Social Networking in 15 Minutes a Day

A lot of people wonder how they can do all the online networking they’re “supposed” to do without it completely draining all their time and energy. Well, I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve developed a strategy that works for me, so I thought I’d share it with you.


1. I write my blog posts for the week in one or two sittings, usually on the weekend.

2. I schedule my blog to post automatically each day so I don’t have to think about my blog all week unless I want to.

3. I’m flexible so that if a timely idea hits me mid-week, I can go ahead and write a blog post and schedule it for whenever I want.

4. All the blog comments go directly to a separate email box. Whenever I get comments that give me an idea for another blog post, I divert those emails to a separate folder called “Save for Blog.”

5. I also keep a Word doc with ongoing ideas for blog posts, which I jot down whenever they strike me. When I need to write a post and get stuck, I have both my Word doc and my email “Save for Blog” file for ideas.

6. Some of my posts require almost no effort on my part. I strategically use guest posts and Q4Us, to maintain consistent postings without having to write so much.


1. I use TweetDeck to keep my tweets organized on my desktop, but there are many other Twitter apps you can use. Just don’t rely on the Twitter website itself – it’s extremely inefficient.
2. I don’t keep TweetDeck open while I’m working! I take breaks from working and open TweetDeck, or sometimes I actually keep it open on a different computer so I can check it when I take quick periodic breaks.

3. I generally give myself about a two-minute limit on Twitter during work hours, which includes tweeting, reading, and responding.

4. I use TweetLater and often schedule the day’s worth of tweets in the morning before I begin my work day. Then as I’m checking Twitter later in the day, I don’t have to think of new tweets, I simply respond to others, and read people’s responses to mine.

5. In my “leisure” time (nights and weekends) I typically don’t limit myself. I sometimes tweet a lot and get into conversations with people, but I don’t look at it as a waste of time. It’s fun and it can also be valuable networking.


1. I adopted the philosophy that we each use social networking for our own purposes, and we get to choose how we use each platform.

2. Therefore I’ve decided to use Facebook only for my family members across the country, and people with whom I’m actually acquainted in real life.

3. I update Facebook approximately once a day, sometimes less. My Facebook friends are a different group than my Twitter friends. People were getting annoyed at so many updates, so I’ve cut it way down.

4. I’ve noticed that Facebook tends to swallow much more time (if you let it). The conversations are interesting and can really suck you in! For that reason, I typically only open up Facebook once a day, and it’s usually not during the hours I’m working.

Visiting Other Blogs
(late breaking update)

I forgot to mention scheduling time to read and comment on other blogs. If you’re actively trying to build your own blog traffic, this is a necessary and valuable use of your time. Try to plan on an extra 15 minutes a day for this, and visit/comment on several blogs each day.

When my blogs were new, I spent a lot of time commenting on other blogs. Now I don’t need to as much, since Twitter seems to be the most effective way to drive people back to my blog. However, I read about 20 other blogs regularly, and it’s almost always on my Blackberry when I’m away from home: sitting in the kids’ carpool line or hanging out at their various activities. In fact, whenever I have brief moments of waiting, even 5 minutes or less, I automatically pull out my Blackberry and read blogs. I keep up very effectively this way.

These are my strategies to make sure social networking works FOR me without taking up all my time. What are your strategies?

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


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  2. Christian Business Directory on January 20, 2012 at 12:34 AM

    Thanks, Rachelle. It’s hard to convince people that social networking does not have to take over your life. I’ll be saving this blog as proof it can be done in 15 minutes a day!

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    is passed what’s to stop them from accessing web cams, video chats, and web to mobile calls? If I post the word “bomb” in my networking blog am I going to be put on a list and have unknown person secretly viewing my next skype video call? Needless to say if the government forces companies like google, yahoo, and hotmail to allow the use of backdoors for surveillance it won’t be long before people find a way to exploit them for their own use. Whe

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  5. Marnie Swedberg on October 5, 2009 at 10:39 AM

    >Fun blog! I wrote a free eBook entitled: "Sane Social Networking in 15 Minutes a Day". I, like you, am convinced that SN should not have to consume our lives to be powerful. Thanks for all your great advice! Marnie –

  6. Kimberley Payne on August 26, 2009 at 7:31 PM

    >Great tips! With your advice social networking actually looks doable.

