Skip to Content

!http://marketingaccelerator.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/smm-confusion.jpg|title=SMM-Confusion|height=266|alt=|width=241|class=alignleft size-full wp-image-299|src=http://marketingaccelerator.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/smm-confusion.jpg!

How much time one should spend on social media ,
on which channels, and where the line should be drawn to one’s private
life is a very difficult question, and in a way, everybody has to answer
it for themselves.  This blogs attempts to provide some guidance.

* * 

Recently, the following (common) question(s) landed in my inbox:

“Lately,
I am confronted with certain challenges…the difficulty to keep private
and work related issues apart (especially on Fb). In my work environment
the offerings exploded and I don’t really know which one of them
actually helps me doing my job. If I choose to get active in every
offering that we now promote, I can spend my whole day just reading
work-related Fb posts, tweets, microblogs, community discussions etc.
Honestly I feel overwhelmed by this, as on some days I struggle to get
through my inbox, then I don’t even think about other sources. And whats
next? Work Tumblr, Work Google +….? Is there a comprehensive overview of which Social Network offerings are available for which purpose?”

 

Here my Thoughts on the Topic:

The
question is a bit like saying, “how much time should I spend being on
the phone, having informal conversations in the hall way, on email and
in meetings? And how many hours should I put in before I switch off the PC and work phone?”

 

The answer is: it depends. 

 

As high-tech <or fill in your industry here> workers,
we are entrusted with the responsibility to figure these things out for
ourselves based on our overall objectives for our jobs. But just
like with time management
in general, of course, it makes sense to discuss this topic with others
and see if there are people who have cracked the code better than we
have. Begin by asking yourself:

 

    1. What social
      media channels support me in achieving my goals? Which ones suck up my
      time and have little impact? (This will likely require some research and
      experimentation.)

 

My Personal Experience:

<br />

I
would argue that I have made many meaningful, lasting and enriching
connections with other social media professionals (and those interested
in social media) on Twitter. I do a lot of DM Tweeting  to
learn and tighten relationships, and am learning a lot about social
media by following the right people, including influencers like the
@SAPMentors. This is mainly because I am in social media marketing and
it adds value to what I do; but I also enjoy doing it.

    1.  For me,
      FB is for friends and an extended network of people who I like and
      trust,  i.e. I enjoy their daily updates, care what they are up to and
      believe I’ll want to connect with them in person (again) at some point. I
      also trust them not to say anything stupid about me.  Now that Google+
      is around, I am tightening up my FB community; especially work-related
      connections.

 I don’t see how anybody in high-tech could not be on LinkedIn  as
it is your own brand builder; your resume online. You don’t have to do
more than that but can also learn and engage in communities. Identify
the groups where the right people are talking about the things you care
about; lurk or participate. Done.

 I also just joined Google+
and am struggling with it. If I were not doing social media
professionally I’d probably ignore it for a bit. But I want to know
what’s happening there and how it works, so I signed up and am playing
with the features and functions sporadically. I am amazed by how many
familiar faces are already there (= I am already friends on FB with most
of them). But there is a big difference for me to FB, at least that is
my initial impression: content shared on Google+ seems to be a lot more
professional in nature than on Facebook .
But maybe that is because many of my close friends have told me
that they are too busy to also be on G+ (only time will tell) :-).

    The bottom line is: it’s a struggle. Just like work-life balance is a consistent struggle (at least for me). You have to actively do something to find a good solution.

     

    My Recommendation: Make the Time to Assess your own Situation

    <br />

       

        1. Which social media channels are you currently on?
        2. What are the benefits you feel you get from each of them?
        3. How does social media help you reach your work goals? Can you quantify it? Qualitative goals are valid too.
        4. How much time would you say you currently spend on each channel?
        5. How does the time you spend correspond to the benefits you derive?
        6. How much time to you have to give in your day to be on social media?
        7. Are
          there trade-offs you can make? Example: now that you write your own
          blog, can you forward it on to give answers to questions that come up
          over and over again? Now that you follow news on Twitter, can you cut
          down the time you spend on news websites?
        8. Do you enjoy using the social media tools you are using?

       

      Looks
      at all the answers you gave to the above and create an action plan. How
      much time do you want to spend on each channel each day/week? Don’t
      forget to factor in what you enjoy. You’ll probably adjust this over
      time.

       

      2.   PRIVATE:

       

        1. A lot of the questions above apply, but also ask yourself how much time you want to spend with people online vs. in person.

      Think
      thoroughly about how many hours a day you are willing to put in for
      work vs. spending time with your friends and family; then decide when
      you should shut down the PC or stop Tweeting on our PDA . Nobody else can tell you where to draw the line between work and the rest of your life. It’s a choice.

        1. Do you really need to be connected/available all the time or is your identity too wrapped up in your job?
        2. Does spending time on Facebook stress you out or is it relaxing?

       

      I
      bet that after going through the question, you probably already have a
      gut feeling of what the right thing to do is; how much time you want to
      spend in certain channels, what you get out of it and how much free time  you
      want/need. Trust that feeling but do a little deeper analysis to help
      you compartmentalize your social media usage. Once you have a plan, you
      don’t have to think as much and can execute. It takes time to establish
      new habits and the easier you make it, the more successful you will be.

       

      We
      all know how easy it is to waste away time on the Internet without
      noticing. I believe that it requires conscious effort and planning to
      manage your priorities, be productive and happy!

       

      *To provide an
      answer to the question of what each social media tool can offer*, I am
      listing a few selected blogs on the topic below. There is no way around
      experimenting in social media channels to form your own opinion on which
      ones work for you, but some quick research can help you decide where to
      get started and narrow down a short list.

