It seems like no matter how hard I try, serving as an administrator at independent school with 655 students and 150 employees during the months of April and May reminds of riding The Comet roller coaster at The Great Escape in Lake George, New York. I mean, seriously, how many of us really have the time to devote to maintaining a social media presence, let alone cultivate and foster the many meaningful networks and relationships we belong too?
Well as I pondered this very issue, and bemoaned the fact that my personal blog has been neglected for a few months and that my Twitter activity is down to a measly 3 to 5 tweets a day, I searched the web for some inspiration, justification, even a bit of appreciation for what I, and I am sure, many of you go through as you try to balance hectic lives and cultivate your online presence.
Then I happened onto an article by Sarah Perez over at Read, Write, Web entitled “Real People Don’t Have Time for Social Media” where she talks about how aside from those of us who would call ourselves “social media addicts” the rest of us who are just starting to explore how social media fits into our lives struggle with figuring out exactly how to fit it all in. In her article she references an article on Museum 2.o called “How Much Time Does Web 2.0 Take?” that looks at all the different types of activities and levels of participation on a sliding scale depending on how much time you have to invest.
Here is how it breaks down:
1-5 Hours per Week = Participant
A participant is at the lower end of the scale. Participants can set up MySpace or Facebook pages and groups, run a Twitter feed, comment on blogs, and/or upload images to a site like flickr. She notes that the most time-consuming aspect of Twitter is not the broadcasting aspect but finding followers who will read your content.
5-10 Hours per Week = Content Provider
A content provider can start a blog or a podcast. Both activities require slightly more advanced technical skills and a larger time commitment. Bloggers should aim for a minimum of at least one post per week, but two or three would be better, she says. Podcasts can be as infrequent as once per month.
10-20 Hours per Week = Community Director
A community director is much more involved with social media. Here, her advice is more narrowly aimed towards museum staff, but still the overall suggestions hold up. Community directors can get involved in community web sites, work comment boards, and create projects in Second Life. Basically this category involves getting involved in larger scale activities, but, once launched and running, they don’t require full-time management.
Pretty interesting stuff right? So now you are all thinking to yourselves, I think I know where I fit in, but how about everyone else at my school? My Head? The Development Director? Maybe the Parents Association President, regardless of where you fit on the scale the larger question is helping others around you find a place to enter that works for them. Many of us here at edSocialMedia are clearly spending a great deal of time and energy cultivating and tending to our social media networks like digital organic farmers tending over their crops, but for the large majority of the rest of the people in our school communities, social media is either a term they don’t recognize or a fad they tried and just don’t seem to have the time for.
So I leave you with this thought; how do we rethink the cultural and institutional atmosphere in our schools in order to foster meaningful and appropriate use of social media in our personal and professional lives? And lastly, how much time do you really spend?