Monday, February 21, 2011

Is Social Media Worth Your Time?

As writers we’ve all struggled to balance the time we spend on our writing, our reading, our blogs and Twitter and Facebook, our day jobs, and most especially our friends and families. Time is precious.

I could easily spend all day on social media in all its many forms. Obviously, I can’t do this. I have other goals, other priorities. I have to work out what balance works for me.

As much as I’d love to have 100+ comments for every post, I can’t because it would mean I’d have to read and comment on at least 120 other blogs each time I post in the hope those blog owners would come visit me in return. I’ve always been a slow reader and I’d like to offer intelligent comments. I can’t do that for such a high quantity of blogs.

Because my main priority is to finish my current novel, I’ve accepted I can’t reach the goal of 100+ comments. I’ve had to schedule my time and become selective with what I do. For example, in the case of blogging, I post only three times a week, I visit the blogs of my loyal followers, and anyone else who leaves a comment, plus I visit the blogs that truly interest me. That’s pretty much all I can manage with a few random blog visits thrown in for good measure.

So, is social media worth my time? Yes, absolutely. Without question. It’s an invaluable connection to the writing community. I’ve made many wonderful and special friendships. I’ve loved the support network and I’ve learnt so much. However, it’s not worth ALL my time.

How do you balance your time? How do you manage comments? What do you want out of social media?

57 comments:

  1. yep, I hear you sister :)
    Unlike some people who are lucky enough to have hours a day to spend on visiting dozens and dozens or even hundreds of blogs, I don't since I work like 12 hours a day :(
    So, just like you, I also mostly visit the beloved ones, and all of those who comment on my site.

    But for you writers, having and actively following other bloggers can be both good and bad. Good since it brings you many possible readers, and bad, because it takes your time from writing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I know exactly what you mean.

    I follow about 430 blogs at this moment. I comment at least once on around 425 of them.

    That I can manage.

    Things get hairy when I have to follow links...

    Still, it will pay off once I get to my goal of 1000 followers.

    I hope.

    Let me just say that I'm really glad that I'm a fast reader.

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm so with you on your commenting routine. It's good to shake up your habits sometimes and swap up who you comment on randomly as you have the time. Always loyal followers first though :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi, crusader here. Yep, totally agree. It's all about getting the balance right, isn't it? Difficult when blogging and meeting others is so much fun!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dezzy, yep it would be nice to have all that time to spare because I do love social media.

    Misha, last time I checked, I follow about 700 blogs ...sigh. I do wish I could get to all of them more regularly.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Kangaroobee, absolutely. I do try to do that as well.

    Louise, yes exactly! I so love it. I probably wouldn't do it if I didn't.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm in the same position. I do try to comment on my buddy's sites, but I have so many blogger buddies now, even that's impossible. I can't imagine juggling more social sites!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm on Dezmond's side. And yours, Lynda. Even 50 comments a day - some that are not just "cool" - are hard to do. It's a hard balance but also fun. Everyone has to decide on their own how much they get out of it.
    Nahno ∗ McLein

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's tough. I use dashboard to get to each blog and take them in alphabetical order. I set a timer [my time management thing]. When it goes off, I'm done. I have certain blogs I read all the time, visit my commenters then get to the others in an orderly fashion. Those not on blogger make it tougher as I have to hunt them down. I'm thinking I need an rss reader or something.


    I suppose that's why I'm rarely on FB these days. Just no time. I prefer Twitter. It's quick. So I concentrate on it and Blogger. We can't be everywhere. It's impossible.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Alex, yep exactly. I'm still impressed by how much you are able to do.

    Nahno, yep exactly and time slips away so fast!

    M Pax, because I follow about 800 sites I can't use my dashboard anymore. It's easier for me to go to blogs via my list of favoutites in my sidebar and from comments either on my blog or someone else's. lol

    ReplyDelete
  11. I get where you are coming from...it's hard to manage everything. It gets a bit overwhelming. I stopped worrying about getting followers when I hit 200 because I didn't know how to manage more than that. I only do blogfests if its a topic I'm just dieing to do.

    Your novel should be your first writing priority, Lynda.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Million % agree with everything you just said. It (social media) has been an amazing thing for me, but it can really run away with you if you're not careful.