       

      Matthias Steiner: The Potential of Social Networks

      John Appleby: google-plus-and-contextual-networks-analysis-of-the-major-social-media-websites/

      Social Media Today: Which social media channels should you be using?

      Natascha Thomson:  What does “Being Present” Mean in the Age of Social Media? And the Myth of Multi-Tasking</li></ul>

      To report this post you need to login first.

      7 Comments

      You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.

      1. Tom Cenens
        Hello Natascha

        Like you I don’t want to do strict time management on Social Media use. I do try not to exagerate on time spent though as I feel too much is not good either.

        In general on work days I tend to spend time on SDN before I start working.

        Based on others comments I can also say that I’m not a big
        fan of watching television so that frees up time for Social Media.

        Great blog, keep the coming. It’s really nice the Social Media category is available now, very much welcome.

        Kind regards

        Tom

        (0) 
      2. Kevin Grove
        I definitely relate to your comments about the need for balance and time management. Often it seems I am trying to take a sip of water from a fire hose. Identifying the valuable channels can be a challenge.
        I experienced a relatively brief time this year between jobs. During that time SCN became an invaluable source of information and study on SAP technologies where my skills were outdated.
        My goal with my current employer is to show the value of social media as a component of training and bringing value to my job.
        In addition to SAP and work, I like the idea of a Personal Learning Network (Fast Company article-http://bit.ly/qC8xm7 ). Finding media sources that enrich all areas of life.

        Your leadership and input to SCN are greatly appreciated.

        Thanks,

        Kevin Grove

        (0) 
      3. Jon Reed
        Natascha – good advice here. I have rattled off a bunch of YouTube videos on this topic mostly because I have massive time issues and want to participate in these channels in ways that make the most of the time I do have. Unfortunately other people’s advice falls short after a point as we all have to find our own balance.

        I would add a couple of points here:

        1. I think there is a distinction that can be made between adding a new “destination web site” to our list of daily routines versus an “alerts driven” web site. I define a destination site as one we make a point of hanging out on, not always because of an alert but because of a deeper reason. For example Twitter is a destination web site for me – most days, I’ll be on Twitter for some period of time, not just posting things but seeing what others are saying and soaking in the vibe/talking to folks. But if I’m pressed for time I revert back to Twitter as an alerts site by only coming on when I am pinged or when a key topic I am tracking via RSS comes up. That’s how I usually am on weekends where I put Twitter into alerts status. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus are all alerts-based sites for me. As such they don’t take up a lot of my time, so that’s a useful distinction as you can set up alerts based on your preferences and once you have a profile set up, etc, you’re good to go.

        Google Plus has two killer features in my view, in particular, Hangouts where spontaneous video hang out fun can happen in a way that you just can’t get anywhere else. For that alone it’s worth setting up a couple of circles and your profile in my opinion. Threaded conversations make it easier to share something with a nuance that can get lost on Twitter but for now G+ is an alerts-driven site for me most days.

        2. One thing that can be a misconception is that social media is only a time suck. Yes, it can be, but if you use it smartly, you can save time from other things. I haven’t been able to kill email but Twitter in particular has reduced my email sludge time each day. To an extent I think other tools like Hangouts/Circles could do the same with email threads and long meetings and so on. So I’m always looking at how new tools can cut away at existing time constraints and make things more fun.

        As always value varies by individual but I think an alerts-based approach can help to dip toes in the water and then up the ante if the time investment is paying off or if you have more time some evenings, etc.

        – Jon

        (0) 
      4. Tridip Chakraborthy
        Hey Natascha,
        as usual your posts always have some mint fresh dimensions, I was extremely flaunted with the earlier posts and this one had to come in early, since I saw a lot of the target audience struggling with the pie chart, the biggest question being how to effectively break-up your time and get maximum out of Social Media
        I have chosen a matrix which is extremely effective
        60% of my time goes on LI, 15% on the Blogging mix that comes out of SDN, BPX and SCN and the remaining 20% comes of twitter and micro-blogging and the remining 5% is amortized across other platforms which is a strong mix of whatever’s remaining.
        The cluster has really worked out successful as am able to balance the act out and help myself sustain the engagement across the platforms I’ve chosen.
        I would say that the remaining 5% is luring my personal side which is making the most of the Facebook platform and trying hard like you to get some understanding of the G+ engine.
        Neverthless, we as your target audience always look forward to incremental dosages from mentors like you and please please keep writing and get our awareness leveraged as always
        Cheers
        Tridip
        (0) 
      5. Palm Norchoovech
        As a community manager, I believe that I spent lots of time on social media at work than others. I usually spend first half of the day on social media to look for interesting contents and engage with other people. Sometimes I find it is difficult for me to focus on the work for the later half of the day and get distracted by the feeling that I will miss something on social media.  As the result, I tend to multitasks and I am not 100% productive.

        These are definitely questions I have to think about and try to balance the time.

        Thanks,
        Palm

        (0) 
        1. Natascha Thomson Post author
          It’s nice that you are so honest. I struggle the same way. I have all those aspirations to divide my time in a structured fashion and then something exciting is being discussed or you see a video on a great topic you need to learn about for your job and there goes your planning… 🙂
          (0) 
      6. Michelle Crapo

        I try to read blogs in the morning.  I TRY to keep it to around 1/2 hour.  Of course, it gets longer and longer.   Also when I spend time responding, well that just means it’s not in the morning.  I get that e-mail, and I have to respond.  I’m an SCN addict.

        (0) 

      Leave a Reply