Preface: I am going to spend 2 hours working on this post, whether I like it or not.
Social Media Sucks
It does. Think about it, how much of your day is sucked in doing something online? If you’re anything like me, it’s almost a constant struggle to stay away from online chatter and “actually work”.
Here’s some interesting stats from eConsultancy about social media usage:
- Facebook claims that 50% of it’s active users log in at least once a day.
- 15% of bloggers spend 10 or more hours each week blogging.
- Near the end of 2009, Twitter was accumulating 27.3 million Tweets a day.
- There are more than 3 billion pieces of content shared on Facebook each week.
Social media is a complete and utter time-suck. But isn’t that what you want?
“L” Is For the Way You Log At Me
The rise of social media began because we finally found a way to connect with each other in real time based on common interests and the desire to foster communication to build relationships. And relationships take time.
I’ve been married for almost two years, and we dated for almost two years prior to that. Day in and day out for almost 4 years I have worked to foster a healthy relationship with the woman that is my wife. I should be a master at it by now, right? (Glorious laughter erupts from married couples worldwide.) No, I still suck and have to try every day to make that relationship work.
Because building relationships takes time. You don’t just magically wake up one day and have 13,768 followers on Twitter the same way you don’t wake up one day and magically understand everything there is to know about marriage. You engage over time and add value to what people are talking about and slowly you get re-tweeted and commented on and you build followers. It’s not easy, but it can be fun as hell. And I touched on my next point, which is…
If Social Media Sucks, Then Twitter is the Dyson
Twitter usage increased 3,700% from 2008 to 2009. In one month alone in 2009, over 299,000 minutes was spent tweeting and re-tweeting. Yes, Twitter is a procrastinatory force to be reckoned with.
Twitter is the ultimate conversation. It’s millions and millions of people holding billions of conversations about anything and everything you can image. What better way to connect with your audience?
- Don’t you want to connect with your target market?
- Don’t you want to put a human feel/face on your company so people trust you?
- Didn’t you spend years wishing there was a way to connect directly to your audience for free?
And now you want to give it all up because it takes a lot of time to get it working correctly? “There’s no immediate or foreseeable ROI in it for us.” Well, whoopty-damn-doo. There’s no immediate ROI for marriage or child-birthing either, but we take those risks because we believe fostering those relationships is important. (BTW there’s a great post by @julien about factoring risks into success here).
Do or Do Not, There is No Try
50% of marriages in this country end in divorce. (More if you factor in Jennifer Lopez and Madonna, but they are outliers). Why do you think that is? Are half the people in the country simply incapable of handling the commitment of marriage or do you think there might be something else going on here. My theory is this: we have forgotten how to maintain relationships.
In our lives of instant gratification, the long play of marriage/relationship building is just too hard. If I want a hamburger, I drive 2 miles from my house and one is waiting for me. If I want rice, I boil water and cook rice and if I don’t want to wait the 3 minutes for the water to boil, I put instant rice in the microwave and 45 seconds later I have rice. If I want to uncomfortably flirt with a complete stranger, I go on Chatroulette (which I’ve never actually done). There is no waiting anymore. There is no build.
Even in social media, where the gratification is almost quicker than real time, the act of relationship building takes a significant amount of time because we are programmed to initially distrust those we don’t know. Conversations must be held, tweets must be RT’ed and, God Forbid, in-person meetings must be held to foster trust and mutual respect.
How do you build relationships online? Do you find that Twitter is the best way or do you prefer Facebook or LinkedIn? Do you share my opinion that in order to build lasting relationships you have to have a presence in more than one social media medium?
Social media is the ultimate time-suck. Just yesterday I spend an hour of my life watching Scott Stratten of Unmarketing fame give a presentation taped a few weeks ago. (see the video here) It’s amazing and it sucked an hour of my life away, for which I am eternally grateful. I feel I learned a lot and believe I can be better at what I do because of that time spent. I spend at least and hour or two reading and commenting on blogs each day and I tweet throughout the day. Why? Because I believe in relationships and I believe that it is my duty to foster them into mutually beneficial partnerships.
What are you doing to build those relationships? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comments and thoughts are greatly appreciated.
P.S. – Official time on the blog was 2 hr 7 min. of which I will never get back, but that’s okay, I’m hoping to get a lot more back in return.