What do you think about Social Media and all the buzz around these services?
Last night I was on a Six Apart telephone conference with Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse and the topic of how much time and effort social media takes up was raised. Andy made the good point that the people who discuss social media most are the people who need to, people like me who make our living being on top of these things so we can advise others.
If you follow all the advice on blogs and forums, took part in every social media venue, then you would very quickly have no time to do anything else.
You have to think in terms of ROI. What is your return on social media investment? (ROSMI?)
I can talk all day about the benefits of social media, especially around making contacts and networking, but if these come at the expense of your work or business then the picture does not look so rosy.
It’s quite clear a lot of the time spent in social media is for leisure, so right there it is a matter of your priorities and mindset if you regard it as a waste of time. I stopped using FaceBook completely because it had zero return for me, while my Twitter usage if anything has increased from when I first joined (even if I have been quiet on that front lately).
While FaceBook, with its spam and trivialities, did not provide me anything but annoying messages in my inbox, I have found Twitter a great source of connections and news. StumbleUpon and Reddit send me nice bursts of traffic, so partaking in and researching those is worth the time. LinkedIn I am still figuring out.
I parcel out my time over various activities. While it is tempting, I do not have Twitter open all day in a desktop application, I dip in a couple of times and treat it as a break from work. For the others I experiment and have fixed goals. Plurk for example I have placed on the back burner, but am keeping an eye on it as people tell me to give it another try.
Experimentation is what I recommend. See what works for you while keeping an open mind.
For most people I would recommend at least trying out Twitter, just because networking is so important, but do not pressure yourself with any of this stuff and keep your priorities in check. Social Media is just one of many things to spend your time on, unless you see a good return on your activity you probably are better off doing something else.
Pick your battles and closely monitor where your time goes and what results you get, and if you have fun, well there is no harm in that is there? 🙂