Personal time versus social media time: Something has to give

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The thing I love to do more than anything is connect with social media friends in real life and when I’m in New York City, I always try to catch up with the brilliant Elizabeth Sosnow, one of the partners at Bliss Integrated Communications.

Not only is Elizabeth an inspiring business leader, she is incredibly insightful and I always walk away with at least five blog post ideas from our conversations (including this one!).

But this conversation took an unexpected turn.

Elizabeth and I owe our personal relationship to Twitter and blogging (both hers and mine). This is how we met. this how we became friends, and it is how we continue to be connected over time and distance. Even though we may be separated by a thousand miles, I always feel connected to Elizabeth and my other friends around the world through their drip, drip, drip of communications on the social networks.

But Elizabeth’s posts have more or less dried up in the past few months.

“Business has been very good,” she said, “and something had to give. This is it.”

In 2009, we were just entering the grip of the recession. At the same time, we were seeing the explosive growth of blogging, Facebook, and YouTube. Twitter was still a young buck but began its rise that summer.

I wrote a blog post at the time wondering if the recession and the rise of social media were related. After all, the economics of social media depend on people wasting huge amounts of time watching videos, playing games, and posting photos. With the unemployment level climbing at that time, people had more time to waste on these activities.

The corollary is that as the economy improves, time on social networks should go down as well. When I wrote a blog predicting that an economic recovery would also mean a decline in social media usage, people howled in protest.

But I think I was right. Elizabeth’s story is a common one — as business picks up, our incidental time available for social web activities goes down.

What do you think? Am I right? Or are there other forces in place that will fuel social media growth? How is this showing up in your life?

All posts

  • It’s a logical assumption, as individuals become busier they ‘should’ have less time for social media.
    This is unless they are using their phones and tablets during working hours (as many people do even if they don’t admit it).

    There is also the trend of businesses getting heavily involved in social media, both, advertising, engaging and generally communicating with clients and prospects.

    I think if social media was still a medium for individuals to interact in their spare time, as opposed to it now being a medium for pretty much everything, then the ‘equation’ would work.

    Plus there’s people like me that get paid to use social media all day! πŸ™‚

  • Ha! Must be nice : )

  • The interesting thing she said, though, is that “business is great,” therefore she had less time for social media…not that she needed more personal time. So she’s made the decision to invest that time presumably in customer service, consulting, etc., rather than blogging, tweeting, etc. So this either means that her funnel will dry up (unlikely) or that it might be time to put social back in its proper place as a *part* of our business rather than the whole enchilada. Right?

  • Lorena Cora

    Use of Social media will continue to rise because many businesses have not even realized how important social media is for their sales/services. As Barry pointed below, the use of social media will also expand because we now have thousands of ways to access it.

  • I think something does have to give. Agree. As someone who drives social for clients for a living, it’s harder to step away. That said, I think someone’s social chops could be just as well evaluated for how they prioritize their time. Nobody has to be on every channel anymore despite what their agency may tell them. I think success in social could be just as well defined by the channels someone decides to not spend time on as much as their actual online activity.

    On that note, I’ve got work to do.

  • Craig Lindberg

    As businesses recover with the economy, I’d liken it to “a rising tide floats all boats”, regardless of the skill of the crew. Those who prepared for it during the low tide will benefit more quickly and broadly which means a shift in their priorities according to improving conditions (a stacked in-box) which may include temporarily scaling back on personal commitment to social media. Those who did not prepare as well may return to some degree of prosperity but not category leadership. Any executive leadership with growth plans is always training someone to take their place or delegating necessary tasks meaning those marketing best practices including social media must ramp back up in preparation for the inevitable headwinds. Hmmm, now I have this overwhelming desire to go for a boat ride πŸ™‚
    Thanks Mark!

  • Meg Tripp

    I’ve never found it difficult to shut off social media or to put it in the right place in my life. If I’ve got something else to do, I don’t feel like I’m being pulled back in, or that I have to be present. I met my husband on Twitter, so perhaps I should be more obsessive, but even if I tweet quite a bit, it’s never because I feel obligated or addicted — I just have a lot to say, and when I’m done, I go do something else.

    It really is just one of the things that pops up in my day, but I don’t do it if it doesn’t feel great.

    On the business side of things, I do post on social media on behalf of my workplace, but I see the impact of those actions on how we’re perceived and the clients we get, so it still pays off, timewise. And if I’m helping our clients create social media accounts, I spend a lot of time helping them figure out where their audiences are and what they want to hear — just so they don’t waste time or effort on just “having a presence”.

