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What Price Glory? Or: Can We Get Some Air in Here?

What Price Glory? Or: Can We Get Some Air in Here?

This is an unscientific, undocumented, and probably unpopular analysis of what I’m learning as King of Social Media. (I’m reminded of a great review of a leading actor in King Lear by Eugene Field: “He played the king as though under momentary apprehension that someone else was about to play the ace.”)

Here are my anecdotal observations.

If people visit linkedin twice a day for 15 minutes each time, that’s 2.5 hours in a five-day week. (I’m discounting weekends, though I shouldn’t, because social media wandering is clearly a full-time avocation, but I want to be conservative here.)

If they visit Facebook four times a day for 10 minutes each, that’s roughly 3.3 hours.

If they Twitter six times a day for five minutes each time, that 2.5 hours. (Or 12 times at 2.5 minutes each—you get the idea.)

If they post on their blogs three times a week (rather important to keep a blog active and interesting), and the creation and posting of the item takes 30 minutes (and I think I’m really low-balling this one), that’s 2.5 hours.

And now I’m going to add just two hours to the week, that accommodate reading others’ blogs, replying to commentary, following up social media stuff off-line, updating profiles, uploading photos, and so on.

Drum roll, please: We now have a five-day week on a conventional 40-hour basis with about 13 hours engaged in what is somewhat inappropriately termed “social media.” I understand that those hours may well extend into evening or early morning time. On the basis of a 40-hour week, that’s 33% devoted to this stuff; but even on the basis of a 12-hour day, the percentage is 22%.

If you were devoting less than half of those 13 hours, say, six hours, to other professional marketing pursuits, I estimate you could do any one of the following during that week:

• Write 2-3 chapters in a book.
• Create and post 10-12 position papers on your web site.
• Call, at a moderate pace with follow-up, 30 past clients and/or warm leads.
• Send out a dozen press releases.
• Engage in a full day of self-development or a workshop.
• Create three speeches or a complete multi-day workshop.
• Create a new product to be sold on your web site.
• Create, and develop a marketing plan for, a teleconference.
• Create and record three podcasts.
• Create and tape a video.
• Contact 30 prior clients for testimonials, referrals, or references.
• Attend two networking events.
• Create and distribute two newsletters.
• Complete at least half of a professional book proposal for an agent.
• Respond to 50 or more reporters’ inquiries on, say, PRLeads.com.
• Seek out two high-potential pro bono opportunities.
• Contact and follow up with five trade associations for speaking opportunities.

You get the idea. Don’t forget, in my unscientific analysis, I’ve halved the hours I think are really being invested in full-fledged social media activity based on an already conservative estimate of what they truly are. And I’m not even counting other networks or platforms, just the four I’ve mentioned.

And over the course of a couple of months, you can easily do ALL of the bullet points, if you have a mind to do so. I’m just allocating six hours a week, just over an hour a day.

My current evaluation is this: Don’t confuse occupation with avocation. I’ve never said that “social media” are evil or will not help someone find a buyer somewhere at some time. Heck, I’ve become an avid blogger, and I visit Facebook and now Twitter daily. Yet I can still do all of the bullet points above and work only 20 hours a week.

If you’re serious about corporate consulting and coaching, and the blog you are currently visiting IS located at www.contrarianconsulting.com, then I’d continue to advise that you’re not going to find those buyers on social platforms. Is it impossible? No. Have some people done it? They claim so. But if you’re engaged in social browsing at the EXPENSE of those bullet points, then that’s not a good disposition nor apportionment of time. If you can do both, and still live a balanced and fulfilling life by your terms, then go for it.

I’m posting intellectual property, for free of course, on Twitter, just as I do here. I do find that these platforms present a great way to pay back, to contribute, and to share. You have to be judicious in your selections, however, since some people just want “air time” and you only have so much air.

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

Comments: 23

  • Dianna Huff

    May 17, 2009


    I’ve been carefully tracking my time for a few weeks now and can say your time estimates are right on.

    I realized that I was spending close to 50% of my time on non-billable tasks, so I’m trying to change that by analyzing where my time goes.

