Welcome back to Day 3 of our Social Media, Behave! Series. I’m Laura Booz, the happy recipient of one full week at Like a Warm Cup of Coffee. (And those are my funtastic kiddos up there.) If you’re new, catch up on Day 1 and Day 2. When you have a minute, mine the comments: there’s some mighty fine gold in there.
Today, we’re digging into one of the most important things a human being can do: consider the cost. It’s something we do all day long in both insignificant and profound ways. It’s how we choose one thing over the other: we consider the cost and choose our investment.
Christ said it about following Him: “consider the cost…” He wants His disciples to face the sacrifices up front, and to make our decision based upon the truth. He knows that if we are surprised by the struggles, oppositions, and crosses along the way, we might lose heart and become offended by Him. So throughout Scripture, He is very open about the price of Christianity. There is no “small print” to trick us into blind faith. There’s no wondering, “What’s it going to cost me?” We know the answer: it costs everything. Those of us who are Christians have decided that it’s a deal. So we said, “yes”.
We’d be wise to apply His advice to Social Media. We’d be wise to consider the cost.
Some of the upfront costs for me are:
Every post I write takes my attention away from household needs.
Every email I send takes time away from my family.
Every facebook status I update takes affection not given in person.
Though I believe that Social Media platforms are worth some of my time, attention, and heart, they are not worth all – or even most – of my time, attention, and heart. Even if I am making money with my online work, I must be very discerning about the amount of time I am investing: does it cross the line into costing me more than it is worth? For example, as a “mommy blogger” I must be vigilant about my time online. Though adding one more affiliate link might put twelve bucks in my PayPal account, taking the extra fifteen minutes away from my children is not worth it to me. Every time I want to sign up for a new application or networking platform, I must consider: what will it cost me?
THE ONLINE BUDGET
After many blunders, I’ve finally discovered a way to consider the cost of Social Media and feel peaceful about the time I invest: I keep an online budget. This is very much like a financial budget and lets me know what I can afford to give Social Media. First, I evaluate the hours in my day and all of the things that are worth my attention. If I only have one hour available for online endeavors, so be it. My blog will be a one-hour-a-day blog. It might not pay off the mortgage or catch the eye of thousands of readers, but it’ll be as top-notch as I can make it within that time frame. Then, I divide that hour up into portions so that I can write posts, respond to comments, solicit guest posts, and work on other projects. Depending on the amount of time I have to spend on the computer, I might allow five minutes to catch up on facebook, five minutes to tweet my posts, ten minutes to browse my RSS, and a few minutes to encourage other bloggers. When the online stopwatch buzzes, my time is up.
Similarly, I’ve got to keep a healthy distance from my smart phone. I know it’s a good time to read through some emails if I’m not sneaking a peek. When I want to check in on things at the wrong time, I say, “not this time” to myself, and put the thing away. Sometimes the sacrifices sting and I wish I had more time to accomplish all of my online dreams, but I’m confident that I will not regret my choices in the long-run. I saw the fruit of these boundaries when I was able to write and publish my first eBook during the first two months of my baby’s life. A friend asked how I found the time to write – what with a newborn, and homeschooling, and all. The only answer I could think of was, “I had to think fast and type faster. Writer’s block was a luxury I couldn’t afford.” Sometimes a tight schedule is the secret to productivity. To tell you the truth, I’ve found that when I keep healthy parameters on my Social Media time, I have much more to offer.
For a fantastic real-time example of an online budget, check out Joy Forney‘s article, “Time for Blogging” by clicking here. She doesn’t divide her hours down into nitty-gritty details like I do, but she lets us peek into the boundaries she has established for all-things-Social Media. I bet this helps her to consider the cost – to say say “yes” to beneficial opportunities and “no” to everything else.
To do: Consider all of the people, obligations, and opportunities that make up your day. How much time do you have for Social Media? Take that chunk of time and break it down into portions for each type of social media that you enjoy. Using an online stopwatch, try it out for a week. What do you think?
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See you tomorrow for Day 4!
You can learn a whole lot more by downloading Blogger Behave: Make your blog benefit your life so you can love both! You can also subscribe to my blogs: 10 Million Miles (click here to subscribe) and TheHomeschoolBaby.com (click here to subscribe). You can also subscribe to Like a Warm Cup of Coffee by clicking here (or email, here). Happy behaving!
Posted on Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 and journaled under Guest Posts, Social Media. Follow the coffee talks on this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a Coffee Talk or trackback from your own site. Keep up with Like a Warm Cup of Coffee by subscribing here.