    So ultimately, I think there are three kinds of users in my head. The first user is comfortable with these channels but doesn’t feel obligated by them, and they opt into them for multiple uses: personal, professional, etc.

    The second user is more driven and methodical with social media because their use has a distinct set of goals. Once those goals are met, adios, they’re off to do something else.

    The third group is trying to accomplish something more nebulous (there’s that “presence” again, and “authority” and “credibility”) so they post constantly, everywhere, and respond to everything, everywhere. Volume = success. Interaction = networking.

    I think that third group does fine with the second group and pisses the first group off royally.

    But that’s just me. πŸ™‚

  • @AmitPNYC

    Social is a $1.3 trillion potential economy based on McKinsey. I think there has to be a balance b/w social and personal time. However, the upside and monetization of social will undoubtedly help everyone, and help with jobs and lower the recession. http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/the_social_economy

  • Chuck Kent

    The social dip due to economic recovery makes sense, but I also think that we’re well past the point of social media as novelty, the must-do new thing (even if you didn’t know why). Growth well depend on how well utility replaces novelty and time spent relates to money earned.

  • Wow, this is such a great discussion and (as usual, sends me spinning in multiple directions LOl).
    Sooo:
    1. Mark, we discussed that original blog post at great lengths. The “slant” here is Social Media use professionally, not personally. I’d be willing to bet that although participation in the Social Media professional “Echo Chamber” declines as we become more professionally engaged in business, the personal use of Social Media for research for personal consumption has increased (and that’s actually where there is more value for us all).
    2. This cartoon actually speaks to the “Next Big Social Media Thing” IMO; The internet of things.

  • I agree with you Mark. When I am traveling and on a blog tour or a hectic work week my Twitter feed dies down, I don’t even have energy or time to reply to others. My best solution is to schedule tweets with articles I find interesting and informative, then when I have a 5 min break I can actually talk to people (tweet people back) to keep the relationships alive.

  • I have to agree, too. When I’m working on a new project, something has to give. I refuse to have it be my family, so my online time takes the hit. When I can, I try to make sure to check in and share the blogs that I love, even if I don’t have time to comment. (Which I don’t today, but this hit home big time.)

  • Well my time is divided up to where is needs to be in my opinion. When I’m at work I have time to be on social media, lucky for me it’s my job to be on social media, but when I go home my time is dedicated to my wife and kids. I’m not saying I never get on at home, but my active time on my social sites goes way down in the evenings and the weekends. You have to be able to unplug from tech once and awhile. i wrote a great blog on unplugging, but I won’t put the link yet, don’t want to seem spammy, but if anyone would like to read it let me know. There must be balance in all things, when one thing out weighs the other, so you will tip over, that’s just the law of how things are.

    Thanks Mark for the great read.

  • I agree with your prediction, Mark, but I wouldn’t attribute it to an economic recovery just yet. Instead, I give credit to the power of social media marketing and networking to create opportunities for those who would otherwise have to rely on a very limited offline network. Once those connections and opportunities are created and begin to provide cash flow in the way of a job, or customers/buyers for products/services, the go-getters who used social media for that reason are busy taking full advantage of their reward! In a personal downturn or slow period they’ll be back, because they know how to leverage social media.

    I don’t see any change in social media usage for friends who are hoping their ship comes in while they play online games, surf the ‘net, comment on every post and news article about religion, social issues, and politics, and engage in all the other distractions the internet provides. Those distractions are fine and fun in our down-time, but not when we need to be workin’ it — and workin’ it hard!

    And yes! We should all give our families and our responsibilities our full attention when we have a choice between those priorities and social media (or any other distraction). Even in a personal downturn or slow period, those who consistently choose distractions — wherever they come from — over family and responsibilities do so at their own peril. (Been there, and still paying the piper!)

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  • I’d love to read your blog post on unplugging, Barry!

  • Mark,

    To be 100% honest with you, I don’t understand how certain people do it. To them, social media is like a mass appendage they can’t cut off. Some are running on the wheel like a furry rodent, while others who seem to have this social thing licked are brilliantly scheming world domination πŸ™‚ Some are consumed by it, while others are doing amazing things.

    The only way I maintain sanity is by dipping in and out during certain periods of the day. I usually schedule that time (like now) or fit it in when I would otherwise be twiddling my thumbs.

