Archive for June, 2012

Why You Should Blog And Not Just Facebook Stalk

My blog has been live for over three years and this is my 100th blog post. I’m certain that starting a blog was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. I try to write two blog posts each month on the subject of anything technology related, or any other personal experiences that are valuable to share. I estimate that I spend about 1-4 hours researching and writing each blog post. By comparison, I spend about 30 hours per month on Facebook. Does that sound a little bit surprising? I admit I was surprised. Let’s dive straight into the numbers for May 27 – June 2, 2012.

Total time captured browsing all sites on the Macbook + Mac Mini

Total time designated as “Social Networking”

And just to make sure this activity has been consistent, I tracked my time from March 18 – 22, 2012. (It’s worse!)

Total time captured browsing all sites on the Macbook + Mac Mini

Time designated as “Social Networking”

There you have it, I waste an incredible amount of time on Facebook, nearly one working day per week. Let’s make these numbers easy to grasp: Assume that I spend one hour per day on Facebook, that’s 365 hours per year. If I value my time at $10/hour, that’s a total of $3,650 lost wages. $30/hour adds up to $10,950/year. But is it really all a waste? Let’s be clear on what Facebook really means to the average user…

Of course it’s not a total wast of time. I choose to look at my time on Facebook as an investment in my personal or professional life. Facebook is an important communication tool for many of the social circles in my life. I manage my loose connections through Facebook, and indeed it is satisfying to see an unexpected notification from time to time.

The Thiel Foundation uses a Facebook group to broadcast the majority of it’s news and events, and I stay in touch with friends from around the world every day through the chat bar. Not to mention Facebook pages are an incredibly powerful marketing tool; the Facebook advertising platform offers more targeting options than any competing product. But isn’t it also a powerful tool for promoting yourself? I think so. Facebook is the ultimate tool for image management. Your timeline is the showcase story of your life, and most importantly, with pictures.

Depending on how you use Facebook, it can be useful, but how many of us mostly use Facebook as photo stalking tool? I’d bet Facebook users primarily view photos more than anything else. While some seek validation metrics such as friend counts, likes, wall posts, notifications, photo tags, the most common use of Facebook is flipping through it’s incredibly organized photo album.

Don’t take my word for it… Facebook just bought the most popular mobile photo sharing app, Instagram, for $1 billion. To give the acquisition perspective, SpaceX built and launched a rocket that docked at the International Space Station for less than $1 billion.

So, why should you blog? There are a number of reasons depending on the person. Some people blog for the sake of self expression and some people blog to make money. Blogs cover all topics, from celebrity gossip on Perez Hilton amd Failblog to The NY Times. Others blog to establish a brand, reputation, or opinion. Some blogs highlight the work of others. And some people blog just because it’s required to get an A on a school project. I encourage you to start your own whether or not it’s another credential or just a personal fulfillment activity.

And the challenge of blogging will probably seem intimidating at first, but don’t let that hold you back. I’m not even alone among my peers. My friend Mike Williams curates a photo blog. Another friend Brad Buechner is writing about his homeless experience. And many people I’d like to have as friends post the latest hot music. If you’re searching for something to write about, I encourage you to think about these possible perspectives:

No time or energy to put in all of the effort? No problem. I am frequently asked about when do you find the time to post this stuff. I find the time, at least two or three nights per month. My thoughts are most clear and free of distraction between the hours of 11pm-2am. I also write a lot when I fly, sometimes almost exclusively on the 6 hour segments between NJ and SF. Flying is an activity of simultaneous reflective and forward thinking, thus a great state of mind for writing about my previous thoughts and experiences.

In my opinion, we are ultimately judged by the original work we create in the world. Our legacy is the sum of our ability to introduce new things that make a difference. The greatest works transcend time and impact society for years to come. For example, Andrew Carnegie was the Bill Gates of his day, but he is not judged today for being a rich man. Carnegie’s legacy is manifested in the things that his wealth has created, such as the founding of Carnegie Mellon and countless other philanthropic acts. A blog is something you can create for free in just a few hours each month, and it’s a great place to start publishing your own original work.



06 2012