  7. Rachel Randolph on August 25, 2009 at 10:20 AM

    >Thanks, Rachelle. It's hard to convince people that social networking does not have to take over your life. I'll be saving this blog as proof it can be done in 15 minutes a day!

  8. ChristaCarol on August 21, 2009 at 10:50 PM

    >some great advice. I tried installing tweetdeck a while ago and it never took. I suppose it's time to search for another similar app.

  9. samantharoyce on August 18, 2009 at 8:12 PM

    >Wow, thanks for this. It's going to make my life so much easier.

  10. Jennifer Madsen on August 17, 2009 at 11:18 PM

    >What?!?!! I'm supposed to be doing social networking???


  11. Terresa on August 16, 2009 at 11:22 PM

    >I like your suggestion to keep up with your blog reading throughout the day, on errand-running, etc. Efficient & smart!

  12. Harmony Wheeler on August 16, 2009 at 7:23 PM

    >How do you schedule posts to post themselves automatically on scheduled days?

  13. Rachelle on August 16, 2009 at 6:52 PM

    >Harmony — Look at the sidebar of my blog. Scroll down to "Find Posts on This Blog." Click on "Blogging Tips."

  14. Harmony Wheeler on August 16, 2009 at 1:27 PM

    >I'd take 15 mins just to read one or two blog entries. How do you read them so fast? And my comments usually take a while, too.

    Do you have any advice for generating traffic?

  15. ComfortWriter on August 16, 2009 at 1:09 AM

    >I hadn't considered having comments sent to a different email account. I really like that idea! since I am knew to blogging I have found myself commenting more than writing my own but I have reeped the rewards as well. I now have 5 followers instead of 1!! Thanks for the ideas.

  16. Kerrie on August 15, 2009 at 8:35 AM

    >Thanks for this great post with great ideas on how to manage that precious commodity called time. I have been trying to set aside one hour a day. Now I need to make myself write first and then go visit other blogs. I get so caught up in reading all the fabulous posts, that my hour is used up before I even type one word. oops.

  17. Mariana on August 14, 2009 at 3:52 PM

    >I do mostly as yourself, plus the Orkut account that I use to keep in touch with friends in my home country.
    Great post, by the way!

  18. alleahna on August 14, 2009 at 1:29 PM

    >Thank you for the post! A useful and succinct list of how to use social media effectively.

  19. Rebekah on August 14, 2009 at 1:11 PM

    >Good points. I like how you have organized your social networking. What a new dilemma we "have" to deal with. But I am pleased this is my problem instead of getting the hay in, hauling water, and foraging for berries and roots. 🙂

  20. Megan@Blueberry Scones on August 14, 2009 at 12:09 AM

    >Thanks for the great tips! I am not sure about linking to my blog from my Facebook profile, but that's only because I (unwisely) decided to friend my coworkers. Is there a way to hide one's blog on Facebook so only certain people can see it?

  21. Tea With Tiffany on August 13, 2009 at 11:07 PM

    >You are full of great tips for someone like me.

  22. PurpleClover on August 13, 2009 at 9:54 PM

    >Haste Yee Back –

    I've used Absolute Write Water Cooler and Facebook. They both have area's to promote your blogs. Facebook also allows you to set up a blog network and get followers on FB as well. But I keep my FB & Blog separate (God-forbid my family and friends see my shenanigans). However, even if you don't post your blog to your FB, there is still an area to post the link to your blog.


  23. Rebecca Ryals Russell on August 13, 2009 at 6:22 PM

    >I, too, have figured out the same routine. I use Hoot for delayed twittering. It works great. It has a built-in tweetdeck as well. I love the idea of a second monitor and would love to have one, but alas.

  24. Robin Bryce on August 13, 2009 at 6:04 PM


    Is flying by the seat of my trousers a 15 minute social networking strategy?

    I got this.

    Q for anyone: What iPhone app makes blog reading easy while doing those 5 minute line waits like Rachelle suggested?

    Thanks for the info, Rachelle!

  25. Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side on August 13, 2009 at 5:28 PM

    >Wow! This is THE most helpful post I've ever read about time management. Thank you for the excellent advice. I'll be bookmarking this one.

