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Social technology eating into your time?

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If you find it hard to keep up with Facebook, Twitter and other social-media tools, you’ll love this idea for a New Year’s resolution: Stop trying to keep up with social technology.

Alexandra Samuel, CEO of Social Signal, a social media agency, says you could spend half your life trying to figure out the latest, greatest tool—so don’t even bother trying.

To refocus your relationships:

Start with the social-technology network you’re already on, whether it’s LinkedIn or something else. Reach out to former classmates, past employers, people who share your niche interests, or friends of friends.

It’s not about how many contacts you have in your circle. It’s about finding people with whom you can build a real relationship. Don’t waste time with people who will merely offer you the equivalent of a head-nod as you pass them on the street.

Think of status updates as a way to communicate, not to broadcast or brag. For example, it’s possible to use Twitter as a way to inspire, collaborate with, meet or learn from others. If you’re simply tweeting about what you had for lunch, you’re missing the boat.

Twitter tip: Use your Twitter tool (Tweetdeck, Nambu, etc.) to create Twitter groups based on what you seek from the individuals in each group. Example: A “Meet” group could be made up of other locals, while an “Inspire” group could give you an uplifting feeling.

To reach your business goals:

Spend your resources on the platforms that are a fit for your goals and culture. Put aside the rest.

Start by “lurking,” so you can see how people participate on a certain platform.

Samuel says you should consider, “What’s the minimum level of engagement required to have a credible presence on that platform? If you aren’t able to deliver that over the long haul, you probably want to call things off now until that changes.”

To feel good about your social networks:

Think of your online surfing as currency. “Invest” in the things that are important to you. You have a limited amount of time to spend online.

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