    EJW

    ReplyDelete
  13. It is a challenge to keep it all going. I tend to visit blogs that have content that interests me, my writer friend blogs, and loyal follower blogs. It's okay to take a break once in a while. The community will still be there!

    ReplyDelete
  14. It's kinda like going to Disney World for the first time. Pay attention to yourself first, look around and do what interests you, if time, soak in what ever else you can.

    ReplyDelete
  15. It's difficult balancing - but of course your writing and other priorities come first.

    For me blogging has become what I do for fun or as a distraction. But I think blogging without commenting and following works if you are already an established person in an industry that people like to be part of, e.g Nathan Bransford or Janet Reid or a Famous Person.

    I realised when I first started to blog that a nobody like me needs to put in lots and lots of work building up a following base so that you have a sort of interaction with others otherwise what's the point of public blogging? :-)

    Good luck finding your blogging balance that works for you!! Take care x

    ReplyDelete
  16. reading and commenting on 100+ blogs is amazing. I follow a lot of blogs but not everyone posts every day and I don't comment on every blog I follow every day.
    Balance is hard to find. I've been trying to write first thing in my day and then do the whole social media thing. Then I write more in the afternoon.
    But it is hard to find balance and stay on track sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great post, Lynda. It is so true. Life is all about balance. I just stopped in to wave at a fellow crusader. I'm a follower now.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I hear you. I'm a slow reader too. I've had to cut back on the time I spend visiting blogs and commenting.

    I just can't do it all.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh my goodness.. YES.. I hear you! I could honestly blog and visit all day too... but it is quite time consuming. And currently, all I do is blog, I haven't jumped on the Twitter or Facebook bandwagons as yet... so I can only imagine how others manage it all AND squeeze in writing.. they are truly superstars :)

    I cut back a bit on blogging in order to focus on writing and edits, but I still try to visit everyone that comments, plus my regulars, and anyone else I can get to... as often as I can.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I definitely think it's worth my time - but it sure does TAKE a lot of time, you're right. :D Have you used Google Reader?? I discovered it thanks to the Crusade ;) It makes keeping track of all the people I follow so much easier!

    ReplyDelete
  21. One of the problems is I've met SO many great people online! I'd like to visit everyone all the time, but that's impossible. I guess I just do my best :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. So true, it's worth the time but that whole balance thing is essential! I've been commenting less, posting less but still wanting to keep up with my blogging friends so I have certain days where I'll just take an hour and cruise the blogs.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I agree, it's worthwhile by can't be all-consuming.

    I'm meeting people via social media. Learning a lot. Right now, that's what I hope to get out of it.

    ReplyDelete
  24. this is a great post, and I know some people set goals like a certain number of followers or a certain number of comments. I've found that blogging has enriched my writer life so much, that I just look for connections with other writers and I try to savor when that happens. And I try to keep up but limit myself to two primary visiting/commenting days a week. And I try to visit everyone! :o) <3

    ReplyDelete
  25. Sharon, yep, that's so true. It should be my first priority. I need to finish it.

    EJ Wesley, social media IS an amazing thing.

    Jan, yep, I may be needing a break soon. Maybe a week next month ;)

    Tanya, hehe love it. It is just like a visit to Disney World.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Old Kitty, oh yes, it's a huge distraction. And yes, only established authors/agents can blog without having to chase comments.

    Carrie, I try to blog early in the morning and when I need a break from my writing, but sometimes it can take over ;)

    Ciara, Hi fellow crusader. Thanks for the follow :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Bish, wish we could do it all ;)

    WritingNut, it's a good thing to cut back a little to concentrate on our own writing.

    Trisha, Yep, I've tried Google Reader but I tried it when I followed 600 blogs and it was way too much to get organised so I gave up.

    Jemi, yep, I can so relate

    ReplyDelete
  28. Karen, just an hour? I'm impressed with how much you get done because it doesn't feel like you are missing from the blogsphere.

    Helen, for sure :)

    LTM, that's a pretty good idea to keep the visitng/commenting to specific days.

    ReplyDelete
  29. yeah. i'm trying to pull back on my time buried in blogs... but it's so hard, because i love to encourage and help and LEARN! but there is so little time!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I think my commenting habits are pretty similar to yours :-) I don't have nearly enough time to get around to everyone! And I wish I was a faster reader... If I don't have time to visit the blog of someone who's left a comment then I try to at least reply via email. I mean, I want people to know that I appreciate their time and comments! We've just gotta do our best with the time we have :-)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Yes, we definitely can spread ourselves too thin! Work that novel, girl! ;o)

    ReplyDelete
  32. I think being balanced is important when working with social media. It's one thing to be dedicated but another thing to allow it to get in the way of other priorities.

