also need to spend time on your home base – that needs to be your priority.

On Boundaries – One of the techniques that I use to help me to put boundaries around the things that I do is to use Batch Processing. Put most simply it is about setting aside blocks of time to work on tasks in a focused way instead of flitting from one thing to another all day.

4. They are Tools – Refocus Upon Your Goals

Sometimes the tools and technologies become bigger than they need to be. I am constantly reminding myself to spend less time focusing upon the tools and more time focusing upon my goals.

If you know what you want to achieve you can then decide how to move towards that desired goal. In doing so you can select the best tools for the job. If you start with the medium or the tools and try to fit it to your ‘goals’ and objectives you’ll just get muddled.

Web 2.0 technologies can help you achieve your goals – but they are much more effective if you know what you want to achieve.

5. Have Fun

Sometimes I take things too seriously. Sure – blogging has become a business and a way of sustaining my family so there needs to be some element of taking it seriously – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Social media is a space that is at it’s best when it is fun and playful. Let it bog you down and you’re kind of defeating the purpose of it all.

What would you add as a tip for people feeling overwhelmed by social media and Web 2.0 technologies?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Yes, I think the keyword (heh) there is “tools”. One has to quickly be able to surmise whether a new tool will actually provide utility, or not. Riding the wave of the latest Web 2.0 tool is detrimental if it does not provide some benefit to you.

  2. Having fun is a great tip. I need to have some more fun with my entrepreneus blog. I have been focusing too much on making it grow. If I have fun then it will be better overall and I will be in it for the long run.
    Great tips

  3. Have fun is great advice. Unless blogging really is your job, in which case it is another discussion, then your blog should be a fun hobby.

    When it starts to overwhelm you then you are taking it to seriously. You don’t have to try everything out. Heck, you don’t really have to try anything out if you don’t want to.

  4. I am actually so much enjoying being on the web. I take blogging as a hobby and not as a work. Enjoy what you are doing so that you won’t be bored ^_^

  5. Great tips! I agree with no. 1 and 4.

  6. Me too. I get overwhelmed. Today I just updated some social networks that I had signed up a few months ago.

    For me I find it suitable to learn those tools one at a time. You’re right about keeping focused on goals. Tools are there to simply increase productivity.

    Now I’m off to having some fun. Thanks for reminding me.

  7. To get the most marketing impact from your social media efforts, I would suggest finding, joining, and focusing your efforts on niche social networking sites where your potential customers are hanging out.

    Also, oftentimes, less is more. If you focus on a few sites and really become a part of those communities, you will create a more loyal following and build more trust with the people in those communities.

  8. This is a good reminder for people who do blog as a hobby that keep it fun. I am having fun with mine and I am working on broadening my horizons with this. Thanks for the tips.

  9. Glad to know I am not alone! Information overload for sure. I realized when I had 369 bookmarks of tools and such I HAD to have and would get back to later. Yeah, didn’t happen. Well one tip I am already doing – Blogging is SO much fun.

  10. Great set of tips. As a new blogger, I feel a little overwhelmed trying to decide which social media to tackle first (and how to do it right) as I attempt to market my blog. Thanks for the advice!

  11. I also gave up on my blog near the beginning of the year. I found that I was putting in way too much effort into keeping up with all of the tools, tricks and web 2.0 stuff.

    In September I decided to start up again, but with more of a part time approach. Before I was posting on a daily basis, staying up late, avoiding friends and family, reading a ton of blogs in my RSS. SO now I have paired it scaled it down a lot. I read a few core blogs, post on a bi-weekly basis, focus on just a few of the “tools” I am enjoying myself a lot more now.

    Plus I have started to make more money than before. Less work, more focus, equals more money…huh,,whoda thunk it!

  12. Good thoughts on a topic that has come up a lot lately. I mean how could you not get overwhelmed with some of this stuff. I can’t keep up with FriendFeed, so I gave it up. I use twitter sparingly and barely have time for linked in and facebook. I’m sticking with content and adding comments and social links when I can.

    We can’t afford to get sidetracked.

  13. I also find it hard to keep up with all the new technologies coming out every day. That’s why one day I just stopped :)

  14. I find that sometimes it isn’t fun–lots of work but I love what I am doing.

    I do keep my eye on the technology but these days focus on quality content for my main blog and working on moving the rank of one of my projects.

    What I find useful are the tools that help me to consolidate my efforts across many different social media groups.

    Ultimately for my efforts I am seeing results–more comment and increased ranking.

    I spend one day on content and now am moving the other time blocks into marketing and other efforts.

  15. So far my blog is still fun, though it’s only been around a few months. The main thing I’m conecentrating on is posting about subjects that I’M interested in and not putting pressure on myself to post on any kind of schedule, which will make this feel more like a job than a passion.

