I was presenting at an event on Web 2 the other day (thanks to UKOLN for hosting me) and in between bouncing around a drum kit (long story) and talking about my experiences, someone posed a very good question.

“With all this social web you’re involved with, where does real life fit in?”

I can’t quite remember my answer in detail, although I suspect it was a jocular quip along the lines of “Yes, it is quite a time commitment, but that’s how I get the majority of my professional information these days” it did get me thinking.  Social Web interactions aren’t a time trivial engagement, given their interrogative nature.  Even for us multitasking Web Foxes there is a need for time to spent learning then as well as using them, and there are only so many hours in a day (and even less when you put the clocks forwards).

But I have a real life (RL if you prefer) that is full to the brim with activities.  Social networking just slots around this; although I will admit there has been more than odd evening slumped in front of the PC playing Farmville; but that might have more to do with work/life balance and physical exhaustion than anything else.

From a personal stand point I know I make time in my personal and professional life to get to grips with these tools and new ways of working and interacting.  They’re important in my professional future, so it’s no more of a commitment than that required to read the latest published literature in my field or attend conferences and workshops.  Perhaps though it’s more akin to micropayments of time.  People are happy to make big payments of time and attend training, but not everyone’s happy to make little micropayments of time to use social networking.

There’s also the point about things changing – just as soon as you got used to Facebook then everyone was on twitter.  Grokking twitter? Then everyone’s moved to Google Wave.  Riding the wave now? Hah, smart money’s gone to FriendFace…sorry FriendFeed.  Okay, perhaps an over simplification but to those just dipping their toes in the social water it must seem like that.  We only have to look at organisations who are only now really embracing Facebook, and yet that’s almost old hat these days, much as it has a place in my heart as my friend social interaction tool.

So life?  Well life makes use of these tools, but you do need to invest time.  Or not, the choice is yours but you could well be missing out.  Although you don’t have to follow the herd.

And my life?  Well I started writing this entry two weeks ago – and real life ever since has ment I’ve had little time for blogging…


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