  26. Dawn Herring on August 13, 2009 at 3:41 PM

    >I keep my tweetdeck open during the day so I can check it at my convenience. I like to stay in touch with those who respond to my tweets.
    I have gotten very valuable writing advice from the links I've read on Twitter; so I see most of the time I spend on there as profitable.
    I post on my blog every week or two depending on what hits me. Since many of my posts are devotional in genre, I don't post every day. It takes time to produce something of substance for those who enjoy reading devotionals.
    I enjoy reading other's blog posts and often leave a comment and leave a link to my own.
    I think it's important to show support for others in their professional endeavors by taking time to read what they have to say, especially when it resonates with me personally or professionally.

  27. Paige Bruce on August 13, 2009 at 3:25 PM

    >Hm. Maybe I should develop a system? I'm a bit of a sucker for checking TwitterFox regularly at work, as well as blogs. Work comes and goes in waves in my job – there are days when I can do no social networking at all, while others I need something to do to keep me sane!

    Handy system though!

  28. Purplebears on August 13, 2009 at 2:19 PM

    >I like the way you divide out each category and allot a set amount of time. My "system" has been more haphazard. Starting today I'm using your guidelines. Except tweeting, I'm still using my time to develop my blog and website.

  29. H. Scott Hunt on August 13, 2009 at 2:18 PM

    >Thanks, Rachelle, for the suggestions. I definitely need to try some of them. Does anyone else get caught up in Word Twist and Scramble on Facebook like I do? Do we have any farmers out there? Come on, people, fess up!

  30. Rachel on August 13, 2009 at 1:28 PM

    >Awesome post. So helpful. I love blog posts like this.

  31. Mireyah Wolfe on August 13, 2009 at 1:23 PM

    >I'd have to agree that the Twitter site itself is extremely inefficient, not to mention time-consuming when you follow a lot of people–most of them authors replying to others–and you've got a bunch of updates to comb through.

    I've got TweetDeck and Seesmic, but haven't spent much time with TweetDeck.

    I know I spend too much time on blogs and Facebook! Lol

    This really helps me, because I've been trying to come up with a schedule that isn't utterly consumed by my social networks. And writing the blogs and scheduling them for a set time–I had not thought of that! I'm definitely going to be taking that advice! Great post!! =D

  32. Natalia Maldonado on August 13, 2009 at 12:32 PM

    >Great tips! I am going to have to check out TweetDeck because I really do spend way too much time on Twitter.

    I find the easiest way to keep up-to-date on blog reading is using Google Reader, so I have them all in one place. Up until now I was just writing my own blog posts as they come, but have been noticing it really takes up my time. Planning for each week is a great approach.

  33. Auburn on August 13, 2009 at 12:27 PM

    >Thank you, Rachelle. A well thought-out post on the simplest ways to stay on top of social media without it becoming a major hassle. Of great use to authors and publishers alike!

    (Now if only I could get on top of this in both my work AND personal life!).

    – Auburn
    The Big Bad Book Blog

  34. Cheryl on August 13, 2009 at 12:20 PM

    >Love the tips–good ideas! Thanks!

  35. Heart2Heart on August 13, 2009 at 12:12 PM


    I am not ready to jump into Facebook or Twitter just yet!

    For now, I am working on building my Blogger platform and enjoy learning as much from blogs I am following as well as posts I write. It is just such a huge learning process for me right now.

    I thank you for informing me about automatic blogging so I can do that when school begins and I don't have to feel like I don't have time to continue to homeschool and blog at the same time.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  36. Vanessa Book ♥ Soulmates on August 13, 2009 at 12:08 PM

    >Thanks for sharing! I had never heard of TweetDeck and TweetLater. I'll definitely look into it 🙂

    Vanessa Book ♥ Soulmates

  37. Cynthia Nelson on August 13, 2009 at 12:01 PM

    Thanks for the tips. Sometimes I feel that I spend way too much time on Twitter, but now I don't feel as guilty. I have already cut back on Facebook, which can be a big time waster for me. Great tips about blogging, because I just started mine and I'm having trouble with coming up with ideas to write.