    Jai

    ReplyDelete
  33. My problem is not only do I read the blog posts, I also read the comments. Must learn to control myself.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Like you I visit my blogger friends' blogs, anyone who comments on mine, and ones I just like even if they don't return the favor. And that's it. We only have so much time and writing and family has to come first.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I hear you. Having balance in really hard. I think the important is to not overdo it and burn yourself out in the social media (I know I know, look who's talking, right?) But hey, it works for me

    ReplyDelete
  36. The million dollar question! As my blog and comments have grown I'm beginning to accept I can't get around to everyone as quickly as I used to - I just can't spend 3-4 hours each night blogging. My main goal is to be a successful writer, not a successful blogger, and I try to keep that in mind. It's so hard though, and sometimes I really miss all my blogging buds!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I agree with what you said. I try to spend no more than an hour or two each day reading blog posts and leaving comments. There are some days where I don't read any at all, then I'm playing catch up. Those days I have to see if the subject grabs my attention or not.

    ReplyDelete
  38. aspiring, it is hard isn't it. I hope your writing has blossomed as a result though :)

    Rachel, oh to be a faster reader :)

    Carol, rawr! As you know, the current novel is driving me NUTS. I want to finish it already ;)

    Jai, yes exactly :)

    Susan, reading the comments is a good practise. I tend to only read the first few though and then scan the rest.

    ReplyDelete
  39. As an overwhelmed blogger I understand this topic all too well. Each day I open up my blogger to start my social media obligations I am overwhelmed (and in love) with all the comments I receive.

    I wish I had enough time for everything but with a full time job that makes it EVEN harder.

    I take it step by step. The weekends I try and comment as much as I can, and on Sundays I prepare my posts for the week. It's never easy. I do the best I can.

    Glad to see you too have taken the time to realize what's important and what isn't!

    I still adore social media!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Laura, yep, that's a good way to balance your time :)

    Ben, hehe yeah, I've come close to burn out a few times (running two blogs doesn't help).

    Talli, yeah, for sure! I miss all my blogging buddies too.

    Susanne, yeah the playing "catch up" can be painful. I try to keep on top of everything but it's not always easy. Plus I try to take a break on weekends so I don't burn out, but I can't always stay away because there's too many interesting blogs to read! lol

    ReplyDelete
  41. Jen, oh yes, it is love, I think that's why we push ourselves like we do. I love, love, love all the comments I get. I love visiting my blogging friends. I love the interaction. I love the community. I love all the interesting things people post. I love supporting other writers. I love sharing in their joy when they announce they've found an agent...and on it goes :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. Sometimes I feel so guilty because I can't respond to all the comments left me on my blog. I'm so mentally exhausted. But I try to make time on the weekend to catch up and I too have a few must-read blogs (this one is included).

    ReplyDelete
  43. I've limited myself to one post for the week, which gives me enough time to do other things. With the crusade on, I am trying to pace myself properly. Left to my own devices, I might not write a word for ages and ages and then wonder where the time has gone.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Thanks for sharing. I was beginning to think I was spinning my wheels!

    ReplyDelete
  45. You pose a very interesting question. It's a dilemma. I love it when I stumble across something brilliant or useful on someone's blog, but most of the time I feel that the time spent could be used more productively finishing my novel. I even have started looking at my own blog with a more critical eye and trying to figure out how one makes a blog a welcoming place that's useful and not full of the echo of meaningless words. How do you keep yourself from writing silly stuff that nobody gives a damn about? Why do we feel compelled to regurgitate stuff? One of the nice things about the Crusade is that you get to visit a lot of blogs and every now and then you find one that's seems pretty close to striking the right balance. I hope to answer this question for myself in the next few weeks.

