Are Twitter and FriendFeed Stealing Your Time?

Filed as Features on December 23, 2008 3:58 am

Michael Arrington has slapped Robert Scoble with a Friendfeed Intervention

So lots of people follow Robert on those services, but they aren’t visiting his site and the content he writes is on someone else’s server. Plus all that content is just really forgettable, compared to a good thought piece that people refer back to over time. There is no direct way to monetize any of that content, which is something that a full time blogger with a family really needs to think about

Is Scoble wasting his time on FriendFeed?

Judging by the amount of time he spends, 7 hours a day, 7 days a week, I would say, yes.

Scoble made his name, and via this, his income, through thought leadership. He did this in the most part by blogging. Yes, he can still share ideas and create discussion using Twitter and FriendFeed, but as Michael points out, he would be doing this on someone elses property and with fewer income streams to draw on.

The solution is he should be blogging more and Tweeting less, and he should direct as many people back to his blog as possible. Use these services for conversation, but the depth and detail should carry over to his blog.

Robert can still have the best of both worlds, but I would say spending 7 hours a day on any single service is not doing him any good – spread the love Robert!

Do you think Michael is right, or is there value in spending this amount of time on FriendFeed that we are not seeing? Please share in the comments …

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  1. By Zach Tumin posted on December 23, 2008 at 4:06 am
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    The other day I asked on Twitter, “If the boss unplugged your socmed, what impact would it have had on hitting your 2008 planned performance targets, whether rev$ or product/services?” My guess is most people would say at best zero impact, and perhaps even a positive had they spent less time. But it’s a complicated equation, still. Arrington’s point is correct, however. The idea is to point, finally, to more substantive work. Twitter/Friendfeed, except in unusual endeavors, is not the work itself.

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  2. By Chris Garrett posted on December 23, 2008 at 4:09 am
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    Exactly, he has an attention resource in his Twitter and FriendFeed audiences but what he DOES with that attention is the crucial part.

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  3. By Richard McLaughlin posted on December 23, 2008 at 4:17 am
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    Unless you see money at the end of the month, they are a waste of time. Have to break things down as simply as that. Building a reputation on any social media may work in the long run, but don’t waste too much time if you are not seeing something back – whatever that something happen to be.

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  4. By Snow Vandemore posted on December 23, 2008 at 4:26 am
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    I have accounts on several networks — Twitter, Friendfeed and Facebook included, as well as maintaining my blog, plus guest postings on occasion. Just this past week, I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to juggle these demands, albeit demands I have placed on myself. Yesterday was devoted almost entirely to blog writing, with a few tweets here and there during “breaks.” It’s obvious I need to manage my schedule and spend more time on blogging, which has suffered some in the past couple of weeks.

    I wrote about this on my blog post “Twitter is Killing The Blog” a couple of weeks ago. I should probably take my own advice and pay more attention to my first love, blogging. That’s the core and should not be neglected. Great post, Chris. Gave me something (more) to think about. Cheers.

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  5. By Joy-Mari posted on December 23, 2008 at 4:50 am
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    I check into Twitter a couple of times a day. I spend perhaps 5 minutes or so reading tweets and might follow a link or two that was tweeted.

    I don’t really use Friendfeed that much so in total I spend perhaps an hour per day on Twitter. And I agree: it’s an hour I could’ve spent on one of my blogs instead…

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  6. By Chris Garrett posted on December 23, 2008 at 10:28 am
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    @Richard – Reputation, brand, connections, are all important, but the day to day tasks of running and marketing our businesses should not suffer because we are chatting about the best way to cook turkey ;)

    @Snow – I do see a return on investment for Twitter and such, but the returns tail off after a certain amount of time spent (different for each of us I suspect) that after which really is an opportunity cost

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  7. By Rich posted on December 23, 2008 at 8:13 pm
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    I haven’t tried both, but I think I’ll join later. However, as I am observing members, I can see some troubles why some of them are not making money out of these sites which is leading them to waste their time.

    If our goal is to make money out of these social sites, it can be a long struggle especially if we don’t have a popular status. All social sites are about followers, and they are quite hard to build considering tons of competitors can eat us alive.

    Moreover, it is hard to control ourselves being tempted to socialize rather than selling our products. We can always think that social people will only read our posts, and not purchase a product. In the end, we might be surprised that one day we are already buried with tons of followers of fans but not earning a single cent.

    Consequently, posting a post link to Twitter suggests that we use tinyURL which will prevent us to build quality backlinks. This can be another waste of time.

    Therefore, I still believe that before joining any social site, we should be able to earn a status first. The first thing that comes to my mind is through search engines.

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  8. By Evan posted on December 26, 2008 at 3:20 pm
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    I’ve done a considerable amount of blogging over the past year but failed to set up an account with twitter, which I’m assuming equates to sacrilege within the blogosphere. I do, however, maintain a Facebook account.

    As far as these websites generating revenues are concerned, there is a growing trend among online networking sites of tailoring themselves to incorporate innovative advertising footholds for companies and other businesses. The money in this industry will continue to grow despite market crap-tasticness.

    Evan
    http://www.beyondrace.com

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