    I do agree with Steve that the internet of things is looming and this will be the next big thing. 3D printing, Google Glass, small-scale custom manufacturing, etc. … this stuff holds rubes like me spellbound and I can’t imagine what the next 5-10 years will be like. It’ll be some ride and it will be really interesting to see the shakeout and change in the social media world.

    You sure know how to start a great conversation πŸ™‚

  • Elizabeth is savvy. Here pipeline won’t be drying up so I think your second conclusion is correct Rosemary!

  • Well that’s great to hear. Here is a link to it. http://www.netmark.com/unplug-from-the-digital-world hope you enjoy it.

  • Thanks for the dissenting view. It will be very interesting to see how it plays out. Certainly the use overall is still growing as new applications are released and new demographics are reached.

  • First, so great to hear from you Drew! I appreciate your advice here and agree with you/

  • Let’s do it! Come visit soon.

  • You have just written a brilliant blog post Meg! Thank you for this gift!

  • I am very familiar with this report (in fact I recently had a discussion with the report’s author), but it is referring to internal enterprise social networks like Yammer, not Facebook.

  • Well said Chuck.

  • I am SO HAPPY you came back for this post! I am smiling like crazy because I do remember those discussions we had!

  • Mobile helps a lot doesn’t it? I have a new smartphone that allows voice responses to Facebook posts with excellent accuracy. That should squeeze out a few more nano-seconds for me!

  • Ans I know that time is the most precious gift of all so THANK YOU!

  • Thanks for sharing my friend.

  • This is a very interesting perspective. Extremely interesting actually. I have a more nuanced take. See if this makes sense…

    Early on, it takes a ton of effort to establish a presence. You fumble around, you make mistakes, etc. But over time a content creator becomes more efficient, more savvy, uses tools in a productive way. But the awareness and attention continues to climb. Your amount of content does not have to increase for attention to continue to increase after a certain point. Make sense?

  • Thanks for commenting buddy. I do see that same kind of social media frenzy among some people. I just want to give them a hug and say “You know, it’s going to be OK. You don;t have to keep up this level. We’ll still like you!”

  • Well you are the one that brought us all together on your blog, so Thank You.

  • I love looking at 3D printing, it’s awesome, now only if I could afford it.

  • I think this is a matter of impact decision, the same way we do in our non-work lives, too. It’s not a “personal live vs social media” decision.

    Assume for a minute that social media isn’t a “thing”, but rather it’s just part of the communication fabric of our lives and work. Back to that analogy again, it’s like the phone or email or anything else.

    When we’re absorbed in projects at work, we probably spend less time out for drinks with friends, less time on the phone, we probably fall behind on email and we won’t catch up with our favorite TV shows. If we have a personal crisis, say a death in the family, work projects might fall behind and we’ll leave our scrapbooking project aside and phone calls might go unreturned.

    If you aren’t depending on specific activities using social technologies as a core component of a marketing program, they’re naturally going to ebb and flow along with the other priorities you have in life when other things take precedence.

    I don’t think it’s a social media issue, but rather an indicator that our worlds shape to what we need them to be, regardless of what things happen to be at our disposal. I find that when client work is at a peak, everything I do has to get prioritized in the remaining time. And everyone’s priorities are different, contextual, and relative to them.

  • Mark, your comment to Michelle Quillin resonates with me. In the beginning, we really fumbled with social media and hence spent more time on it. But as we figured out what worked (and what wasn’t so effective), we’ve been able to trim down our activity to a more measured and repeatable pace. We’ve also been able to focus more of our energy on what works best for reaching our target audience (blogging, guest posting, LinkedIn) and experimenting with new approaches that leverage what we’ve learned. Our strategy has become much more refined, and we’re using a rifle now instead of a shotgun. We have not developed a massive audience, but we are achieving our goal of generating new business from our inbound marketing efforts (demonstrated by the fact that I have not made a cold call in nearly THREE years!)

    I agree that the amount of content and participation can decrease (and the amount of time spent) as you figure out what works. But for us, social media has been a key generator for new business, so we definitely can’t pause completely without having the pipeline dry up.

    In terms of the economy affecting social participation, I completely agree, especially in terms of personal use and the explosion of self-described social media “gurus.” As people get paying jobs, they have less time and probably less inclination because their priorities will naturally shift.

  • This is going to seem crazy, but I’m going to disagree. (This would be SO MUCH FUN to do over a bottle of wine!!)

    I think social media plays a much different role in our lives compared to other forms of communication you mention, like the phone.