    ReplyDelete
  46. You pose a very interesting question. It's a dilemma. I love it when I stumble across something brilliant or useful on someone's blog, but most of the time I feel that the time spent could be used more productively finishing my novel. I even have started looking at my own blog with a more critical eye and trying to figure out how one makes a blog a welcoming place that's useful and not full of the echo of meaningless words. How do you keep yourself from writing silly stuff that nobody gives a damn about? Why do we feel compelled to regurgitate stuff? One of the nice things about the Crusade is that you get to visit a lot of blogs and every now and then you find one that's seems pretty close to striking the right balance. I hope to answer this question for myself in the next few weeks.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I'm exactly like you - I visit blogs of my loyal followers and those who comment on my most recent post. I'd love to do more, but there just isn't enough time in the day. Right now I'm taking a break from my wip while I'm waiting to hear back from CPs so I'm spending more time on blogging and doing Rachael Harrie's Crusade. That's been great, but I probably wouldn't have time for it if I weren't on a writing break.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I think many of us are feeling this way. I cut back my posting so I don't have to read so many blogs too as much. Our priority is writing yet I love the connections and need them to learn. It's a balancing act.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Lynda..like you I too comment on my loyal followers' blogs and few that I have become close too. We have to restrict most of our time for our writing. Else, we will build platforms, but have no books to talk about.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Achieving balance is hard. I get an hour a day to read blogs and comment back to people. I also subscribe to more blogs than I can read in a day. So I spread the love and try to get to one post by every blogger per week.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Clarissa, yep, same. I do get ther eventually though. Hugs

    JL Campbell, I'm constantly wondering where the time has gone ;)

    Gary, hehe

    Scheherazade, they are difficult questions. We can't please everyone on our blogs. The best we can do is offer easy-to-read, short, interesting or amusing posts (it's all subjective though)

    ReplyDelete
  52. Susan, the crusade has been brilliant. I won't be able to do the challenges, but I'll certainly try to do everything else.

    Terri, yeah, I love the connections too

    Rachna, exactly right.

    Kari, yep, that's a good plan. It's not always weasy to stick to it though ;)

    ReplyDelete
  53. I delegate whole days to various tasks. For instance, Monday is for writing. That's what I concentrate on the entire day and nothing else. Whether I get to spend the entire day working on my manuscript is a different story.

    Tuesday is for critiquing, on various websites and groups I'm a part of. Offering feedback on someone else's work and going over the input I've been given on my own. Editing my own stuff fits here too.

    Wednesday is Social media day. To be honest, I tweet and reply to stuff on facebook on Monday and Tuesday, but I blog and comment mostly on Wednesday because everyone posted something for Teaser Tuesday or something like that.

    Thursday is a free for all, I catch up on whatever I didn't accomplish to my satisfaction previously, I go out with friends, I watch a little television (thank goodness for DVR) or whatever.

    Friday it starts over again. Sometimes I'll switch it up, I'll swap a writing day for a critique day because I'll have the day off from work and will want to get as many words down as possible. It all depends. And some days I finish early, like on days I set aside for critiquing, and will work on something else. While I'm great at multitasking, I'm horrible with time management, so this forces me to get the job done and gives me the wiggle room I might need when I get into a zone on something.

    It works for me at least.

    ReplyDelete
  54. See, I'm late commenting, just to prove my point...which is that I agree absolutely. I don't have time to devote every waking minute to blogging and commenting! I just do what I can! Nice to know I'm not alone in this.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Interesting topic!

    I barely have time to think about my own writing and my own blog, let alone the blogs of others/other social media... So I have made a conscious choice to only actively follow a handful of blogs, otherwise I tend to spread myself too thin. I do bookmark interesting blogs and other sites that I come across, but they are usually seen once or twice, and then I usually forget about them-If I do come back to them, then I tend to follow them on a semi-regular basis and if I really like them or find them useful, then I link back to them on my own blog.

    For me, my main focus will always be my own WIP, second check up on how my buddies on Twitter are doing and thirdly keeping my own blog up to date a couple of times per month...

    In the end it's all about prioritizing one's own time and choosing what is best for one self. With a full-time job, writing, hobbies and social commitments on the side, then the virtual life quickly falls to the back-ground for me.

    Like Adina West said before me, the late commenting proves my point!

    ReplyDelete
  56. Tangynt, you sound organised. It's always about what works best for the individual. Good to see you've found what works best for you.

    Adina, hehe. It's certainly time consuming.

    ReplyDelete
  57. RB Lindberg, yep, I've tried the bookmarking thing too but it never works. That is, I rarely go back. Prioritising is the best thing we can do.

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear your opinion. Thanks for leaving a comment.