Last week, after 2+ years of blogging, I had my web guy take my blog down. Partly because Wordpress has been a NIGHTMARE this year for me (that's a whole other post), but also partly because I started blogging before Facebook became the sensation it is today and before Twitter even existed in a public way. I spend a lot of time on Twitter (probably more than I should, truth be told) and try to update Facebook at least once a week. So the question became, What is the point of my blog?
Much like Sara, I had to stop and think about what I really wanted to accomplish and how much I cared about it. And the truth was, I just didn't feel like it made sense to rehash in a blog post something that I've already tweeted or FB'd about. Sure, a blog gives you unlimited space to share your thoughts. But with unlimited space does not come unlimited time, and so I made the decision to remove blogging from my list of things to do.
But the more I got to thinking about my blog, the more I got to thinking about social media in general. And I realized that, for the most part, it requires a lot more energy than it probably nets in benefits for me.
The benefits of social media (at least to me - your mileage may vary!) is to be able to connect with like-minded people. Whether they're fellow booklovers, people you're friends with in real life but don't get to see very often, or people who share your passion for kittens or underwater basket-weaving, it's nice to be able to make a connection with people at your leisure. No more coordinating schedules or avoiding a phone call because you fear a friend's new baby may be asleep.
But what I've also discovered is that I don't get as much personal connection value out of it anymore. I love being able to cheer someone's good news as it happens (it's usually on Twitter long before they get around to blogging about it or sending a mass email with news). And people make me laugh... a LOT... which can be just the thing I might be needing when I check Twitter at that moment.
That's the upside.
The downside? It can be a HUGE time suck if you let it. I'm one of those people who feels bad if they don't respond to every tweet or FB comment. I'm just wired that way. :-) And yet to respond to all of them would require me to take more time away from my real life (you know, that life you have when you're not attached to your keyboard or your phone?). In many cases, I'm taking time away from my family and my closest friends to respond to people I have never met and probably will never meet.
That realization was a powerful one for me.
What is the purpose of social media for me then? I think the answer is that it's a way to stay active in the book world. I like hearing what's going one, who has good news, and seeing what fabulous new books people are recommending to feed my book habit. But it has to come with balance. Family and friends first, writing second, social media further down the list.
2011 is going to be the year I put my real life first. We'll see how that goes. :-)
What about you? Any plans to change your social media ways in 2011?