Social Media Currency – If Time is Money, How Do You Spend Your Online Time?

Twitter‘s down for updates. Buttercup is down for the count – asleep with her new kitten sleeping at the foot of her bed. GeekDaddy is somewhere in a plane, en route home from a business trip to Philadelphia. What better time to update the blog?

And there’s the thing tonight – Time. When does anyone ever have the time to do anything online?

These past few months, I’ve been going slowly past just dipping my toes into the vast pool of Social Media and wading in deeper, in the hope of learning to swim in what is rapidly becoming a veritable sea of choices.

The faster I get up to speed, though, the more choices there are to spend my time on.

Earlier today, I was reading Jeremy Pepper’s blog post on The Question of Community and thinking “geez… that’s just a sampling of the places I could spend my time online today – and it doesn’t include so many of the places I already visit daily – and even if I did nothing but spend my time online, I couldn’t get through all of those in one day.”

Then I was on Twitter and reminded by a friend in time to catch part of Jeff Pulver’s broadcast today on PulverTV. Unfortunately, I ended up missing Loic Le Meur‘s interview because I was driving a pajama-clad Buttercup & her best friend to preschool, but I was there for long enough to hear Jeff talk about the intention of PulverTV to become a 24/7 online independent TV station full of indy content.

Later, I managed to get over to Loic’s blog to catch the video from his presentation yesterday at DEMO. I had to miss that live yesterday, but wanted to see what was up with Seesmic and it’s new threading and conversation features.

Then I drifted over to Justin.tv to see a bit of a Ronald Lewis chatting with Jim Turner in part about social media.

Okay, are you over the play-by-play linkage yet? Me too. But imagine then, the time I invested in doing all of those things. At the same time, I was keeping up with my email, Twitter, and a handful of other daily sites I visit. I didn’t include the half-dozen blog postings I visited, read, and commented on. I didn’t include the time spent creating new accounts or modifying old ones at social networking sites to reflect my current status. I didn’t include dozens of things done online worth noting, but unmentioned because I’m afraid this is already too lengthy. I didn’t mention fitting in the offline adventures of parenting a 5 year old.

It got me to thinking about how people make choices regarding Social Media. How do they choose which blogs to read, which videos to watch, what sites to interact on?

There are folks I see working in this field who seem to spend more time doing it than is really humanly possible. They’re online when I give up in the small hours of the morning and force myself to bed knowing that my daughter will be up and raring to go far earlier than my body thinks is practical. If I get up 5 hours later and manage to find a moment to open a browser between waking and breakfast, they’re back at it again. They seem to have an omnipresence I can’t begin to fathom. Managing blogs, Facebook, Twitter, streaming video, showing up at conferences and trade shows, knee-deep in every event I hear about.

I’m utterly mystified as to how they are doing it – but I’m somewhat convinced that they must be following Thomas Edison’s famed ‘polyphasic’ sleep habits.  Maybe cloning themselves as well, so that their families and loved-ones don’t miss them while they are busy living the Web 2.0 Life.

So as my forays into this Social Media field increase, I’m finding that I’m going to have to make choices. I’m going to have to budget my online time as carefully as I do my money. Because while I might win the lottery one day and not have to worry a bit about spending too much on shoes – I’m pretty certain that I’m not going to get more than 24 hours out of every day any time in the near future.

What I want to know, though, is how to start prioritizing these things?

Whoops… Timing! Now the news on TV in the background has cut over to Bill Clinton, live, about 5 miles from my house… and the 25-hour bean soup I’m making in the crockpot needs stirring and I’d better wrap this up before Twitter comes back up again.

Brother, can you spare an hour?

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~ by Lucretia on January 30, 2008.

6 Responses to “Social Media Currency – If Time is Money, How Do You Spend Your Online Time?”

  1. We Super Humans don’t need to sleep. What are my powers you ask? Clearly I am gifted with ADD. Yes I can multitask with the best of them. How do we do it is a bit of a mystery.

  2. Well, I’ve never been accused of lacking in the ADD department, and multitasking is my middle-name… but sheesh!!

    Seriously tho, I’m trying to figure out how Scoble, Owyang, and Le Meur do it… they’re always online!

  3. I hear you geekmommy! Loud and clear!! Between creating content, posting content, setting up new content to produce, then get caught up in (albeit, by choice most of the time) with online happenings, then dinner and the grocery store, and let’s not forget overseeing homework gets done. Oy! What’s a gal to do in just 24 hours. Sleeping is not on the agenda, but I do it anyways.
    Glad to read a post like yours. It does come down to choice. But there is lots of fun/good stuff out there. And, I’m with you, how do some of those non-stop producers do it. Either no sleep, or someone else in their lives takes care of (or helps tremendously) with the day2day items.

  4. Nice to meet you Rebecca! and yeah, I think I could be a lot better at this if I had another 5 hours in the day – or a personal chef, 2 nannies, a personal trainer, 2 maids, and a host of minions to skim through all of the feeds and let me know what I should be reading every day on the internet! :)

    Ah well, I guess I’ll just have to settle for doing my best!

  5. Did you notice that the online-all-the-time “gurus” are all men? (There are a couple of women in the mix, of course, but for the most part, they are male.) As a mom to a toddler, a consultant and a PhD student, I have to be very very sharp about managing my time. I never seem to succeed to the level I aspire to (I have to get 8 hours a night or I am a wreck).

  6. I did – except for the women at BlogHer.com who seem to be able to juggle better than I can as yet!

    But yeah, part of me wonders if maintaining a constant web presence means sacrificing irreplaceable time with family.
    I hope not!! I’m not going to make that sacrifice!

    Thanks for the input tho, Elizabeth, I think you’re dead right!

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