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Social Media as a Time Sucker
26 May 2009, by , in Uncategorized, 2 comments

I have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin, and I write blog posts here at least twice a week. I don’t spend too much time on any of them, but this analysis from Alan Weiss on the potential for social media to eat away at your time is pretty disturbing. His analysis:

If people visit linkedin twice a day for 15 minutes each time, that’s 2.5 hours in a five-day week. (I’m discounting weekends, though I shouldn’t, because social media wandering is clearly a full-time avocation, but I want to be conservative here.)

If they visit Facebook four times a day for 10 minutes each, that’s roughly 3.3 hours.

If they Twitter six times a day for five minutes each time, that 2.5 hours. (Or 12 times at 2.5 minutes each—you get the idea.)

If they post on their blogs three times a week (rather important to keep a blog active and interesting), and the creation and posting of the item takes 30 minutes (and I think I’m really low-balling this one), that’s 2.5 hours.

And now I’m going to add just two hours to the week, that accommodate reading others’ blogs, replying to commentary, following up social media stuff off-line, updating profiles, uploading photos, and so on.

Drum roll, please: We now have a five-day week on a conventional 40-hour basis with about 13 hours engaged in what is somewhat inappropriately termed “social media.” I understand that those hours may well extend into evening or early morning time. On the basis of a 40-hour week, that’s 33% devoted to this stuff; but even on the basis of a 12-hour day, the percentage is 22%.

So how about you? How much of your time is being eaten by social media?

About author:
  • Though I disagree with the specific analysis, I do think undisciplined social media attention can sponge otherwise-valuable time and make it “less so.”

    My reasons for disagreeing w/the analysis, per se, could likely just be situational — the way I do it may not be as others do.

    For instance, I use tweetdeck for both facebook (during the day) and twitter (all). I only tweet things I’ve read that are business newsworthy, so presumably would have read those with or without the twitter influence (voracious news reader). A tweet may take me 60 seconds, two minutes tops, and that’s only to shorten the post.

    I generally send tweetdeck tweets to both twitter AND facebook, so killing two birds w/one stone. I do not make facebook-specific posts during the day at all, usually.

    I post on my blog twice per week (at least I try to), but spend nowhere near 30 minutes to do so. I have a system for collecting relevant thoughts, and writing those posts takes 5 minutes, ten minutes tops.

    I do probably spend 30 minutes per day on linkedin, but that includes networking and answering questions — frequently a source of material for articles and blogs. I outsource the infrastructure stuff (setting up accounts, uploading photos, profiles, etc.).

    — BTW, Wes, I’m probably spending 5-7 minutes just answering your question, thanks a lot for that…!

    I’d put my weekly total closer to 5 hours, not 13. Is still begs the question, however, is that 5 hours well spent? I’ve been really active on this for about a month; I’ve received one invitation to speak (paid, but not much), and one client discussion still in progress.

    I’d say it works as well as any other time investment, if done judiciously and with great personal discipline.

    But that’s just me…

    KB

    D. Kevin Berchelmann

  • Wes Trochlil

    Kevin, thanks for taking so much time to comment! 😉

    I like Alan’s overall point, which is to ask if you know how much time one is spending on these social media, and whether or not that time is well spent.

    While I find plenty of value in certain blogs, and some value on Twitter, there’s far too much noise. After all, unless I’m actually picking you up at the airport, your flight being delayed is of zero interest to me (to take just one Facebook example).

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