Monday, July 29, 2013

The time suck of social media

I always thought that once I bought an iPad, I would become one of those social media ninjas who tweet 75 times a day, comment on 47 friends' Facebook statuses, upload eight photos an hour to Instagram and still find time to create a community of persimmon lovers on Pinterest.

I bought an iPad about a month ago. Want to know what I do with it?

I read newspapers, mostly. Or electronic versions of newspapers. And I also browse the web and scan Twitter, but my actual contributions to the social media world have not increased a whit.

(NOTE: I love that word, "whit." It's one of those words that seems like it should stand for something more common in the English language and therefore be more widely used, but it isn't. It's of Middle English origin and means the smallest part or particle imaginable. You know what other word I like? Skosh. It's similar to "whit" in that it means, simply, "a little bit." My dad used to say it all the time: "Move over a skosh." You pronounce it with a long "O," by the way.)

Sorry. The other thing for which I often use my iPad is looking up the definitions of archaic words. That's worth the $500 price tag right there!

Anyway, these people who take full advantage of social media for business and/or personal reasons amaze me.

Like, for instance, where do they get the time? All of the social media books will tell you it doesn't take a lot of time to reap the benefits of Facebook, Twitter, etc., but this is clearly a lie. Of course it takes a lot of time. They're not fooling anybody.

And I know many of these social media gurus. They are talented professionals who are very dedicated to their actual paying jobs. So again I ask, where does the time come from?

And now that I'm thinking about it, what's the real payoff? Networking? Sure, OK. Business promotion? Uh huh, to an extent, depending on how you do it. The satisfaction of quality social interactions? Yeah, that can be achieved by, you know, actually talking to people.

Don't get me wrong. I like surfing social media channels. It's fun. But that's just it. "Fun" is pretty much the only real benefit for me. I've never earned an extra dollar nor been hired on the strength of social media.

I have an army of LinkedIn connections that I have never really mined for professional gain. All I do with LinkedIn is accept requests to connect.

I'll connect with anybody on LinkedIn. And on Facebook, too. Just send me a request and you and I can be fast friends. Even if you're one of those (this is true, I get these all the time) scantily clad young women with whom I share no mutual connections who suddenly want to befriend me on Facebook. Sure, we can be friends! Just let me make sure it's OK with my wife first.

Incidentally, I'm not so naive that I don't realize that Nicole from Ottawa, the Victoria's Secret model look-alike who reaches out to me on Facebook, is actually Boris, a hairy-backed oil rig worker from Latvia. I choose to believe that Nicole is real and is deeply interested in me.

And I don't care one whit whether it's true or not.

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