    First, social media shapes our public persona. Perhaps it IS our public persona. I do believe there is more pressure to participate in social media than on phone or email because it creates your image to the world. Of course this is especially important for teens. I have seen several cases where the pressure to maintain a certain social media persona and activity level that was so acute it resulted in health problems.

    Second, I believe there is an element of “missing out.” If you’re not immersed every moment, what do you miss? How much do you fall behind? It’s like watching a news ticker of people’s lives. This is something that was never available to us before.

    Third, like it our not, I believe there is an element of competition that transcends mere communication. Like it or not, social media is a contact sport. We both know people who are obsessed with Klout scores and the like and do crazy things to generate social media activity.

    In these, ways I believe social media can be an addiction that causes dissonance with real life, distraction from more important work, and distance from live human connection.

    While it makes sense that social media SHOULD be balanced and merely a form of communication, I believe there is a deeper sociological layer creating something different, something much more visceral than email or a phone. Whaddya think?

    So honored to have you comment Amber. You got the wheels turning!

  • In time!

  • I think the second point you make was the main one I was trying to get across in the article. Certainly from a professional perspective it is hard to argue the value of a consistent social/content strategy. Thanks so much for your excellent comment!

  • Craig Lindberg

    Have boat, will travel πŸ™‚

  • You make a good point about always wanting to be connected. I just recently started a blog and a video show, and so at time I feel have to be connected all the time just so I keep up on the news. Not only does this affect my health but also the relationships with my wife and kids.

    So I try to limit myself, it’s hard but I manage. I just like to tell myself that my news may not be “New” so to speak, but my view points and opinions on the subject are. So I role with it that way.

    It takes time and effort to stay in the game, but if your in the whole time you’re going to get burnt out. Sometimes I like to ride the “Pine Pony” helps me get a breath and step back and look at things from a distance.

  • Maybe when I’m done with school. πŸ™‚ haha

  • LOVED this post, Barry! And it was filled with grace, rather than judgement. Well done. I recognized myself, too, in the section about how I spend my evenings. I’m going to adopt your tip about putting the phone in another room, because I’ve noticed I get anxious if I see the screen light up when I’m trying to unplug by just putting it on “silent.”

  • Thank you so much. I’m glad you read and enjoyed it. Haha sometimes I even have a hard time taking my own advice. I’m glad you will be able to take some of the tips and use them in your life, that is a great compliment to me as a writer, thank you.

  • Elizabeth Sosnow

    Ahem. Well, it’s always a bit strange to see your name in lights, especially if it’s in front of the vibrant grow community.

    Let me start by adding a point of clarification. I think (as far as it relates to me, anyway) the title is a bit misleading. I have reduced my social media and blogging time in order to spend more time on our business. Rosemary picked up on that point in her comment. But as a mom of three, my family (personal time) is always going to be my top priority, followed closely by trying to build our firm.

    But this is a fascinating dialogue. For those of us in marketing sector, it’s often quite hard to tell how much time we need to spend being personally “visible.” If I’m being honest, I’d rather spend more of my professional time making our clients visible instead. But what’s the right percentage of time for each activity? I’ve spent the last few months thinking about it and I’m still not sure what the right answer should be. What do you think? Um, maybe I blog it? πŸ˜‰

  • trishbertuzzi

    As the economy recovers we do have less time (those of us that are fortunate enough to be busy anyway) but I do think there is another factor in play. If you look at all the research lately (and there has been quite a bit) it shows that social media is the least effective form of lead generation.

    I think we have enough data now to look at historical trends and that is what it is showing. We just did some research on twitter analytics and the click through rate is abysmal. Yes you may get RTs but no one is really reading your stuff so what you have is activity with no investment.

    I think everyone needs to have the tools in place to make informed decisions about how to spend their time. Social is a must do but maybe it is way down the bottom of the list. Just another viewpoint….

  • Absolutely! I remember starting out with one set of goals based on zero knowledge about how social media works other than “I can talk to people who might end up being our customers.” Fortunately, I started with Twitter, accidentally ran across marketers who’d been here a while (specifically you, Chris Brogan, Laura Roeder and Jason Falls), and started reading and learning, applying and tweaking. After about 6 months, we’d made our last cold call, and it’s been almost 4 years now!

    We’re blessed to have two of us here, though, and my role is ONLY social media management. I’ve wondered how in the world anyone (again, like you) runs a business, manages their own social media (and remains social, not just broadcasting and RTing), AND has a rich life offline. You even teach, travel, and speak at conferences! My word, Mark!

    How DO you do it all?

  • My kids are grown!!!! : )

  • Dude!!! That’s great!

