Sunday, July 29, 2007

Effort v. Return

Chuqui has an excellent point about all of the tools we use:

Social networks only succeed when the value they return a value that is worth the investment -- in this case, the primary investment is time. What the value returned is depends, everyone will define that differently, but there has to be a commonality here that this investment is worthwhile. This lack of return is likely one reason why so many blogs get abandoned; after the initial rush of enthusiasm wears off, people realize that it's, well, work, and takes time and energy (and for many folks, for little return). So they drop out.

It comes down to one core issue: time management...Because the bottom line is, there are only so many hours in a day, so many days in a week, and if you don't budget them, you'll come out the other end wondering why you were so busy and didn't accomplish a damn thing...


The reason why I've maintained this blog for almost a year (has it really been that long?!?!?) is because the return on this particular investment has been significantly greater than the time and effort put in.

The reason why I abandoned Twitter and Ning is because the return on investment wasn't high enough, fast enough.

Facebook is starting to show some promise as a possible way to put all of my stuff together, but I just haven't had the time yet to investigate this further. What's kept me linked has been people engaging me in this environment in ways that didn't happen in the others.

Considerations of effort vs. return will be critical with ANY tool we ask our end-users to adopt. Will the return on investment be high enough and happen fast enough for it to stay in the toolkit once the patina of novelty wears off? Or will it wind up in the junkyard with everything else?

BTW - you should also read Chuqui's follow-up post on this issue. Thankfully, I may never have the problem these folks do....

4 comments:

Tom Haskins said...

Wendy, I think an added issue here is the openness to different kinds of return for the effort. There are numerous intangibles that depend on the receptivity of the person. Those of us amenable to "masochism" will get more value from our efforts than those with a low tolerance for pain, ambiguity and disorientation.

There may also be differences in how long it takes someone to read, write and reflect -- that could make participation more costly/less valuable.

DrBob said...

I'm new to facebook and even newer to blogs. I've spent many years deriving a lot of value from rapid and vibrant interchanges on discussion forums. I've made many lengthy posts which are now lost in the bowels of an MYSQL database somewhere. Was all this time wasted? I think not - the text is long gone and forgotten but the insight I won from having people challenging my ideas and views (and not always in a friendly way ;)) I found invigorating. I also found it very rewarding to see some threads I created on forums hit thousands of views and on one occasion be the topic of debate on a TV show. I've also come to know some very diverse and interesting people.

I'm finding it hard to "get" blogs (almost certainly my failing)I am beginning to feel they are very one way - the "lecture" of web 2.0. Equally Facebook promises much, but the control that is exerted seems almost oppressive. Arguments and discussions die in the absence of an audience or worse - obliterated completely by a profile owner who likes to keep things tidy. Interestingly. I walk down the corridor at work - everyone says "hi" and wants to talk (a real menace sometimes). On Facebook and blogs the social/professional interaction seems much less vibrant .

I believe the social/professional network need an added "something" - not least traffic ;) Thoughts?

DrBob said...

I'm new to facebook and even newer to blogs. I've spent many years deriving a lot of value from rapid and vibrant interchanges on discussion forums. I've made many lengthy posts which are now lost in the bowels of an MYSQL database somewhere. Was all this time wasted? I think not - the text is long gone and forgotten but the insight I won from having people challenging my ideas and views (and not always in a friendly way ;)) I found invigorating. I also found it very rewarding to see some threads I created on forums hit thousands of views and on one occasion be the topic of debate on a TV show. I've also come to know some very diverse and interesting people.

I'm finding it hard to "get" blogs (almost certainly my failing)I am beginning to feel they are very one way - the "lecture" of web 2.0. Equally Facebook promises much, but the control that is exerted seems almost oppressive. Arguments and discussions die in the absence of an audience or worse - obliterated completely by a profile owner who likes to keep things tidy. Interestingly. I walk down the corridor at work - everyone says "hi" and wants to talk (a real menace sometimes). On Facebook and blogs the social/professional interaction seems much less vibrant .

I believe the social/professional network need an added "something" - not least traffic ;) Thoughts?

tonya said...

I agree with Tom. I think it really depends on what type of return you are after. If it's page hits, and you get only two or three, then you're likely to be disappointed. However, if it's the fact that you are contributing to the whole web 2.0 concept then even if you never get a comment, it's worthwhile.