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New Social Media Tools: Time Saving or Time Wasting?

11.19.10

When you learn about a new social media tool — whether it’s TweetDeck, Posterous, or Ping.fm — do you immediately jump at the chance to add it to your digital marketing toolbox?

(Image courtesy of dipster1.)

We all love new toys.  But, remember when we were kids and every time you saw a new gadget or gizmo commercial near the holidays (like now) you would proclaim to your parents: “I want that!” — only to play for it for a couple days and then have it join a group of virtually untouched playthings in a box in the basement?

Social Media ADHD

Like children, many of us have social media ADHD — also known as smADHD (pronounced smadhead if you prefer, but I don’t prefer) — where the latest and greatest tool advertised as a revolutionary way to make connecting with people online even easier and more time-efficient makes us salivate and drool and download instantly without even thinking of the ramifications.

Here’s my recommendation.

Instead of asking yourself: How do I use this new tool?

Ask: How much time do I need to invest in this tool to make it worth my while?

Hidden Costs

New tools come with hidden costs: learning curve, new technology, different functionality, upgrades and glitches.  And biggest of all: adding it to your growing number of tools that all make online conversation with your sphere of influence.  Every new element in your digital marketing toolbox takes time to use.

Even more time-sucking than the obvious are the latent time costs. Take Posterous for instance, which syndicates to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and a number of other social media outlets making it simpler and quicker than going to each one individually to update your status. It takes time to get used to, learn its ins and outs, set up all of the sites.  But what if you signed up for Posterous before you knew what all those other sites were: now you have to go to each of them and see what they’re all about, which then takes you hours to set up…

Tools tend to lead to new tools which leads to more and more time spent. Now, if you have all the time in the world, then by all means, go for it.  But most of us don’t.  So we need to use our time wisely and efficiently.

Taking My Own Advice

I’m about to take my own advice: I just learned about a new tool called RockMelt, a new type of browser.  Before diving into it, I’m going to do a little research to see if will indeed make me more efficient… or if it’ll just be another tool that takes up too much time to do the same things I’m already doing.

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