Bactrian camel When we changed the WUL publishing schedule (again), I thought writing an original post once a week would be easy enough.

Image: richardghawley via Flickr, CC 2.0

The truth is, it isn’t.

Over the last several months – actually, couple of years – I have seen and experienced exactly what small business owners, business people, and basically any “regular” person feels when they are told they need to get with social media. That’s when they give anyone mentioning blogging / tweeting / Facebooking / Pinteresting / whatevering a withering stare, much as Medusa must have been in the process of giving Perseus as he beheaded her.

This is not your chance to jump all over me for hatin’ on SM. I’m not. I’m extremely aware of and grateful for all that it has done for me, personally and professionally. But you can’t take away from the fact that it takes a friggin’ cr@pload of time.

T. I. M. E.

That most people don’t have when they are juggling kids, doing the dishes, walking the dogs, trying to make ends meet, trying to meet sales projections, caring for a loved one, falling sick, getting well, keeping up with client work, getting their hearts broken, falling in love, paying the bills, paying their taxes, looking for work,

… and really, in the middle of all that, we expect them to drop one-to-two hours a day on “social media”?!

They don’t have the time for this!

No one does, unless they are consultants (yes, I realize what I just said), or work at companies where they are paid to be on Twitter all day (yes, I realize what I just said), or have enough minions around that they can gad about on SM… and in this last category, I will say are some very dedicated people I know who have done a remarkable job of building their businesses so that they can actually have minions.

Perhaps it was inevitable I would experience this when I re-entered the “real” world after a few years (as some of you might remember). And it was extremely uncomfortable. I’ve since exited that particular “real” world, only to realize that when you are one person doing almost everything, it still doesn’t change. It’s tiring and a bit of a heavy realization for someone who has been so enamored of social for so long.

Can’t you just hear it:

“I’m sorry, social, it’s not you, it’s me… but really, it’s you.”

The thing is, I haven’t, and won’t give up social. Because outside of the fact that it has brought me into contact with wonderful people like Lisa Gerber, and Ken Jacobs, and Sean Williams, and Mary Barber, and Deirdre Breakenridge, and Richard Bagnall, and Joe Hackman, and Gini Dietrich, and Brian Meeks, and Shel Israel (disclosure: client), and… too many to name!…

… the fact is that it makes business sense.

A while back I wrote about Streak, the Chrome plugin I’m currently using to manage my business development process (such as it is). One of the things I did was set up a column to track the origin of leads; did they come from a personal connection, social media, former client, etc.

And while social isn’t leading the pack, it has enough of an impact that I can’t cut it out. If it’s not direct leads that come via social, it’s leads via speaking engagements that come via social, or referrals that come because of social, or new connections because of social…

So I would be cutting off my nose to spite my face if I were to just quit social altogether, because of how tired and stressed I am over business and other stuff. Because then where would my business (and, therefore, me) go?

Me so sleepy…

Part of my tiredness and stress comes from simply being a very hard worker, and those of you who are the same will identify. Part of it comes from having to wear many hats as an SBO (small business owner), and again, those of you who are SBOs will identify. Part of it comes from other areas in my life, spilling over into the work arena.

So. If you’re a small business owner reading this, who just doesn’t have the time for social, who regards it in the same light as an enema, I get it. Believe me, I really get it. I mean, I drafted this post at 10:30 pm ET last Saturday, when I should either have been living it up or sleeping!

But…

In my opinion, none of these are good excuses for giving up on social. My stress management (or lack thereof) is my problem. Working hard is great, but perhaps I need to do better at letting go of what doesn’t need to be perfect. And perhaps I need to delegate more, or stop taking on work that needs me and only me to do it.

None of these are problems related to social media. They are problems (if they are, indeed, problems) that I’m creating on my own, perhaps unintentionally, and that I have to learn how to fix.

So while I let myself give in to tiredness when I need to, and cut back on the time I spend online when I need to (and these days, there’s a lot of that!), for the most part I’ve gotten over the social media hump.

And you need to as well.

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps smart businesses make bank by taking their communications from corporate codswallop to community cool™. She is also the founder of The Social PR Virtuoso®, which provides online, on-demand training that helps you unleash your inner Social PR superhero. Shonali is mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke