I am one of those people that goes to a buffet with that gotta-eat-my-money's-worth mentality. Sometimes, I'm meticulous about trying each and every tasty looking morsel. Then other times, I pile on the usual favorites (i.e. mashed potatoes) and eat and eat until I'm so overstuffed I can't eat any more. Wait a second. Take a deep breath. Go back for thirds.
There are long periods of time where I avoid buffets all together--either because it's not worth the cost or because it's not healthy.
Social media is a buffet. With the best of technology and relationships, social media allows you to snack and sample (as Jeremiah Owyang suggested), over do it or skip it for more diet friendly options.
Eating healthy in social media requires a balanced diet of community engagement platforms (Facebook, Twitter, a blog, etc) and real-time networking (i.e. human to human time). Knowing that, and putting it to good use are two different things. If social media is a buffet, I fall into the binge and purge pattern of social media consumption--interested, engaged, participating, overloaded--stop. Ignore it all for a little while. Start over.
This seems to be my natural pattern for social media--binge and purge. So I'm looking for good ways to maintain a steady level, while still leaving room for breaks and snacking elsewhere. It feels funny to structure social media into my day--it's not organic to plan for X amount of blog posts or Z amount of time on Facebook or Twitter, etc. What do you think?