Time Waits for No One

One of the biggest challenges of working within an international organization is dealing with time itself: if I’m in California, what time is it in Stockholm? Or Toronto? Or the Bahamas? Or Beijing? Before, all I really had to worry about was making sure that meetings and phone calls all fell within US waking hours. Not anymore.

Working within a multi-timezone framework impacts individual conversations and interactions, but it also influences the timing for social media activity. For example: what’s the best time of day to send a Tweet so it will reach the maximum number of people at any given time anywhere in the world?

Answer: there is no single, magical time that’s best for everyone. So what to do? Listen to your audience. Follow the timing of their social media interactions. When are they actively tweeting and posting to Facebook? When do things quiet down? Try to locate “sweet spots” during a 24 hour period that will reach most of your followers. Make note of which day of the week it is as well. For example, I’ve noticed a lull in conversation on Friday and Saturday evenings, with things picking back up on Sundays (makes sense).

Going back to time zones…here are some of the tools I use to make sure I’m not inadvertently calling someone in the middle of the night:

Vela Clock – a dashboard widget and iPhone app that let you make a whole list of time zones to monitor, including UTC.

Every Time Zone – a website with sliders to help you determine what time it is where, and help you plan future meeting timing.

Mashable and I must have been thinking along the same lines. Here’s their post on some free online tools for managing time zones.

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