    This has meant cutting way back on social media.

  • Dianna Huff

    May 17, 2009

    By the way, your From Panic to Profit telelcass is excellent.

  • Cheryl Liquori

    May 17, 2009

    Yes, there’s a few of us out here in the wilderness. I find myself having to constantly calm down fellow self-employed entrepreneurs who are a little freaked out by the noise and hype to ‘get on board’ with social media…or perish!
    I’m grateful for your numbers and will continue to help my own clients make sense of the tools out there, and to use their time wisely.

  • Amy

    May 18, 2009

    Thanks, Alan, for the analysis.

    Your list makes clear that not all “marketing” (and I use that term loosely regarding social media to attract high-fee buyers) efforts bring about the same results.

    Great read!

    Amy Showalter

  • May 18, 2009

    Great post Alan. I think the genius here is that the argument isn’t about does social media work or doesn’t it but more about if it is the best use of my time. People can argue over that for ever and miss the fact that you just posted a free marketing plan for just about any service professional that will do more than social media. I need to redistribute my time! Thanks again.


  • Graham Franklin

    May 18, 2009

    Thank God

    Finally reason. Well done Alan I began to think I was a freak in not using social media. It is difficult enough to carry out all of the mentor programme recommendations without spending hours on social media with no pay back or at least scant payback.

    Alan has helped me with my time management but it does not include social media if I am to achieve the objective of true wealth “Discretionary Time” and working 20 hours a week. Add to this the problem of living near Ipswich-on-Mutton and you will understand
    why any time weasted can never be recovered.

  • May 18, 2009

    I can’t quite put words to it but I have a hunch that operating in the social Media realm requires people to risk themselves much less than “putting themselves out there” with some intellectual product that they really have to commit to.


    hmmm, seems like I read “the most important sell is to your self”…where have I read that? ;o)

  • May 18, 2009

    Thank you, thank you, Alan! I’ve felt so alone with most everyone I know so hepped up about Twitter, etc. I keep asking them “How do you find the time to do it?” and they give what I consider lame answers. I’m going to print out your list of bullet points and make those ideas my ‘high priorities’ each day.

  • May 19, 2009

    But Alan! You expect people to do actual work and thinking?! What are you, a sadist or something? 😉

  • Graham Franklin

    May 19, 2009

    This poor soul in Ipwich-on Mutton cannot do both.

    I have to prioritise traditional marketing to achieve the objectives that I have to achieve to make being a member of this community added value…sorry it’s just the way “I see it”

  • May 21, 2009

    Thank you! At last, a rational voice in the social media swirl.

    I’ve found social media fantastic for making connections and learning, but I roll my eyes at the “who’s most popular” silliness. We’re business people, not 7th graders.

    There is no doubt that social media is very valuable, but one must have objectives, and match tools and participation to this, or we’ll just waste LOTS of time.

    I love your time analysis and your bulleted list of comparable accomplishments one should be focused upon.

  • June 20, 2009


    I love the write-up and you make a lot of great points – time can and is being wasted by a lot of people.

    However…(someone has to put in a however statement) – where Social Media can really shine is to amplify your traditional marketing efforts. Almost everything on your list would benefit from an additional burst of Social Media (which is very short time allocation). Written a new white paper? Let people know on the appropriate platforms. That kind of thing.

    I think the other key where people really get lost is they don’t go into it with a plan – what do they want to achieve out of their efforts? You get to pick 1 or 2 outcomes you’d like to achieve and then build a plan that uses ALL of the available tools (traditional and social) to achieve that plan.

    Great discussion, thanks for sharing.


  • Mark Faust

    July 2, 2009

    I eschew social sites, except Alan’s stuff and I’m not hitting those often enough. I have yet to find one person from one client company who has profitably used this media for anything other than selling life insurance and getting a job.

  • Mark Faust

    July 2, 2009

    I was getting two copies of your emails, I just wanted to clear the clutter. I’d never stop subscribing to your stuff, you’ve helped me to make too much money to stop listening.

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