When talking about social media, do you ever hear “I don’t have time for that!”? It might be true. Or the person doesn't see the value. Or it might be the person simply does not want to change his work routine. Or it might be that this person has misunderstood how social media really works.
If you really don’t have time, that is fine and I’m likely not going to change someone that doesn’t want to change. The last point, however, needs some discussion. If you remember from my last post, I can be a bit obsessive about efficiency. If you like to scientifically pack your car before going on vacation, you may be like me too. I don't like down time or lost minutes or wasted space. So where social media may seem like fluff to some people, I see an optimization problem.
First, my real job has to get done and anything else takes a back seat. Social media (like email) might interfere with this if was fixed and un-scalable but it is not. It’s like putty you can squeeze into any size time crack.
When I wake up, I may reach for my iPhone (especially if @DeelipMeneze is being particularly active that week ;-) ). It takes about 60 seconds to check any Facebook comments or Twitter updates. That has zero impact on my life but if anything important happened, I will know about it because of the people I follow (thank you European, Australian and Indian CAD twitterers!)
News Groups and Forums
On my browser, I have a list of CAD forums that Solid Edge folks frequent. I added them to my browser toolbar.
I don’t have a schedule for checking them but if I’m just sitting down with fresh cup of coffee or transitioning between tasks, I can scan all four for relevant forum posts in under 60 seconds (click click click). If I find a relevant post, it might take a few more minutes to read and replying might take more but this just doesn't happen that much. It might be two or three posts a week. Compared to my email, it is nothing.
Twitter is much different with a much faster pace but much smaller posts (140 char max). Here, I’ve organized lists of key people. The CAD list I follow from work. TweetStats tells me I tweet 12.5 time a day so that is about 12 minutes a day tweeting. We might triple that to allow for reading of tweets as well – 36 minutes a day (maybe other folks can chime in if that is high or low).
But here is the beauty of it. Many of those 36 minutes come out of the pool of minutes lost while standing in line in the grocery store or during commercials while watching TV or while sitting in a conference room waiting for everyone to show up. Many are on the weekends. At what time do I do the most tweeting? Turns out 11:30 to 12:30 is when I’m most active – over lunch.
Burhop Tweet Density for July, 2010
Now this one is a little harder because it can take time but even here I’m in a situation where I have some flexibility. Because blogging is largely a volunteer effort on my part (remember, I don’t work in marketing) I can say “I’m just too busy to put out a post this week” and Dora Smith is understanding :-)
Now I don’t want to say getting involved in social media has zero cost. Corporations often have special training and special meetings that take time. You have to learn to use the tools (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, blogging software). If I suddenly had to blog or tweet about Teamcenter, I’m sure it would take me five times as long to get out a post because its not my area.
What I am saying is that social media is scalable, there are ways to fit it into your day without significant impact, and you can always adjust your level and type of involvement based on the value you are getting from it. Just don’t tell me you “don’t have time for it”.
In the next post, I'll share some practical tips on tools and setup that makes life easier.