  16. Having fun is seriously the most simple, but biggest point to make out of all of these. If you are having fun with your blog, you can make adjustments to the technology with ease.

  17. My tip: Start Small & in Just One Place

    I’m teaching a social networking class and some of my students got totally brain-fried and overwhelmed when I had them get set up in 7 different places.

    So I recommend getting started in one place (either Facebook or Twitter). Spend a few weeks (or more) learning the culture of the network, tweeking your profile, gaining friends/followers, and learning the skill & art of social networking.

    Then, when you are ready, you will already have much of the content you need for other networks (just cut and paste that profile info!) and the skills to quickly get up to speed and grow your network.

    I’ve been spending a hour plus a day for 9 months to get up to speed on social networking … so be patient, it takes a while!

    ~ @ElizabethPW

  18. Setting boundaries and batch processing are essential. If it weren’t for those, I would have given up too.

  19. I have felt this way before aswell. Actually, yesterday I did not publish the post I had written, because I did not feel like taking the time to tell anyone about it. I do not like publishing a post silently. However, if you have no time, you should spend your time on publishing and writing for the blog rather than anything else. Quality first, it is googles job to put that quality at the top!

  20. Our blog,. sheepsheadbites.com doesn’t have ads or any means of generating income. We stay motivated to keep posting, because we are looking forward to the good we can do for the community, Sheepshead Bay. It helps with keeping up with posts, if you remind yourself about all the people who are looking forward to reading your posts. Thanks for writing.

  21. Hi Darren,

    As always thanks for keeping it real. I totally feel that way, twitter I am okay with, it’s the video blogging. for some reason that is scarying me. I know people have had a lot of success with it, but what happened to being annoymous!! I guess I will have to change my ways and hop on board.


  22. Spend a half an hour per day reading feeds and posting comments. Spend 15 minutes perusing forums (through a feed reader). Spend 15 minutes checking on your various ad networks and affiliate programs. Give all the rest of your time to creative tasks – reading, thinking, writing, and being with people that matter, face-to-face. It’s still all about offering great content, which ultimately comes from the soul, which is fed by interaction with real faces.

  23. I like the Have Fun tip. Even if you’re a pro blogger, like yourself Darren, you cannot lose the fun in it that you had initially. And none will make it far in blogging if they do not enjoy doing so. Don’t lose sight of the original passion that spurred you to create your blog.

  24. Your point 2 is one to remember – we are ahead of the curve. I’m the only one of my offline friends who writes a blog, and only about three others read them.
    And I think there’s a huge opportunity, both for probloggers and those of us who blog for other reasons. My question: how do we tap into that audience of potential readers who use the web for other things but don’t yet read blogs?

  25. keeping up with Web 2.0 is overwhelming. There is so much to learn and then there is this twitter a constant companion that sticks by you wasting hours. I get tired of these newer sites and about 40-50 of these social media. The traffic ? Its questionable at best.

  26. Your second point about core tasks really makes a lot of sense. When my snake’s blog was started I decided I was going to focus on it and when/if I got around to working on A Blog about Nothing I would. Like you I’m trying to give people information not win a social contest with the snake blog and by realizing this I’ve saved myself a lot of time and effort.

  27. I can totally relate to feeling overwhelmed. But for you, Darren, you don’t have to worry quite as much as those of use who are not even close to being established. With that said, I think you are right on in terms of having fun and staying focused on the tasks at hand..

  28. This is excellent. I think you meant “thinks” not “things”…

  29. Thank you. This is a great guide. I love the social networking/2.0 but it is hard to keep up. Plus, you can spend a lot of time with them. I am going to pick a few and get good at managing them. (Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Twitter Moms & Travel writers forum)

  30. That’s right! Those technologies are just tools.

    Unless I know how to use, I don’t need it.

  31. This is a good post. For me, I am in the process of redesigning my web site into a full fledge blog. During this time, I have been studying which social media tools, I could use to promote my future blog.

    Thing is, I truly believe a blogger should just concentrate more on great content, seo principles, ppc marketing and commenting on other blogs with useful information, with a link back to their web sites.

    I think social media sites are just more ways to add on additional on traffic. Once my blog is ready, I will primarily focus on 3 to 5 social media sites and call it a day.

    I am not going to lose sleep over how many freakin’ social media sites I need to be on. I have a full time job, and writing posts and doing other marketing strategies before social media is a handful.

    Just my 2 cents.

  32. Good tips! But that’s actually good, that every days comes something new out, because people are very many writing similar stuff..at least they have something to write about all the time..

  33. great advice on batch processing. i do find that i get more done when i focus, as opposed to trying to do too much multitasking.

