You have no doubt joined a variety of social networks by now. Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn for sure, and perhaps others. You may not have realized it before, but if you take a close look at your email inbox, you may notice that it's quickly getting filled with email notifications from all these networks! These emails are interrupting your day and draining your precious time - and most are not worth it. It's time to go through your networks and email notification preferences and do some housecleaning.
On Twitter, I recently adjusted my email notifications so that I would stop receiving an email for every ReTweet and Mention. I also do not need to be emailed for each new follower. When I first joined, it was neat to get those emails and see that activity, but it's not risen to flood level and needs to be stopped. I do still receive emails for direct messages, though legitimate direct messages are so infrequent I may stop that soon too. My iPhone continues to notify me of ReTweets and Mentions as I do all of my Twitter conversations through my iPhone anyways.
Go to twitter.com, log in, and click on the gear icon to get to your account settings. Select Email notifications in the left and you can adjust your settings accordingly.
I have also turned off all follower recommendations and Top Tweets, though I did keep Twitter's news and updates on Twitter developments, as those are infrequent and of interest to me. Most business owners can probably turn those off too.
To get to your Facebook notification settings, log into Facebook and again, look for the gear icon for your settings in the upper right corner (don't you just love standardization?) You'll see an option for Notifications to the left.
First, you can pick and choose how you get your notifications. Facebook is a dynamic site that can popup notifications while you're logged in, and of course is deeply integrated into our mobile devices, so you'll want to give some thought as to how you want to be interrupted for different events. Be sure to open the Email settings in particular as you will likely wish to unsubscribe from some of the options.
You can then pick and choose some of the specific activities that you wish to be notified on. Just like with Twitter, I use my iPhone for a lot of my Facebook activity and monitoring, so I've chosen to only be emailed about Important Events. I have also turned off notifications for Close Friendsand all Group Activity. I regularly view my Close Friends List so I keep up with them without needing notifications, and I'll check out a Group feed only when I'm interested in taking the time.
To adjust your Google+ notifications, log into your Google+ account and again, look for the handy gear icon to access your settings. Simply scroll down and you'll be able to adjust where your notifications are sent, and what you're notified about.
For me, I still want to be emailed when someone mentions me in a post or shares a post with me directly. If I want to respond in more detail, it's easier to do so from my laptop. However, I limit comment notifications to my iPhone. I have turned off all circle and follower notifications, and I certainly don't want emails each time someone comments on a post after I comment.
Each time I log into the Google+ app, which I do throughout the day, the app automatically tells me when people have followed me or done some activity on one of my posts. If I was monitoring my Google+ account less frequently, I might need email notifications, but not anymore.
LinkedIn, of course, is a little different from the other networks in terms of accessing your settings. In the upper right corner, you'll see your name with a small triangle to the right. Mouseover your name and you'll see a menu option for Settings there. LinkedIn will ask you to confirm your login at that point, and then you can select the Email Preferences tab in the grouping towards the bottom of the page.
The first setting, "Types of emails you're willing to receive" is talking about how other LinkedIn users can contact you. While I recommend leaving that wide open, you should certainly review your options and adjust according to how you want to use LinkedIn for your business.
"Set the frequency of emails" is the area you really want to concentrate on. Again, for myself, I open the LinkedIn app on my iPhone throughout the day, so I simply don't need email notifications for Invitations, Activity, Network Updates or Referral Suggestions. I'm not interested in receiving LinkedIn Today nor do i want a Notification Digest. This is just spam for me to delete. LinkedIn does give you the option of Weekly Digests instead of Individual Emails or None, if you're afraid you might miss something if you turn off email notifications completely for a topic.
Honestly, what started this for me was when I realized I was getting emails each and every time someone followed me on Viadeo. Yeah, I know, you probably haven't even heard of Viadeo (here's what it looks like, if you're curious: http://us.viadeo.com/en/profile/michael.allton) and that's OK. The point is, I have profiles on quite a few social networks and I'm regularly getting emails from most of them! Flickr, YouTube, GetGlue, IntoNow, Empire Avenue, XeeMe and StumbleUpon, just to name a few.
I have now put it into my head that whenever I get a new email notification, my first thought needs to be, "Do I need to get these?" If the answer is no, I leave the notification in my Inbox until I have a moment to visit that site, log in, and adjust my email notifications accordingly.
Email is a fabulous tool for communication, but as we all know, our Inboxes are getting overwhelmed with unnecessary messages. While you may not be able to do much about the true junk mail and spam that comes in, you can work to control the optional messages you receive, and I hope you'll take the time to control these Social Medianotifications. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.
Out Of Control Inbox image courtesy of gorickjones, Flickr.