I have been thinking a great deal about how I live (aka: how I spend my time), and to be honest, I think I could use my time more wisely. My goal is to use social media as a tool to replace work that I am already doing, not to add to my work load. I keep hearing that I need to work smarter, not harder. Coming up with that equation is … a lot of work.
I read an interesting article by Clay Shirky, called “Gin, Television, and Social Surplus,” on WorldChanging, about the use of leisure time. He calls it ‘Social Surplus.’ Social surplus is “time we have when we are not doing paid work, our so called ‘leisure time.” He says that years ago (20th Century), we spent time engaged in ‘consuming prepackaged media,’ like film and TV, and that now (21st Century) we devote our time to ‘producing and sharing.’ in addition to consuming. Therefore, he defines the use of social media as a leisure activity.
He is part right, because most of the blogging and browsing and tweeting that I am doing is during my leisure time (my personal time). I am doing a lot of business work in my ‘social surplus‘ time. I am working harder and longer hours then ever before. This had made me realize that I need to switch some of how I look at things, and some of how I work, because he is also wrong, not all of my social media use is personal, and therefore, not all ‘social surplus.’ For example, reading news is part work, part leisure; IBM email, is all work; Twitter, is 90% work; Facebook, is 100% leisure; this blog, is work, but DogDaz.com blog is leisure. It is clear that the lines between work and leisure (professional /personal), at least on the internet, have blurred with the advent of social media. It is not about finding clear lines between the two, but about how I learn to work differently in another medium. Luis Suarez is a perfect example, He is the IBMer that gave up email and communicates only through social media for all his projects and communications. I don’t sense that he is trying to figure out where his professional tweets end and his personal tweets begin (if you know what I mean). Trying to keep the two worlds separate is a waste of time and energy.
Let’s look at what I might do differently to make this swap:
- Instead of buying and reading newspapers, I am going to get my news headlines on my Twitter feed and Facebook (ie: BBC, CNN, NPR, local news). I still like the Sunday paper though, so I am keeping that (or I won’t have anything to use when repotting plants). If I want more than the headline, I can click on the link in the news feed.
- I stopped randomly playing around on the internet to see what was out there a long time ago, because I think it was a big time waster for me. Occasionally I still do like to nose around for entertainment and good books but I will be setting my timer to ensure I don’t get lost for hours (sometime I forget to go to bed).
- I have not given up reading books or watching TV, but I have always limited TV to shows that I have recorded. I need to be more choosy on the books, I guess, because my pile gets bigger and bigger.
- When I have a business question and I need lots of input, maybe I can Tweet it, verses calling or Instant Messaging a million people? That would really save time. I really need to start leveraging the community of experts out there better.
- I need to stop feeling guilty about using social media during work time. This is a hold over for me probably because I have worked virtually for so many years and had to make sure I limited my use of the www outside of work to after hours. (I may be showing my age but who remembers the BOSS screen on the early computers?) Those days are gone. As long as I am using social media to do a better job, I think that it is something that is part of my job, and therefore, it is not ‘social surplus,’ but ‘SOCIAL NECESSITY’ (my term).
What are some ways you can think of incorporating social media into your routine by replacing something you already do in a different medium?
Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.
(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)
- Social media and me, simplified (teresaedmond.wordpress.com)