  38. Marilyn on August 13, 2009 at 11:56 AM

    >Great! Keeping Twitter and FB uses clearly defined is a MUST, i think.

  39. Billy Coffey on August 13, 2009 at 11:51 AM

    >It's interesting that you say Facebook rather than Twitter tends to swallow time. I have the opposite problem. One minute on Twitter can turn into an hour if I'm not careful.

    And I would second the importance of visiting other blogs. That's an imperative, especially when you're starting out.

  40. lynnrush on August 13, 2009 at 11:42 AM

    >Great post. I do most of these things (listed on your blog portion anyway). I'll have to check into Tweet Later–sounds interesting. I do all six of my blog posts on the weekends then it frees time up to comment on those who post on my blog/facebook note.

    Tweetdeck is great. Easier to manage the many tweets that go on every day, isn't it?

    Thanks for this post!

  41. Stephanie on August 13, 2009 at 11:37 AM

    >Super helpful info, Rachelle. As an aspiring author the whole online platform building was overwhelming in the beginning but I too have gotten into a more regular groove. I do need to learn more about the efficiency of Tweet Deck and set up regular tweets through out the day.
    Thank, Rachelle for sharing and also for the follow on Twitter. My cheeks hurt from smiling when I saw you followed me back 🙂

  42. Brandi Guthrie on August 13, 2009 at 10:57 AM

    >Since I'm just starting out my blog (as I am my writing career) I devote more time to reading others blogs than I do actually writing for mine.

    As for Twitter? The idea doesn't appeal to me as of yet. Maybe when I'm published?

    Facebook is something I try to utilize more often, but mainly I get on for personal reasons rather than professional.

    Taking this excellent advice into consideration, however, I'm going to have to reevaluate my networking. Thanks!

  43. Gwen on August 13, 2009 at 10:47 AM

    >I'm a terrible procrastinator, so I usually check livejournal, facebook, google reader, and a forum I frequent every time I get on the computer. I use it as a few minutes of relaxing time before class or work, and sometimes allow it to suck up a lot of time during the day. But if I really need to get something done I'll just turn off airport on my mac or go work someplace I can't get internet.

  44. SM Schmidt on August 13, 2009 at 10:31 AM

    >A perfectly timed post indeed. I've gone from flailing my arms to treading water now.

    I think I'm going to have to show some discipline and start writing blog posts in advanced, I forgot about that handy feature. I also keep forgetting to post comments on the blogs I find really helpful. Eep, time to stop being shy.

  45. Heather on August 13, 2009 at 10:22 AM

    >Thanks for showing how to network efficiently without being time consuming.
    I always try to post on my blog once a week on Mondays, unless something like an emergency that I want people to pray about happens. I use Windows LiveWriter for my blogging, which is convenient because I can import Word docs, save drafts, and publish to my blog all without going online! And I usually try to keep a plan on what I'm going to post every month, too.
    FB and Twitter are still iffy for me. We'll see if I ever join the scores of my peers, or if I continue to be the social-networking rebel. :0)

  46. karenranney on August 13, 2009 at 10:13 AM

    >I do my blog posts a month at a time, but still allow myself to be extemporaneous.

    I use OneNote – which I've found to be an awesome tool to use to organize stuff. I have a tab for Blog, and if anything strikes me as appropriate, I'll throw it in there. I can also throw my emails in there as well, and I carry my OneNote with me on a flash drive so I use it both on my desktop & my laptop.

    I've made a decision NOT to Facebook. With Twitter, my blog, and my website (which I update every couple of days), I'm spread as thin as I can be, social-media-wise.

  47. Marla Taviano on August 13, 2009 at 9:56 AM


  48. Dara on August 13, 2009 at 9:42 AM

    >LOL, I probably spend too much time social networking 😛

    I probably spend about an hour reading and commenting on blogs I follow. And Facebook becomes a time-killer for me; over the course of a day I probably spend two hours on it since I'm constantly going back to check it. But it's mainly because I use it to keep in touch with my sister; we're always messaging back and forth. Or at least that's what I tell myself 😛

    I only spend maybe 30 minutes per day on Twitter if that. I can't follow it forever it's just not that compelling to me. I do use TweetDeck though; it's made it a lot easier!

