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Take flight, social butterflies! This is the when and where of expert updating

social media updatingThe wonderful world of social media is pretty much the digital version of real life, and for some of us that means posting something, somewhere at all hours of the day. In order to keep up with all the status updates, links, snapshots, and tweets, you need to maximize your time, and share efficiently – sending thoughts out into the ether won’t do anyone any good.

Here’s a quick and easy how-to for you to follow so you can ensure all your posts on various social media sites get to the right people in a timely manner.

Know your topic and audience

I know you have a lot of important thoughts in your head just waiting to be unleashed, but here’s a dose of reality: Not everyone will care about whatever it is that you have to say. However, each and every one of your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social sites will have a specific set of interests – if your post touches at least one of those interests, then it’s definitely worth posting.

After knowing what it is you’re sharing, the next step would be to figure out who would be interested in it and what they do on a regular basis. Are your close friends all stay-at-home moms or freelancers who would have a lot of online time on their hands, or are they Average Joes and Janes who maintain 9-to-5 jobs in an office environment? Anticipating the type of activities your contacts engage everyday in will enable you to properly time your posts to reach the most number of people who will give a damn about your latest vacation or that thought-provoking article you just read. Otherwise, your update will get overlooked and sadly exist quietly without a Like or RT to its name.

Know your network and time your posts accordingly

This is the most important step – the only step that matters, even. Knowing your audience is one thing, knowing the social network you intend to share to is quite another. Every person has a favorite site to go to for their dose of information overload, just like every social network has its own culture and user behavior. You need to study your friends list on every social site you have an account on and observe how your News Feed behaves on each one. Who posts most often on what site, and at what time of the day? What time zone do they follow?

This step actually goes hand in hand with the previous one – aside from knowing where your friends are when they use Facebook, you also need to take note of your most social media-active friends so you can take advantage of their heightened online presence. It’s a good practice to tag people on posts you think will either appreciate it more than most (and comment on it) or find it interesting enough to pass it on to their other friends. Once they comment or re-post your update, there’s a higher chance that your post will get more social media airtime.

Knowing where and what isn’t enough, you need to consider timing as well. According to various sources on the Internet, here are the best and worst times to post on the following popular social networks (all based on EST):

  • Facebook – Traffic on the god of all social networks is almost always atrociously high, but it’s most out of control between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The best time to post that photo or link on Facebook would be between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., especially on Wednesdays at 3 p.m., when most people are perusing their feeds on their breaks. Don’t bother posting between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. – people will either be busy spending time with their families, engaging in offline activities, or sleeping. Posting on weekends is also generally discouraged because most people actually prefer to live life off the computer outside of work.
  • Twitter – Those who enjoy reading updates limited to 140 characters tend to do so from Monday to Thursday, after 11 a.m. The best time to post that Twitpic or RT is between 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., while the worst is from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m.. Traffic on the micro-blogging site starts to dwindle after 3 p.m., especially on a Friday, so try to get your tweet in before then.
  • LinkedIn – Linkedin is a social site mostly dominated by professionals with regular jobs, so of course it makes sense that traffic on this site is usually heavy before and after business hours, when users are not busy with their responsibilities – try to share posts between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. or 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.. Anything you share between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. on a Monday or Friday will probably go under the radar.
  • Pinterest – This particular social network has a timing pattern that’s different from others – traffic tends to build up by 12 noon. It’s advisable to pin posts on Pinterest any time between 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. or 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays, but if you want to reach the most users, Saturday morning is your best bet, as it is the site’s peak time. Traffic dies down after 5 p.m., so try not to hold off on your pins till late afternoon.
  • Tumblr – Compared to Facebook and Twitter, Tumblr is a whole different creature when it comes to social media activity – you should consider posting on the site after If you really want to get the most attention, make sure you post after 7 p.m., when Tumblrers are most active. And unlike most sites that discourage posting on weekends, the best time to post on Tumblr is actually on a Friday night. Those kids and their crazy late night, weekend-Tumblring.
  • Google+ – Yes, contrary to popular belief, Google+ has enough traffic to have its own “peak time” for posts, which is after 9 a.m. Unlike LinkedIn, the best time to post on Google+ is during work hours, specifically 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Traffic peters out after 5 p.m., so don’t bother posting in the evenings.

