How much is too much (social media, that is)?

That’s a question I was asked recently in my social media class. And it’s one that comes up a lot.

With the proliferation of social networking tools, how much time should we/can we spend on various sites?

I’d like to borrow my answer from a thoughtful post by Amber Naslund: ‘It depends’.

Actually, I think you need to look at the question from two perspectives.

The first has to do with the learning curve involved when you try to master anything new. And that can be fairly substantial including:
– Discovery
– Getting a handle on what a site is all about and how to use it intelligently
– Registering
– Testing
– Listening
– Engaging
– Participating

All this takes time. And it’s not something that can be accomplished in an eight-hour burst (though you sometimes need that sort of intensity to get started). It’s a long-term commitment; the same process that we go through when we learn anything new.

The second consideration is personal: What are you looking to get out of the site?

Here are a few things to ponder:
– Is this something you have to know/do as part of your job/class?
– How busy are you?
– What one thing that you’re currently enjoying would you be willing (and able) to scale back or give up?
– What are you looking for (fun, networking, business-building)?
– Will it obsess you (and not in a positive way)?
– Will adding it to your routine completely overwhelm you?
– How will it affect your real-life relationships?

Really, it comes down to a matter of self-awareness, personal and professional choices, your goals and commitment. And a willingness to experiment with something new.

And of course, if you don’t like it, you can always stop and try again later.

What do you think?

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One thought on “How much is too much (social media, that is)?

  1. Martin – I agree with the "it depends" answer. However, I think we are going to see a huge shift where business leaders are going to start seeing the benefits of engaging in this channel more frequently, and with greater intensity. I'm staring at my copy of "Game Changer" on my book shelf, where A.G. Lafley describes P&Gs innovation process, and how he himself often gets out to talk to customers. More leaders should do that. And those leaders should start using social media to do it before their competitors do.

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