  34. The picture with this post says says it all.

    I used to feel that I “had to” join some social networks even if I didn’t like them. Now I’m trying to only use the ones I like.

  35. Good points. I learned about 2 years ago that there is more to life than trying to keep up with all the Web 2.0 changes. I’ve scaled down to 3 blogs and just a couple of social media sites and now have fun doing them.

    After 3 years of blogging, I’ve learned that you need to take care of your blog and not to worry about the latest internet craze. Do the blog and everything else falls into place.

    Just my experience.

  36. I like this post very much as I was lost too in this huge set of tools available and all crucial to my blogging experience as say their editors. I took some time to think about all this and finally found a way to stay alive ! Did the difference between personal use (FB, Flickr), blogs promotion and coffee machine corner (Twitter) and news (Netvibes, Wikio). Everything else is not crucial.
    Keep on writing such notes, it’s the kind of material needed to stay … focused ;)

  37. I’ve met many bloggers whose complaints echo that of your friend’s. They just can’t keep up. I always tell them that they don’t possibly need an account on every social media site in order to find traffic online. As you also suggest, I tell them to figure out which Web 2.0 sites or tools are relevant to their niche. Thanks for your additional suggestions! Very helpful!

  38. You speak for a lot of guilt-ridden, hyperactive bloggers out here. Good post. Thanks.

  39. Thank you for this post. I’ve been on a real journey with my blog in the past few months, whether to keep it going or not. Thankfully, have had some wonderful comments from new and old readers in the past few weeks that reignited my drive to keep it going. Yes, keeping up with everything is difficult, and even admitted very openly on my blog only last week, but it’s given me new inspiration to take a step back and manage it all just a touch better. Quality, not quantity it what counts. Very helpful post though with just what many of us in the blogosphere needed to read! Thanks!

  40. Focus Your Energies – very apt advice. It’s so easy to be spread too thin with all the different avenues of social media. Be focused and you shall remain ahead.

  41. I think anyone who feels overwhelmed by web 2.0 needs to take some time and do some research. Since there are so many social networks out there, instead of trying to join them all, join a few and connect with as many people as you can on them instead of trying to spread yourself among to many networks.

  42. I gave Twitter a trial run but decided it just wasn’t for me right now. Instead, I’m focusing on building up a substantial library of great content. I found it too distracting to attempt both at the same time, especially since I post daily. I’ll probably return to social networking after I have at least 500 posts, at which point I can slow down my posting frequency to 3 or 4 per week. : )

  43. Funny, I just had this conversation with my husband tonight. Specifically my need to pull back from flickr uploads and focus my energies on building my blog photo gallery. I personally use the batch processing concept and when I find I’m consistently running out of time in certain areas I know it’s time to scale back my expectations and re-focus. Thanks for the timely reminder.

  44. I just started with Twitter, and I think it’s just that initial phase, where you can’t seem to find contacts that align with your same interests, that is overwhelming. Once I become comfortable with something, it becomes like second nature. Rather than a chore, my social media sites – facebook and twitter – are things I can do almost on auto pilot. Which probably explains how I manage to spend so much time on them without even noticing it fly by!

    I’m trying stumbleupon next and I’m going to ask for advice through my blog, as well as on twitter. Who knows? Maybe I can have a ton of advice before I’ve even joined.

  45. Hi Darren, I sooooo agree with you on the fun aspect – if you’re making Twitter or Stumbleupon (for example) a chore then take a break – it should be fun while also having that focus of purpose for why you’re doing it – keeping your market, your message in mind. There’s no reason you cannot have fun with it at the same time. ;)

  46. Denise says: 10/18/2008 at 11:59 am

    I was a bit relieved to see this post too. Even though I’m still in the process of setting up, I too become overwhelmed with so much to learn, all the social media venues, the variety of available sites and tools, learning this, learning that, and on and on. Being a perfectionist (I’m working on curbing this), thinking I just must have “all my ducks in a row”-and that everything has to be just so.. I could possibly just drive myself ‘crackers.’ I do realize it isn’t using my time very constructively, and thus the productivity level and everything else I’m striving for does suffer. Thanks for the ‘Important Tips’ Darren.

  47. This is great advice. The worst thing you can do is get the tail (social media) wagging the dog (actual content).

  48. I have just barely started my blog, but I get so overwhelmed and caught up in the social site marketing of it that I get too brain-dead to make posts!

    The social sites and the visitors and the comments and all that are no good if there’s no content!

  49. Professional Blogging is sure very taught tasks unless you “enjoy” doing it!

    Posting frequency is very important to keep the blog going, “too much” will get you exhausted, “too less” will lose your stickiness for your readers…

    We just need to find our comfort posting frequency…

  50. pick one or two and get very good at it!

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