Because That’s Where The Money Is

How We Spend Our Time OnlineA report on Marketingland yesterday showed that the average American now spends 27% of their online life on social media sites, almost double the amount of time (15%) they spend on the second highest category, entertainment sites.

For the last few months, I’ve been using RescueTime to track how I allocate my time spent staring at a computer screen. If you haven’t done that yet, you should. I promise you are not nearly as productive as you think you are, and RescueTime is merciless in letting you know about it.

Turns out that I spend a little more time than average on social media, about 33% or roughly 2 hours a day over the last 3 months, and I’ve been trying to cut that down, but I’m conflicted.

I told Georgia Cross, the founder of Nashville’s Social Media Club, that I was trying to trim the 2 hours a day I spend on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and HootSuite, and she practically scolded me for not spending ENOUGH of my precious time on social media.

And maybe she’s right.

I’ve been carrying around a practically worthless journalism degree for decades, and now, for the first time in my life, the world has changed in such a way that a journalsim degree is actually worthwhile. Well, maybe not the degree itself, but the ability to create and distribute content is probably the most valuable skill in today’s economy. Call it The Tao of Google.

The newspapers I was trained to go to work for are either out of business, damn near out of business, or hanging on by the tiniest strip of border tape leftover from a bygone era. Google now makes more profit than all the newspapers in America… combined.

It’s Google’s world and we’re just 7 billion monkeys banging away on 7 billion typewriters feeding the monster.

And increasingly Google is relying on social media signals to determine which monkey’s meanderings get seen in search results too.

Willie Suttone | That's Where The Money IsEveryone with a computer or a mobile phone, and that’s pretty much everyone, including you, now has the power to create and distribute content just as effectively as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, just as effectively as ABC, NBC and all the rest of them. More so, actually. News content was way down the list of online activities at 3%, tied with porn.

Willie Sutton once famously said he robbed banks “because that’s where the money is.”

Well today, the money is online.

Everybody is selling something, and whatever it is that you’re selling, your customers are online spending 27% of their time looking at kittens on Facebook. You either need to find a way to get in on that conversation. Or go the way of the newspapers.

Create more content. Connect with more customers. Repeat.

What say you? Are you spending too much time on social media? Or not nearly enough?

Terry LancasterTerry Lancaster is the VP of Making S#!% Happen at Instant Events Automotive Advertising, father of 3 teenage daughters and a Beer League Hockey All Star, as if there could ever be such a thing.

You can connect with Terry on FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.