Personal time versus social media time: Something has to give

social media time

By Mark Schaefer

The thing I love to do more than anything is connect with social media friends in real life and when I’m in New York City, I always try to catch up with the brilliant Elizabeth Sosnow, one of the partners at Bliss Integrated Communications.

Not only is Elizabeth an inspiring business leader, she is incredibly insightful and I always walk away with at least five blog post ideas from our conversations (including this one!).

But this conversation took an unexpected turn.

Elizabeth and I owe our personal relationship to Twitter and blogging (both hers and mine). This is how we met. this how we became friends, and it is how we continue to be connected over time and distance. Even though we may be separated by a thousand miles, I always feel connected to Elizabeth and my other friends around the world through their drip, drip, drip of communications on the social networks.

But Elizabeth’s posts have more or less dried up in the past few months.

“Business has been very good,” she said, “and something had to give. This is it.”

In 2009, we were just entering the grip of the recession. At the same time, we were seeing the explosive growth of blogging, Facebook, and YouTube. Twitter was still a young buck but began its rise that summer.

I wrote a blog post at the time wondering if the recession and the rise of social media were related. After all, the economics of social media depend on people wasting huge amounts of time watching videos, playing games, and posting photos. With the unemployment level climbing at that time, people had more time to waste on these activities.

The corollary is that as the economy improves, time on social networks should go down as well. When I wrote a blog predicting that an economic recovery would also mean a decline in social media usage, people howled in protest.

But I think I was right. Elizabeth’s story is a common one — as business picks up, our incidental time available for social web activities goes down.

What do you think? Am I right? Or are there other forces in place that will fuel social media growth? How is this showing up in your life?

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world.  Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

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