  • I don’t think there is anything like life balance. It has to be life adjustment. There might be times, as a business professional, that you have to do a sprint and be away from the family. There are times you move the focus to another area of your life. In times of crisis, all bets are off. Where does social media fit? Wherever it has to be I suppose. And yes, you should blog about it!

  • You would enjoy reading some of Tom Webster’s writing on this (he is @webby2001 on Twitter). You need to be really careful with those analytics. For example one thing we found on Social Habit research was that people would see something on Pinterest and then go to a website and buy it. If you looked at the CTR, you would conclude Pinterest was a failure when the opposite was true. The social media field is long on data points, short on appropriate analytics and conclusions.

    At the end of the day it all depends on your industry structure and strategy. 100% of my business leads come though my social media presence. For me, social media content and engagement is not at the bottom of the list! : )

  • trishbertuzzi

    So.. I get where you are going. We have a significant following on twitter and our blog and we are not abandoning our social media strategy but data doesn’t lie and the reseach out there days even email performs better than social.

    Perhaps Mark it works best for you as you are in the social business so it is only natural that people looking for services like yours would use social to find you. Now a content strategy is something I can get behind though we see more traffic using email to promote it rather than social.

    I agree that each business has to have the analytics in place to determine which basket to put their eggs in. I always learn from you Mark and have enjoyed this conversation!

  • You may have noticed Mark I use my “social media time” for business sprinkled with personal social media time..

    As with all offline businesses my personal time comes after hours, on holidays, vacations, and weekends!.

    I believe this ‘adaptive’ approah that has been working for me for the past 18 years is going to be the “fuel [for] social media growth.”

  • So is mine (we had one), but I don’t accomplish 1/4 of what you do. Bottle that stuff and sell it, would you? πŸ˜‰

  • That’s not crazy, but I think we’re kind of having two separate conversations here.

    One is a matter of shifting priorities; when your business or life gets busy, something has to give. Why is it so much more significant that social media be the thing that does?

    This still isn’t a social media issue to me. All the things you say about social media’s public nature are true, and they definitely make it unique. They’re also very “of the moment” which makes them feel more urgent and palpable (in your words, the missing out idea).

    But when you’re choosing priorities around what’s important and what’s not, are you saying that choosing to reduce social media is somehow more meaningful than cutting back on other things? I’d be willing to bet that when business is good for Elizabeth, it’s not just social media that gets reduced.

    But we *notice* that more, sure. Perhaps that’s the more significant dialogue here; not that it’s social media *versus* other priorities, but how we perceive that choice vs. other ones.

    The truth is that things that are “an addition that causes dissonance with real life, distraction from more important work, and distance from live human connection” was said about the phone two centuries ago. It was said about cars and driving. It was said about email and the web.

    Those things have simply settled into a place of normalcy, and what I personally believe is that social media is *normalizing*. The hype cycle is dying, but that doesn’t mean it’s dead. It means that social is taking it’s rightful place among the world, one of many avenues of connection and communication but losing some of it’s hyperawareness. Which makes it a MUCH easier thing to reduce or re-prioritize when your life changes direction.

    And in my mind, any conversation is better over a glass of wine, so that’s always welcome. πŸ™‚

  • RhondaHurwitz

    When I was building a business and social media connections, the amount of time I spent online came at the expense of “IRL” pursuits. It was a guilty pleasure to step away from the computer.

    Fast forward a few years, — I’m busier with work, less active in social channels. I hate that I have less time for social — now it is a guilty pleasure to steal time away from a project and read all 53 comments on your blog post.

    Balance? Haven’t found it yet, and don’t think I will.

  • This is a topic that has been on my mind for personal reasons lately. Although I love the connections I make and the conversations I have via social media, I am also very aware of just how much time I spend there. Knowing that time is our most precious commodity, I’m always trying to measure the actual value of the minutes and hours I spend on social.

    A couple of specific questions have been rattling around in my head as I consider how I use social media (and how it uses me):

    1. Should we be more concerned about the possibility of social media addiction?
    I recently read yet another article about the very real issue of social media addiction. Studies are showing that social media can be just as addictive as any other “substance” – alcohol, tobacco, porn, shoe shopping.
    Are those of us who use social media for professional purposes using that aspect of our usage to justify longer hours on Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest?
    Does social media potentially unleash dormant compulsions?
    For instance, I have slight OCD tendencies and it’s very difficult for me to log off of any network (my Feedly stream, Facebook newsfeed, etc.) until I’ve processed the whole feed. It sounds silly, but where some OCD manifests in counting telephone poles or specific dressing rituals, I’ve found that I have a need to “check off” each new post and update in a feed before I close it. Talk about a time commitment!
    Should there be a non-technical/non-marketing type of social media training that teaches people to use the tools and platforms wisely and in moderation?

