I am raising an issue that is becoming evident to me the more I become involved in various social media including Twitter, Facebook, blogging and of course websites. I would be interested to know if other people are having the same experiences as I am in regard to how their efforts are demanded, perceived and remunerated – if at all!
More and more we are being told just how important it is to be involved in these outlets if we want to know what’s going on in the areas we work in and to engage in conversations with anyone relevant to our areas of interest. These media help us to keep right up to date – more accurately, up to the minute – with what is happening all over the world, what people are concerned about, market events, issues, and so on.
I can appreciate all of this and am impressed at how on the ball I feel that this involvement has made me. Employers want their employees to know their work area in detail and up to the minute so this is all good.
However! There is a large time investment required for most of these results to be achieved. For example, I have a Twitter account which I started about two months ago to get involved in discussions talking about wine – the product, trade, issues, news, and so on. This was purely for work reasons – I would not have considered doing this just for myself.
Now I check Twitter several times a day – not an onerous task in itself and this is where I learn about what people are concerned about, I hear about new wine releases, wine-related research, events, and so on. What is more of a time-consuming task is that you need to get involved, not just be an observer, if you want people to bother to follow you. You need to be interesting too! So I make sure I write at least one original blog per month, usually more, and link to it through Twitter. I also post links to key events relating to certain areas of interest, mostly wine-related, some social media. Plus, I make sure I read other people’s posts and follow their links and then respond to what they are saying. Social media is a two-way street – you can’t expect people to be interested in you if you are not prepared to be interested in them! It is all about perceptions and relationships.
In order to be interesting on the blogs and in links that I choose to put on Twitter to key news items or other people’s articles, I need to keep on top of what is happening. This is another time-consuming task – enjoyable and interesting – but time-consuming. All of the above tasks could keep me occupied for the whole of my full-time job – but it is only supposed to be a small portion.
One of the reasons I am building a following on these sites of course is so that when I have something to publicise relating to my work, people will want to have a look and this is a fabulous and immediate way to reach the maximum audience. Twitter, Facebook and blogging are fabulous media for this.
This brings me back to doing it for free – the point of this blog. I wonder if our employers – who are keen that we embrace and use this technology to the best advantage – realise just how much time it takes and how our work life is now creeping more and more into our private life. Yes it is fun and interesting but it is also work and I know that I for one spend a lot of my personal time away from work doing this research and monitoring of sites and writing blogs. I seem to have less free time and the line between work and leisure time is blurring. And is it even seen by employers as being real work or a bit soft and easy?
Then it occurred to me – this is probably a growing phenomenon. Do we just suck it up? Is there a way to separate work and social media from lesiure time or is it just a new age and way of working and living that we have to get used to or get out of the kitchen?! All comments would be welcome!