Let's be honest here: we're all a bunch of social media addicts. We're junkies. Whether it's a new Twitter app, a new Facebook feature, or a new social anything service, we're all over it. But we may not be the norm. The truth is, being involved in social media takes time, something that most people don't have a lot of. So how can regular folk get involved with social media? And how much time does it really take?
The Time It Takes To Be Involved
It was this post on a blog called Museum 2.0 that caught our eye.
[Side Note: Museum 2.0 is a blog whose niche is exploring the technologies and philosophies of web 2.0 and then applying them to museums, yes, like brick-and-mortar museums. The site's owner, Nina Simon, works at the Tech Museum of Innovation as curator of the new Tech Virtual Museum Workshop and previously, worked at the Electric Sheep Company and International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. Fascinating read, by the way.]
The post was "How Much Time Does Web 2.0 Take?" and it looks at all the different types of activities and levels of participation on a sliding scale depending on how much time you have to invest.
The point of the scale is to show regular folk, albeit those in a particular industry, how they can fit getting involved with social media into their day-to-day routine.
Let's call it a "real person" scale.
Although she was specifically writing for the museum crowd, there is some good information here that we can all benefit from. To summarize, here are her findings:
1-5 Hours per Week = Participant
A participant is at the lower end of the scale. Participants can set up MySpace or Facebook pages and groups, run a Twitter feed, comment on blogs, and/or upload images to a site like flickr. She notes that the most time-consuming aspect of Twitter is not the broadcasting aspect but finding followers who will read your content.
5-10 Hours per Week = Content Provider
A content provider can start a blog or a podcast. Both activities require slightly more advanced technical skills and a larger time commitment. Bloggers should aim for a minimum of at least one post per week, but two or three would be better, she says. Podcasts can be as infrequent as once per month.
10-20 Hours per Week = Community Director
A community director is much more involved with social media. Here, her advice is more narrowly aimed towards museum staff, but still the overall suggestions hold up. Community directors can get involved in community web sites, work comment boards, and create projects in Second Life. Basically this category involves getting involved in larger scale activities, but, once launched and running, they don't require full-time management.
Time Spent on Social Media, image via Museum 2.0
How Much Time Do You Spend on Social Media?
For a comparison between what time commitments are recommended for "regular" folk versus how much time our community spends on social media, I took a completely unscientific Twitter poll where I asked that question.
Let's see what you responded with to the question: "How much time do you spend on social media per day?"
A Couple Hours per Day:
A Bit More Involved:
There Should Be a Support Group for This:
What Can We Learn From This?
Looking at all the various web-based activities and projects, what we can tell is that not everyone is going to have the time to be as heavily involved in social media and we are.
Even those of us at the lower end of the range, offering up only a few hours per day, are still heavily involved with social media when we're placed on this "real person" scale that Nina provides.
If we're going to recommend a service or activity to a friend whose alarm goes off at 6 AM and doesn't return home from the office until 6 PM, then we need to respect that their "spare" time is precious. Whatever new app or service we're trying to push on them should have real value.
Where do you rate on this scale? Have you over-committed or under-committed your time?