When talking to people about my participation in online social media, the question I’m most frequently asked is, “how do you have time to do all this?” And while they might deny it, the questioner asks it with a tone that implies You are either a total social misfit or a slacker in other parts of your life.
My initial reaction is usually defensive, as if have to prove I actually do real work and spend quality time with my family.
I then spend the next 20 minutes stewing over the question - regretting I didn't have a prepared answer. So I never have to go through that process again, here is my response from now on. Would love to hear your builds, and of course any other thoughts you would like to add.
- I have an 18 month old son. I’ve become a time management ninja. While the kid takes up a lot of time and energy, my new found discipline has given me more hours in the day.
- I get up at 5am on weekdays, 6am on weekends. While I don't get up and start Tweeting at 5am, I do use that time to deal with administrative issues at home (bills, etc.) which gives me more free time in the evening.
- I don't watch a lot of TV. When I do, it's almost always on DVR thus saving me around an hour a week on commercials. When I watch sports (the only TV I don't DVR) I am usually multi-tasking.
- I enjoy it. Just like you enjoy birdwatching or reading WWII novels.
- I use my mobile phone to participate in social media during otherwise wasted time. I Tweet, upload photos to my Facebook page and text message friends during my morning and afternoon commutes - time that might otherwise be spent staring out the train window.
- Besides on airplanes, I never read the newspaper. HOWEVER, I am better informed than I've ever been, with much less of a daily time commitment. I must tell people this five times a week - if you're not using an RSS reader to get your news feeds, you are not consuming information in the most efficient and effective way available. Sign up for a Google Reader account and spend the 30 minutes to figure out how it works. It will change the way you think about news consumption.
- I view social media participation as a professional survival tool. It keeps me current, connected and informed.
The net-net is that I make the time. Just as a marathon runner makes the time to run; a celebrity junkie makes the time to read Us Weekly; an amateur photographer makes the time to take photos. It's no different. There I go again sounding defensive – I must break that habit!