    2. Do age and maturity typically lead to more selective use of social media?
    I just completed the copy for an extensive research piece that included data on how different generations (Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers) use the Internet and social media. Though it might seem like simple logic that the older generations would use social media less (they weren’t born into this digital world, after all), there was a pretty consistent trend that seems to show a more refined and reduced usage as people age.
    This might be about people getting busier and having less time. It might also be about using social media in smarter, more efficient ways. And, it might also be about shifting priorities.

    I don’t have the answers, but I am trying to be more aware and intentional with my social media time. I’m trying to find the right balance between purposeful and serendipitous. πŸ˜‰

    As always – great post. Thanks for getting me thinking & providing such a wonderful place to share these random thoughts.

  • Mayoor

    Social media is really something. Pretty much of my clients I met thru social media. πŸ™‚

  • Boy, these are huge questions. You have my mind spinning on the generational implications. I wonder if there is a social media cool factor on top of the other obvious reasons why it can be addictive that drives young people to spend so much time there? Implications for the future workplace??? Interesting. Thanks for the amazing comment Jamie!

  • Really interesting perspective Rhonda. In some ways I have had an opposite experience. I moved to Tennessee from LA many years ago and decided to stay because I love the lifestyle. The downside is that I can be somewhat isolated professionally compared to the networking that would be available in a big city. The social web brought so many new connections to me that eventually led to real-life experiences. It has helped neutralize living in a smaller city to some extent. Thanks for taking the time to add your wisdom!

  • There is a real blurring that is occurring for me. Is the time I spend on social media work or fun? Usually it is both. While blogging is my voice of authority to the world and an important part of my business, it is also the most fun work activity I have! In fact, if I could find a way to do it, I would spend all my time writing! So it’s weird. Am I working all the time or having fun all the time? I guess it’s a good problem to have!

  • I guess I don’t necessarily see a distinction. It all kind of blurs together for me in one big marketing mix. I don’t necessarily see social media as a direct selling tool. It’s a more nuanced way to create relationships that can eventually lead to sales and other business benefits. What’s the difference between content marketing and social media? It’s a thin line, if any. If you are doing social media correctly, it should be content marketing.

    Certainly traditional media can be integrated into all of this.

    I see email as kind of a glue that holds it all together, meshing and melding content and ads. At least for now. Will the next generation find email relevant?

    For me, it is all interconnected … and hopefully something will actually work!!! : )

  • I’m always delighted when I can spend a corner of my day at your place, Mark. You ask the most interesting questions. πŸ™‚ Happy Monday!

  • Thank you Mark for sharing your “weird…good problerm to have!”

    Enjoying, and having fun working is the greatest for me as well!

    I stop for a while when this is not the case — my guess is you do too…

  • sandalgal

    I think that it may have slid downward due to time commitments becoming strained but in my experience, small business, no matter how busy, is finding time to be on social media. It’s almost a grassroots movement (that may be the wrong term to use) where small business is trying to cut through the advertising noise to go direct to the consumer. It really depends on what you want to invest time in. Someone like me who freelances and works in social media spends a lot of time on it, however, a baker would rather be kneading dough for increased orders than tweeting about current success. More and more you see automation on social media or someone hired (like me) to maintain a presence. I think there is most likely a correlation of the two but it doesn’t mean that businesses no longer see it as a need.

  • Love this and agree that there’s a relationship between time available to spend on social media and people not being fully employed (or fully engaged in their own businesses).

  • Jan Wong

    I think I’m a good example of the scenario above. When time is tight, online time is one of the first to go. Sad, but very true πŸ™

  • Hi Mark! Shonali Burke linked this so I am late! But you are 100% correct. In fact in 2010 Facebook claimed 55 mins a day per user now it is around 12 minutes. I blog less. Tweet less and pretty much stopped using Facebook last September. Because I am much busier with work and family. As employment grew I saw the number of social ninjas drop fast. I also spend more time with people in person.

    I bet the increase in Facebook Mobile use is tied to people not being at their computers as much because they are working? Time per person has been flat around 12 minutes a day but definitely a shift in where we conduct social communication.

    Curious how this will affect the Klouts and Peer Indexes. Less content per person means less data to mine and profile.

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