    Writing a post for my blog is sporadic. Generally I have a hard time coming up what exactly to write about, and I try to keep it updated three times a week, though I am trying for more. It takes me about a half hour to write a post.

    So I probably could stand to manage my time better, but I have been thankful for the time I've put into it too–I've met so many great writer friends as well as learning so much from agent blogs like yours 🙂

  49. Haste yee back ;-) on August 13, 2009 at 9:18 AM

    >My stategy… wonder around cyber space clicking, wondering what'll happen, flinch-a-bit, go to bed, get up and do it all again!

    Purple, how do you post to a website and promote yours? Did I understand that? Any how to info?

    Haste yee back 😉

  50. Julie Gillies on August 13, 2009 at 9:15 AM

    >A timely post for me, Rachelle.

    I realized that I needed to reel in the social networking (sigh) so yesterday I printed out weekly planners and blocked off specific time for Twitter, Facebook and blog reading. I'm hoping this self-imposed schedule helps me balance it all. (juggle-juggle)

  51. Teri D. Smith on August 13, 2009 at 9:04 AM

    >I try to get all my blog reading, posts, etc. done first thing every morning. Then I dig in and write a reasonable word count before I go back to social networking.

    My networking so far consists of twitter, facebook, and a blogs.

  52. Kiva, Farmstead Lady on August 13, 2009 at 9:00 AM

    >One of my Twitter friends shared this and as a person that struggles with finding a nice balance, I decided to click and I am glad that I did…

    I too use Facebook for those same purposes and I love Tweetdeck. I haven't tried Tweetlater so will definitely check into that.

    I recently went self-hosted with my blog so I have felt like a fish out of water learning a bunch of new stuff all the while still living my normal!

    I love the word document for blog ideas and for writing out posts and scheduling them.

    Such great tips and in a concise post, kudos to you!

  53. Lea Ann McCombs on August 13, 2009 at 8:48 AM

    >These are great ideas! I find myself rather stuck in my cave, not sure how to get out there and build a following from other than people I know.

    Joining ACFW has helped too, meeting so many other writers, learning from them, and connecting with them and their blogs, as they do with mine.

  54. PurpleClover on August 13, 2009 at 8:37 AM

    >I like to post my blog to various websites that allow you to "promote" it.

    I even wrote a blog today that I included one of my best strategies ever!

    I tweeted (and this is true anyone that has read this comment):

    "Follow me [blog/twitter] or you'll have 7 years bad luck."

    It works. 😉

  55. Sandy at God Speaks Today on August 13, 2009 at 8:22 AM

    >I'm constantly revamping my "schedule" so I can use my time most efficiently. I'm still not there. I love the idea of writing all my blog posts in one shot, but I find that I simply don't have enough time in one shot to do that.

    So I mess with trying to write a little every day or trying to write at night after the kids are in bed.

    I don't Twitter…so enough about that.

    And Facebook and other blogs…still trying to build my blog traffic so I do try to spend time a few times a week doing that.

    Thanks for the tips.


  56. Empress Awesome on August 13, 2009 at 7:54 AM

    >Wow, I seriously didn't know that you could write a bunch of blogs and then put them on a timer. I've just been posting a bunch of posts that I've written on Word while I edit my MS. So that's how everyone gets them posted in the morning like that.

    Such a blogging novice

  57. ginny martyn on August 13, 2009 at 7:37 AM

    >THANK YOU! I actually had to FAST facebook for a whole day so God could show me I had a problem. Thanks for the tips…social networking is exhausting!

  58. Megan@SortaCrunchy on August 13, 2009 at 7:35 AM

    >Thanks for sharing your strategy. I like the idea of devoting just 15 minutes a day to networking. It often feels so overwhelming – like I have to invest a good hour a day with it to make it work. I don't have that kind of free time, so then I don't do nearly what I need to in order to increase traffic (exposure). Bringing it down to 15 minutes a day feels much more manageable.

  59. Richard Mabry on August 13, 2009 at 7:21 AM

    >Thanks for the tip on Tweetlater. I was wondering how you, Brandilyn, Jim and others have time to post all those neat comments.
    Wish I'd had the courage to only accept friends on Facebook whom I actually know. Afraid I'd hurt the feelings of someone I'd met once at a meeting or something by not accepting them.
    Great ideas, some of which I already use, others I'll steal–I mean, adopt. Thanks.

