Social Media Web Sites: The Ultimate Time Suckage Mechanisms?

Two weeks ago, my old boss, Isbel, and I sat down at El Jarro Azul for lunch and amidst our conversation, the topic of social media came up because we are both currently taking a class on the subject. We talked about how we were both excited to be learning and engaging more in the social media world, but she addressed an issue that she was having with it as well. She does not know how to balance her time spent on social media Web sites with her many other commitments.

“I just get consumed with whatever Web site I am on,” she told me. “I get to reading someone’s blog and I find it so interesting and want to find out more so then I’m clicking links and then more links from next site and next thing you know I’ve been on the site for hours!”

As social media Web sites continuously expand its services, offering a plethora of functions, it is easy for users to get distracted by the endless link after link after link that you are bound to stumble upon (it is the WORLD WIDE WEB after all). Whether you use social media Web sites for professional purposes or personal purposes, I think that many folks share this plight.

“I’m getting rid of my Facebook,” many of my college friends tell me. “I spend way too much time on it and I can’t get anything else done!”

To this, I propose the following: Wait, stop for a second. You CAN control how much time you spend on social media Web sites but it will take practice, some self disapline, and maybe a change in mindset after analyzing what role social media Web sites should play in your life and how these sites can be instrumental in reaching your goals.
David Finch’s recent blog “Creating Social Media Rituals” addressed this common problem. He wrote,

What would happen if organizations began to grasp that social media is not about crossing off a list of tasks, but really tools and opportunities to build relationships with individuals – individuals that are wanting to connect with a face as well as the brand.

I think this is important to take into consideration: You DO NOT have to utilize every social media Web site; and further, you do not need to utilize every single function that the Web site offers! So how do you pick which sites and which functions? Well, only you can really answer that question depending on your goals, or reasons for using social media in the first place.

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