Get extra serious

If you are in a profession where social media presence matters a whole lot, then you might want to consider using social media tools that will give you better insight on how your audience behaves. This is also particularly useful for social sites that have don’t necessarily have a best time to post since it’s determined on a user-to-user basis, like Instagram.

To track how many times your links are clicked, you can opt to use link shorteners like Bitly or This will enable you to find out which social network you have the most reach in.

If you want to maximize your social media accounts, there are special sites that offer a variety of services. SocialBro has a “best time to tweet” daily report that analyzes your Twitter followers’ timelines and lets you know the exact right moment you can reach the maximum number of people that will provide you with retweets and replies. Timing+ does the same for people who prefer using Google+. As for Instagram, Statigram will provide you a rolling month analysis of your account, analyze your usage, and show you a graph that will help you optimize your account.


If you want a one-stop shop to monitor your influence on all your social media activity, you can sign up for a Klout account.


Editors' Recommendations

Jam Kotenko
Former Digital Trends Contributor
When she's not busy watching movies and TV shows or traveling to new places, Jam is probably on Facebook. Or Twitter. Or…
Photos: Government agencies say goodbye to social media … for now

The United States Congress did not reach an agreement on a budget, which caused all government services considered non-essential to shut down until an agreement is reached. And this shutdown is impacting the government’s online presence.
The government shutdown is a big deal, and it's leaving people in the lurch in a real way. Even though services deemed essential continue to run, like the postal service and the military, a vast array of services are shuttered.And apart from the 800,000 employees losing their paychecks on furlough, the shutdown is interfering with programs some people rely on to live. Yes, Medicare continues, but people who currently need food stamps to eat sufficiently will face a serious obstacle. It's a very real crisis, no matter how glib certain newscasters can get about it.  
So the radio silence from the social media accounts of government agencies is certainly a trivial side effect of the shutdown... but we'll still miss tweets from NASA and Tumblr updates from the White House.
You can see their respective goodbyes in the slideshow above, and here's a list of some of the best social media accounts you'll have to go without until Congress yanks its collective head out of its butt. 
NASA’s Twitter account and Instagram accounts
NASA's Instagram account just made its debut, too! If you want cool space stuff in your Twitter feed though, try following bad ass Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield during this difficult time.
The Curiosity Rover’s Twitter account
Unfortunately, the Curiosity Rover, the spacecraft trawling Mars, is not actually sentient. Employees of NASA are in charge of its Twitter account, so it also went dark.
The National Zoo’s Amazing Panda Cam
Not quite sure how pandas were deemed non-essential. The National Zoo tweeted the sad, sad news that its glorious Panda Cam will not run during the shutdown.
The White House Tumblr
The White House won’t be reblogging any of you Tumblr users during the shutdown.
Facebook and Twitter pages of the National Parks
No more pretty updates from Yosemite or the Statue of Liberty. And no visiting them IRL, either.
The Federal Trade Commission’s social media presence
Seems a little dry to follow the FTC on Facebook, but for those of you who do, you’re out of luck during the shutdown.
FAFSA’s Twitter Feed
You’re still on the hook to pay your student loans during the government shutdown, but don’t try to tweet the Federal Student Aid about it. They’re not responding.

