Is it “social” or is it just “media”?

social media, word cloud

(photo: c1.staticflickr.com)

Whether, as some surveys show, Americans who use social media really spend more time on it than on any other Internet activity—including email—they do spend a lot of time there. A 2013 survey pegged that at an average of 3.2 hours a day. Social media have become integral to the marketing strategies of many organizations and businesses, and marketing professionals spend the most time there. A free industry report says a quarter of marketers spend six to 10 hours a week on social media activities—finding and posting content, analyzing efforts, scoping out the competition—and a third spend 11 hours or more.

Small businesses, especially, struggle with the time commitment to social. They’d like to cut back. But how? This interesting article from Buffer has some suggestions, as well as revealing graphics. In total, their ideas add up to saving more than six hours a week. And, here’s where we find out how different the social media experience is for companies who embrace the “media” side of social media and small-time operators like me, who are still clinging to that word “social.”

Significant time-saving, they say, can be achieved by automating your social media posting, and they have some suggestions. This must be what the annoying people on twitter do who have posts every six minutes. Here’s the gist: “buy my book!” “my book is awesome!” “people say so!” I unfollow them. While I want my posts to prompt people to go to my website, yes, but because I wrote something that really captured their imagination, not because I wore them down.

They also suggest budgeting some time every day—maybe a half-hour—for finding content to post. “Setting a time limit makes you more productive,” they say. And they have specific suggestions: five minutes each on twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, five minutes Googling for news, and 10 minutes exploring top niche blogs and websites. There are some useful tips here, though my trolling through publishing, news, and writing websites is one of the greatest benefits of having my own website with its constant hunger for new material. Though sometimes I feel like I know more and more about less and less.

Spread the Love

W.H.Auden, brownstone, Brooklyn

W. H. Auden’s Brooklyn home (photo: farm4.staticflickr.com)

Wired’s Mr. Know-It-All—a favorite feature of the magazine—provides answers to the ethical and practical challenges of the digital age. A question this month concerns friends who get “hundreds of likes” for every photo they post and whether there is really any point in adding one’s own tiny click, as it’s unlikely to be noticed in that cricket-storm of positive feedback. Hmmm.

Mr. Know-It-All dives into literature for his response by quoting a poem by W.H. Auden (1907-1973). Auden, contemplating the stars crowding the sky, recorded their sublime indifference to humans, which might lead one to think in the scheme of things, why bother with that “like”? Except that he continues to Auden’s next verse, which says the caring imbalance between yourself and the firmament is inevitable, and if caring cannot be equal, then let “the more loving one” be you. “Brilliant, right?” says Mr. Know-It-All. “The guy really understood Instagram.” So, pound that “like” button into stardust.

And why rampant “liking” doesn’t apply to news outlets and ads on Facebook!