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Social media madness April 14, 2010

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings.

ProZ.com, LinkedIn, Watercooler, Langmates, Twitter, Facebook – where does it end? I get an invitation to join a new social media group for translators at least once a week. I don’t know about you, but I am way too busy translating to spend hours on these various sites. I keep up with Twitter for professional reasons and Facebook for personal ones (don’t ask me to friend you on FB if I have not met you in person and I would invite you into my home overnight), but that is about it. I think Watercooler is a great new alternative, but I honestly don’t have the time or energy to check it out. I haven’t looked at my LinkedIn profile in a while, but I have certain Twitter posts feeding into it so it looks like I do. And don’t even get me started about ProZ.com…

So you are probably wondering why I decided to post on this subject. I received several e-mails from the various sites to which I belong all at once this morning – not to mention an invitation to a new social media group for translators. It seems like every translator and their brother is starting a new social media group. The latest invitation this morning was for Langmates. I’m sure it will be a wonderful site, but I simply don’t have the time to look into it. I have 10,000 words to translate by Friday. I also received several Twitter new follower announcements, a survey about whether I would pay a nominal fee to use one of the sites (I’m a member but don’t visit it, so that would be a no), a friend request for Watercooler, and a moderation request for one of my Yahoogroups for a member who I have specifically set to “no moderation” because her posts are constantly flagged. I’ve spent about 20 minutes on e-mail and haven’t even opened the job requests or read a single personal e-mail. I don’t know about you, but that can ruin this girl’s mood.

So I ask you, how do you pick and choose which sites to use and which ones to be active on? At this point I’m starting to reach social media overload. I’m sure there will be a group for that started soon…



1. Patricia Bown - April 14, 2010

Ditto, except that since I have a choice for my personal life, I avoid most social media there.

2. Riccardo - April 14, 2010

I seldom check LinkeIn and almost never facebook, don’t use twitter (as yet), and have cut down drastically on posting and reading posts in ProZ. On the other hand, I am now fairly active on the Watercooler (where the Italian forum is much better than on ProZ). The blogs that I follow, I usually just scan using Google reader, and read only the posts that look more promising.

On the other hand, I’m trying to devote a bit more time to my blog, and have to moderate comments fairly frequently, because of blog spam.

3. Christina - April 14, 2010

So true! I do check my FB account often, (a profile I keep strictly for people I know), and my Twitter and LinkedIn at least once a day. Now I also have Hootsuite, which is great, for it combines all these sites into one place and it makes it easier, at least for me.
ProZ is alright, but not great.
I have gotten new clients from LinkedIn. Over 70% of the hiring in the US happens through LinkedIn, so that account does not hurt at all.
But I agree you can lose a lot of time on all these sites.

4. Kirti Vashee - April 14, 2010

Social networks do require new kinds of skills to be effective. It is good to have good answers to these questions:

What do you share and why?
Where do you share?

Learning how to quickly scan info and deciding where to engage and what to ignore are also important skills. There is more and more evidence that people build personal brands, earn long-term reputations and get contacted for new work through a “meaningful” presence in social networks.

It is clear that all these new networks cannot be viable for each one of us, so you do need to decide where you will have an active presence and where you have a basic or minimal presence – i.e. a basic but accurate profile and links to how people can find the places where you are really active.

5. wataru - April 15, 2010

Wait, you are too busy for SNS but you have time for a blog? I think we all choose the activities and associations we want, and gradually find what’s valuable and what’s not. So what else is new? Having lots of choice in itself is not bad.

6. Oleg Kuzin - April 16, 2010

What you do with the social media sites is for you to decide. My blog’s purpose is to inform potential clients, to explain to them some of the intricacies of translation work and to reveal some facets of my personality not otherwise displayed. For example, interest in travel, the importance of essen vs fressen, healthy lifestyle, photography.

I have by choice decided not to join FaceBook or Twitter because they do not, in my mind, project the image that I wish to project.

7. Alex Eames - April 16, 2010

Hi Jill.
I’ve only just got going with social media. I’ve jumped in with both feet within the last couple of months as an experiment. Facebook, Twitter (someone asked me to after the recent tranfree relaunch), Langmates (it’s a nice site Jill), WaterCooler (very nice and also not open to search engine trawling, so fairly private – you can also switch off email notifications). I’ve liked online forums for some years now.

Bottom line though, you’ve got to do what fits you. And if you’re busy, they all take a back seat. The tweets will still be there next week when that huge job is finished. 😉

So this probably wouldn’t be the best time or place to talk about my new forums? (JK)

8. Corinne McKay - April 21, 2010

I agree that it’s easy to hit social media overwhelm; the hard thing is when there are people you really like to connect with who are really passionate about one venue or another (which might be different from your venue of choice). When you have a blog, I think that always has to be #1. Personally I love Watercooler but it’s a question of available time. LinkedIn, I think that you just have to decide if you’re going to use it mostly as a place to post your profile or as a place to network and actively prospect for clients.

9. Michael Engley - April 22, 2010

I don’t know how you manage to juggle as much as you already do, Jill. Kudos to you! And thank you for maintaining your wonderful blog, but if you feel you have to draw the line, then don’t let it bother you. We all have to define our limits and defend our personal space. Don’t fall victim to the “I am interconnected, therefore I am” fallacy. Keep it at a level you feel you can control – not the other way around. About the only vaguely social networking activity I make time for consistently is the ATA GLD listserv, and I’ve been too busy with work to post to that group much at all so far this year. My advice to you is: slow down, girl! Take your dog for a walk, enjoy the dogwoods before they drop their blossoms, and chat with a few people along the way. Surely that will be more rewarding than 10 times as much online social networking. If you need to pick and choose which social networking activities to participate in, then you first need to decide how much time you are willing to devote to social networking in the first place (be honest and strict about it), then narrow down an initial selection of potential activities by considering how rewarding each individual activity is compared to how much time and effort it involves.

10. Sarah - April 26, 2010

Hi Jill, One thing that has saved me in the social media jungle is turning off the email notifications. I no longer receive emails when someone new follows me on twitter or when someone writes on my FB wall etc. I has freed up my email inbox! And it is now once again a joy to visit the sites once in awhile and be pleasantly surprised. I visited my Xing profile for the first time in a long time only to discover 400 messages – all of which were junk. Thank goodness those 400 messages did not end up in my email inbox!

11. Amelia - May 3, 2010


Excelent post about the benefits of networking.

We also have a very interesting blog where you can find valuable information and tips for translators:


Best regards,


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