Social Media Dads

Social Media Dad: Jeff Tippett

5 Comments 11 August 2008

This guest post comes from Jeff Tippett. Jeff is an Outreach Strategist for Calvert Holdings and one of the authors of the Calvert Creative blog. He is the thirteenth in my series featuring social media dads.

“How do you have time to be involved in social media?”

I don’t think that I’ve ever conducted a social media and business seminar without being asked that question. Perhaps the question arises because our lives are so busy that adding another task seems overwhelming. But to me, it’s like being asked, “How do you have time to eat?” I take time to eat because it’s important to me. I value food! Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I feel the constant pressure of time constraints: I’m a single dad of 3 active kids, and I have an advancing career that demands a lot of my time. Spare time just isn’t part of my life’s equation.

Then why do I remain so active in social media? I pursue the social media realm because it adds value to my life. With the schedule I keep I have to constantly examine the ROI. But that determination isn’t limited to social media. I ask this question to any involvement with my life. What’s my return? Does it add value? Is the payback for the time that I contribute worth the investment? I can buy a lot of things in life. But I cannot, of course, buy time. Social media allows me to interact with friends, to contribute to the lives of others, and to gain knowledge—all three as I have the opportunity.

We all need social interaction in some form. For many of my single friends that do not have kids this type of interaction is often found by going out for socialization. With my commitment to care for my kids I don’t have the ability to go out as much as some of my friends. But with social media, I can virtually go out and hang with my friends whenever I have a few minutes. Sometimes after a busy weekend with the kids I crave adult conversation. But with the kids nestled in their beds I can’t just pop down to my local pub for a beer with my buds. But I can log into Twitter or Plurk and instantly jump into conversations.

I love to contribute. Three years ago I reinvented myself and left my lifelong career. Within that career much of my focus was on contributing to the lives of others. That career matched my personal passions. Although I’m in a new career that I love, enjoy, and wouldn’t trade for anything, I still have a need to give part of me to others. Social media provides a great outlet for me to help others.

I greatly enjoy attending conferences designed to increase my knowledge base. That’s why my RSS reader is so valuable to me. With RSS readers, I can continue to gather knowledge and increase my core competencies from the comfort of my favorite living room chair-or even while snuggling under the covers if that’s what I chose to do. Sure, there can be a significant noise to signal ratio. But I control the amount of noise that I allow into my world. For example, I chose not to subscribe to any of the blogs I read VIA email. Everything comes to my RSS reader. When I’m ready and have the time I peruse the topics, select the ones of interest, and read if they continue to be of interest. I love being active in Plurk and Twitter. I have the freedom to jump in the conversation when I want or opt to remain out of the conversation if time doesn’t allow.

Activity in social media may seem like another add on to a life that’s already marginalized. For me, however, it’s the way I now live my life. And it’s creating a life of value to me. What about you? How is social media affecting your life? Does it seem like another task or are you finding rewards from your involvement? What benefits are you gleaning from social media? Let’s continue the discussion…

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Your Comments

5 Comments so far

  1. I work from home in a small town outside of Wilmington, NC. Therefore, participating in social media technology allows me to share my thoughts, passions, and nuances throughout the day. I enjoy the feeling of being connected to my social media community. I suppose that’s why participation in twitter for example, can be addictive.

    Social Media technologies continue to advance in it’s ability to make ones actual geographic location a relevant factor in how well a person can be interconnected.

    Thank you for your points in your article. Well said!

    Timothy McDoniel
    Twitter ID: timmcdoniel

  2. filontheroad says:

    I agree on all the points in your article. Specially because i travel a lot and most of the times i am on the road in foreign countries so i can´t just handle my friendships in the common way and go out to socialize.

    So the social media stream is a great way to keep in touch, share my life with my friends and also start new friendships all over the world. On the other site i have to evaluate the time i put into that too, because from my point of view there is also a big danger in social media: the danger of losing too much time with no real ROI.

    I have seen a lot of people struggling because they dont approach the social media atmosphere in the best way for them. They put in too much time and the important things of their work are not done.

    Maybe you can give us all a good advice or tipp how you measure the time you put into the social media and how much it is on a weekly base.


  3. Wayne Sutton says:

    Jeff what a great post, social media does add value to my life too. Without it I don’t think or know if we would have ever met. I need to follow your rule from this blog post, “constantly examine the ROI” not only in social media but in life.

    I spend way to much time using social media and not seeing a direct ROI in the time I put in it.


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