  60. Rachelle on August 13, 2009 at 7:20 AM

    >Krista, Kelly, et al —

    I updated the post to include scheduling time to read other blogs.

    Also just a note to everyone —

    I found it fascinating to learn there are literally thousands of Twitter applications (including TweetDeck) that make Twitter easier to use, and have been created by people completely separate from the Twitter people. There are different apps for PCs and Macs, iPhones and Blackberrys. I'm not a techie but I've realized it's crazy to try and use Twitter without using one or more of the apps to make it more efficient.

  61. Krista Phillips on August 13, 2009 at 7:15 AM

    >I've tried to get to the point where I write and schedule my blog posts the weekend before… but my weeks are always crazy and I've failed every weekend I try it. I DO write them the night before though for them scheduled the next day. And sometimes if i have two ideas I'll write them both and schedule them out.

    I don't do any social networking while I WORK work because I'm at work, and well, for obvious reasons. So I check my pers. e-mail, my tweetdeck, and a few blogs every morning before work. I Do have tweetdeck open while I write, which I probably need to stop. In the evenings I try to visit a few more blogs i like… but I don't make myself because I really need the time to write/spend with family. My twitter statuses feed to facebook, and I only check it to respond to other's comments or when I'm need to *tell* someone something.

  62. Sharon A. Lavy on August 13, 2009 at 6:58 AM

    >Oh, it's all educational. Absolutely.

  63. Kelly Combs on August 13, 2009 at 6:46 AM

    >I try to blog a couple of posts at a time, but I waste too much time on Twitter. However, by reading links by Mary DeMuth & Michael Hyatt, I consider that "educational" time and I have learned more. (Like the time on your blog – educational!)

    My facebook is for my friends too.

  64. Jack Roberts, Annabelle's scribe on August 13, 2009 at 6:41 AM

    >Never heard of TweetDeck and TweetLater before. Thanks!
    I've saved this page to reread later. Great info.

  65. Heather Sunseri on August 13, 2009 at 4:58 AM

    >My social networking habits are very similar to yours, Rachelle. I'm still getting the hang of writing my blog posts in advance. It's always my goal, but… Hopefully I'll improve on that one.

    The one item on my work desk that has made work/email/social networking much easier for me is the second monitor. I love, love, love having a second monitor. When I'm working on a large project, I can have research or a document up on one screen, while typing away on another. If I'm not using the second screen for work, I can have email or TweetDeck up on that second monitor. It takes very little effort to glance over and check out who's tweeting.

  66. Kerryn Angell on August 13, 2009 at 4:30 AM

    >I've kept Facebook just for family and non-witing friends, though I do have some friends who are writers too. My facebook account is under my married name and all my writing and associated networking is under my maiden name so it's a nice way to distinguish the two.

    I'm going to check out TweetDeck and TweetLater now too. 🙂

  67. Eric J. Krause on August 13, 2009 at 1:26 AM

    >These are excellent ideas. I'm just getting started in the social media/market myself game, so I don't really have much of a gameplan yet. I only blog once a week (usually on Wednesdays), so that doesn't really take much time. I might borrow your idea for blog organization if I decide to start popping out more posts per week.

    For Twitter, I use TwitterFox, so I can see when new updates are available when I have my browser open. At this point in my writing development, I mostly use Twitter for the writing articles and tips people post, so I can grab them whenever I want and put them in my "Read It Later" bookmark folder (an extremely useful app for FireFox, by the way!). I think I may move over to TweetDeck, but I don't really have much of a need yet.

  68. T. Anne on August 13, 2009 at 1:13 AM

    >Well done! I plan on implementing your blogging strategy. Although I love to comment on blogs and reply to comments on mine.

  69. Kim Kasch on August 13, 2009 at 1:11 AM

    >I haven't tried the Tweet Deck – maybe I will.

    I do most of the things you do with your blog. I don't keep a word doc. That's another good idea.

    Facebook, I post most of my pictures for family. My hubs' family lives in Denmark so it's nice to share and FB makes it EZ.