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18 questions you need to ask yourself before uploading that photo
ask yourself

This is a shame-free zone: It's OK to love social media to the point of obsession. Go ahead, Instagram your next 24 hours. Tweet about the monotony of your commute home! Check-in to your house on Facebook. We don't judge, because we love that stuff.
And just like everyone else living their lives on the Internet, we know that part of the protocol is posting all sorts of photos on the regular, may it be a selfie in the car, a picture of a spectacular sunset, your bagel at Starbucks, a screen grab of a funny chat message, or a stylized inspirational quote. However, after an hour or so browsing your regular online haunts, you’ll find yourself growing more and more impatient and annoyed as you get bombarded by a stream of photos that aren't really cutting it. Or, on the flipside, after a few glasses of wine, maybe you're thinking it's time to upload those 500 photos of your trip to Florida. Well, you've come to the right place. 
Nobody wants to be "that guy" or "that girl" when it comes to social sites. To that end, here are a few questions you should ask yourself uploading that photo to Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, or wherever. And answer honestly, OK?
1. Are you having an awesome hair day, or is your outfit cute?

Everyone has one of those days, and you’re absolutely allowed to celebrate. Feel free to take a well-angled selfie, brighten your face up with the Rise filter, and upload to Instagram. No need to push the upload on Facebook – all your friends who’d appreciate it are probably on Instagram, anyway. And there's something about the Facebook or Twitter selfie (especially those pushed from Instagram) that just seems too indulgent. It's a much more acceptable Instagram habit, so let's just leave it there. Also, don't post a selfie everyday. It just makes everyone sort of sad ... 
2. Are you covering a family event?
If it’s your family, go ahead and share an album of it on Facebook – your relatives on the site will appreciate you for it. Just make sure to take more pictures of people you actually know rather than photos of random strangers. If you’re already planning on uploading an album worth of pics on Facebook, don’t post said photos on Instagram. We already see one photo at a time on there as it is, so don’t be a jerk by clogging up the feed. If you really can’t be stopped, create a photo collage and limit your family reunion coverage to one Instagram image. Two at most, really, no one else cares about your cousin's graduation and the subsequent BBQ. But your family does! So Facebook album away!
If it’s someone else’s family, unless someone explicitly asked you to take their photo, don’t bother uploading it online. That’s just creepy.
3. How many baby photos have you taken today?
Aww … so is your baby wearing a super cute onesie? OK, go ahead and post a photo on Instagram and Facebook, where cuteness is generally celebrated. If, however, you’re feeling rather trigger happy with that camera phone and think that your baby’s twenty micro-expressions are just worth it, keep those on the phone and the phone alone. One best baby photo a day is acceptable, preferable if kept in a Facebook photo album like “My baby’s milestones” or something. Moderation, people.
4. No children? Cute dog and/or cat?
Your pet is pretty much like your child, so apply the same rules I just mentioned to animal photos – limit to one photo a day on Facebook or Instagram or keep them in your phone or computer. If your furry friend has a particularly special expression on, make sure you upload it on Tumblr as well, where it will always be well received. Better yet, grab an animated GIF app and go to town; we all know how much the Tumblrsphere will appreciate that. 
Honestly though, make it a special moment. With the rate the Internet is going, we are never going to run out of cute animal photos. Don’t worry. 
5. Did you just have a hilarious chat with someone?

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Miss Netiquette’s guide to dealing with your family on social media
Miss Netiquette's guide to dealing with your family on social media

