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Most Americans access the Internet daily as an efficient means of communicating and getting news. Yet, frequent log-ins and compulsive lookups of nonessential information add up. Below are tips for managing your time online. The aim is to get what you need online and get on with your life.
Productive mornings and afternoons can vaporize while answering “a few emails.” An AOL and Salary.com poll reported the average worker spends 2.09 hours a day noodling around the Internet. Perhaps the most publicized mishap, a jet from Dallas flew more than 100 miles past its Minneapolis destination in 2009; its red-faced co-pilots admitted distraction by laptop.
Avoid an intervention. Try these tips.
Tip #1. Use filters to funnel posts/tweets to lists and groups on social media sites.
Brooklyn-based Sarah Milstein, who co-authored The Twitter Book, was asked how to manage content and time online. “There isn't a social media magic bullet that gives you more time, but it’s smart to use the filters that services like Facebook and Twitter make available. In both cases, you can create lists of, say, the top 10-50 people whose posts you want to be sure not to miss. It takes a few minutes to set up the lists — and you need to know who posts interesting links and commentary — but once you have them in place, you can check them quickly to make sure you’ve seen they key issues of the day.”
Tip #2: Be in touch, not insane.
More people worldwide have cell phones than toothbrushes; a 2010 report said 4 billion had cell phone contracts versus 3.22 billion who bought a toothbrush.1 Half of consumers search the Internet, typically on their phones, a minimum of once a day.2 Limiting yourself online with a realistic goal you choose is a start.
Tip #3: Follow every dental organization and blog, and unfollow them if they don’t provide breaking news.
Becoming a fan, friend a person, or follow an organization to find fresh dental news and voices of profession. As an experiment, I followed 68 relevant dentomedical and healthcare organizations via Twitter. This resulted in 202 tweets per average weekday, requiring 15 minutes reading time, excluding links. This doesn’t include Facebook, my email provider’s news on its homepage, checking my favorite news websites, or daily emails. From this I learned I spend two hours a day on email, the Internet and social media, with about half of that directly related to dentistry and research (“work”). By skimming social media and emails for relevance, I recently cut my time online nearly in half.
Programs such as seesmic.com and tweetdeck.com allow users to customize social media accounts into a single “dashboard” online; twirl.org is an example of narrow box that can be on the corner of your screen at all times, or with a pop-up bubble and optional audio ping when a new post arrives.
Tip #4. Uninterested in Social Media? Customize your homepage or try an RSS Feed to Obtain Medicodental and Other News.
When AOL launched in the mid-1990s, there was no social media, just something called email and then the wild instant messenger. Soon subscribers to the new email on their computers were able to — and still do — customize their service provider’s homepage for news of interest.
Around 2000, technie types turned their attention to RSS (“rich site summary” or “really simple syndication”) feed readers to aggregate news and web headlines (sent to email or monitor). This eliminated the ads and clutter of irrelevant breaking news. Communications gatekeepers such as dental news editors of major organizations use these.
If you find yourself uninterested in social media or frustrated by the inefficiency of visiting different web sites to find news, try setting limits for yourself online. Stick to reading only from your RSS or other aggregated news sources. At the end of the day, you’ll be more satisfied from using your hands on the practice of dentistry instead of thumbing your way across the keypad highway.
1. Hall N. Are there really more mobile phones than toothbrushes? Oct. 18, 2011.
2. Levey RH. Consumers, Marketers Adapt to Mobile At Different Speeds: Survey
June 28, 2011.
A tradition of working for the dental profession. The Chicago Dental Society was organized in 1864 and incorporated in 1878. The objective of the Chicago Dental Society is to encourage the improvement of the health of the public, to promote the art and science of dentistry and to represent the intrest of the members of the profession and the public that it serves.
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