Social Media ROI, Money, and Burnout

Category: Weekly Columns

I’m beginning to wonder about my ROI for all the time I spend on Social Media. The money earned and spent is also a question. I don’t have any questions about the satisfaction, pleasure, and knowledge I’ve gained via Social Media or the amazing relationships that I’ve made. Some have remained virtual, in that I’ve had no real life or even phone exchanges with these virtual friends. But, others have blossomed in real life when we got to meet at conferences or just for coffee or lunch.

However, after several years of learning the ropes, beginning with simply writing a newspaper column that became a syndicated blog, and moving on to Facebook, Twitter, and my own websites, I did hit a wall. A wall of doubt that the value received and, hopefully, the value dispensed, was equal to the incredible time commitment.

I even hit a sort of burnout with one of my favorite methods of connection – commenting on other blogs. Until I hit that wall, I was regularly making 10-25 comments or more per day, every day. A few weeks ago, I just stopped.

Since then, I’ve resumed commenting, hitting a purgatory of emotions regarding my work, my income, and my commitment to all the forms of connections I was employing. I even hit an emotional wall in which my generally upbeat mood has diminished to the point of not recognizing myself.

Some of these feelings may be related to simultaneous events going on within my work and family lives. My first-born is going to college this fall – a very expensive college. I began a serious review of my work life and have employed a team to assist me in monetizing my efforts, which were, up to this point, random and without concern for financial return.

To some degree, they will remain “random,” as I like it that way and I’ve been fortunate enough – due to income from my previous career – to have some choices. But, there is also my male ego. Just the other night at #DadChat, a highlight of every week, I found myself getting so frustrated when one of our two co-host’s tweets were inexplicably not showing up in our stream.

We were missing his contributions and wisdom. From a business standpoint, #DadChat was completely losing his statistical value. It seemed a lose-lose and I found myself getting overly exorcised by it. Just the week before we hit substantial #DadChat success and probably Tweet Chat records when Guy Kawasaki was the co-host. The chat ended up being still terrific and generated excellent participation and ultimately fine stats! So, why was I getting so uptight over a technical glitch that ultimately didn’t really mean much?

I think the answer is simple. We all want ROI and validation. For all the time and effort I’d put into building #DadChat, this particular glitch was severely impacting this one night’s success – or so I was thinking in the moment!  The topic of this #DadChat, in which one of the hosts was MIA (in the stream), was Effective Communication. One of the offshoot discussions involved what language of love we each relied upon and “spoke.” This was motivated when a reference to “The Five Language of Love” by Gary Chapman came up. For me, it is without a doubt, “Words of Affirmation.” For my wife, it’s a combination of “Quality Time” and “Gifts Received.” Knowing these things have helped us better communicate. So, for me getting good response to a column, my radio show, vlog, comic, or #DadChat is just that sort of affirmation.

For most people, dare I say men maybe even a bit more; your income is a form of validation. And, that is where I’m also hitting a wall emotionally. It’s too soon to make any pronouncements about the success or failure of my new management team’s efforts, along with my applying our ideas to my daily work. Time will tell and I will re-assess at the end of this year.

Regardless, I will not compromise my values, my core beliefs, or my work ethic, under any circumstances. But, maybe I will have to make some adjustments in how I distribute my time. Maybe I need to avoid another comment or possible Social Media burnout by taking regular time off each week? After the minor fiasco of #DadChat that Thursday evening, I took the rest of the night off and didn’t return to my computer until noon the following day. Not much of a respite you might say, but it was an eternity to me given my usual daily routines.

We all need a break. We all need to feel reward for our efforts, whether they’re words of affirmation or income – or both. What are your thoughts on this general and rambling subject as you navigate the constantly changing world of Social Media?