The Internet is a wonderful if confusing world – and that’s why you sometimes need to be pointed in the right direction. Lucky for you, some of us spend far too much time online and logged in – and that wealth of experience translates into some social networking know-how. Consider Miss Netiquette (who you can reach at your guide to Web manners, and this week, she’s got all the advice on how to deal with your family online.
Internet etiquette is tricky on its own, but when you throw family ties into the mix, things get even harder to figure out. If you do something that really ticks your uncle off on Facebook, you'll be sure to hear about it at a family party. And you don't want to be that guy who accidentally teaches his young niece and her friends what the naked male body looks like after you post a NSFW link on Twitter and she re-tweets it.
Sure, you could avoid horribly awkward familial moments on social media by simply refusing to friend or follow your kin, but that will create a separate set of problems ... oneswhere everyone thinks you're an ass for not accepting their friend requests.
How do you be a normal person on social media without creating family tension worthy of a Noah Baumbauch film? I'll show you the way.
Dear Miss Netiquette: My Aunt Ida doesn't really get Facebook. She does stuff like post 10 times on my wall in a row, as though she's sending me texts, and she sends me incessant FarmVille requests. How can I encourage her to get more savvy without being patronizing?
Just be honest with her. If she lives near you, arrange to have lunch, bring your laptop, and politely show her the ropes. Private messages are a very important thing to show your older, talkative relatives. If you're nice about it, she'll probably appreciate the tutorial. And be forgiving - who cares if she occasionally goes crazy on your wall? Unless you're an image-obsessed middle-school student, your friends won't think it's dorky - they'll think it's nice you have such a loving aunt. And since all the judgey teens are abandoning Facebook, I really wouldn't worry about it.
If she doesn't live near you, it might be trickier to show her how to use social media like a Normal, but you could send her a friendly message giving her the run-down. If she doesn't read it, she doesn't read it - again, having a loving aunt who blows up your Facebook wall really isn't the end of the world. Especially if she still sends you birthday cards with money in them.
Dear Miss Netiquette: My amazingly supportive parents are hard to complain about, but they keep writing recommendations for me on LinkedIn and then got really offended when I asked them to take them down. Am I being unreasonable?
No, you're not. LinkedIn is an important resource if you're looking to find a job and make professional connections, and it doesn't look very professional when you have your parents publicly gushing over you. It also makes your other recommendations look potentially shady - is that really a glowing endorsement from a former colleague, or just from an old friend? If it's clear you let your immediate family members talk you up, people might think you just asked your friends and family to boost your online reputation instead of actually getting the thumbs-up from people you worked with. Tell your parents they can write whatever they want on your Facebook wall as long as they leave LinkedIn alone.
Dear Miss Netiquette: My cousin keeps spamming me with invitations to see his jam band play. Every single week. And I don't even live in the same city. I tried to ask him to stop once and he just ignored me. It's getting really annoying - help!
How much do you like your cousin? Since simply asking him didn't seem to do the trick, you can try pressing decline on the event instead of just ignoring it - there's a slim chance he'll see that you're not interested and leave you off the guest list. But it's likely your cousin is just inviting everyone on his friend list regardless of geographic location, and in that case, the only way to get rid of these invites is to defriend your cousin. You probably don't want to do that, so you might have to just deal with the onslaught of invites.
Dear Miss Netiquette: My brother-in-law keeps tweeting really racist jokes. Should I say something?
It depends. Do you like your brother-in-law? If you really don't like him, you can submit his off-color tweets to Public Shaming, a blog devoted to making people who tweet awful things feel bad about themselves. That should cause some trouble for him and make him realize other people think racist jokes are terrible, not hilarious.
If you generally like your brother-in-law and think he could have a teachable moment, tell him that the tweets upset you. If he's not a jerk, he'll at least think twice before polluting the Twitterverse with his bullshit, even if he doesn't change his private opinion. And if he is a jerk and doesn't listen to you, resort to my first recommendation.
Dear Miss Netiquette: I'm having a barbeque and I want to make an invitation on Facebook ... but I don't want to invite my incredibly annoying sister (I love her, but it's just not going to be her scene). She makes Steve Urkel look like Ryan Gosling. To make matters worse, I really want to invite some mutual friends. How do I throw this party without my sister finding out about it on social media?
When it comes to making the invite on Facebook, you can change the privacy settings so only the people invited can see the party. So you're covered there. What you can't really control is whether your guests will put pictures up on Instagram or Facebook that your sister can see, or if they'll tweet about it - or just start talking about it in person the next time you're all together. You could tell everyone to make the party a social media-free zone, but I think that's making a bigger deal out of this than it needs to be. Keep the party invite private, but if people put evidence up on social media, let it be. If your sister asks why she wasn't invited, just say you didn't think it was her type of party, or you thought she was busy that day. If she's pretty obtuse and doesn't get the hint and insists on coming to the next one, just let her come. It's just a party. You should chill. She'll survive, even if she's a little bit of weirdo - and if she doesn't then she won't care next time she isn't invited. 

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