Whenever I talk about social media, I invariably get asked two questions:

  • How do you find the time? [and]
  • Is it worth it?

I’ve been thinking about the question of time a lot since reading Marc Meyer’s Let’s Focus post earlier this month. He got me thinking about how I balance my social media engagement with my client work, traditional business development, workouts, family, friends, and the ebbs and flows of daily life.

My social media strategy has been to pick and choose the forums that work best for me. As a result, I’m active on LinkedIn but barely have a placeholder page on Facebook. I try to write at least three blog posts weekly, although my creativity drops when I’m slammed with client work. I started by reading and commenting on a handful of blogs, and have been adding subscriptions into my Google Reader at what some might consider an alarming rate. I try to do most of my blog reading in the late afternoon, leaving my mornings free for more core business activities.

And then there’s Twitter. If I came to the micro-blogging site later than most, I was lucky enough to join the party after the conversation had heated up. I love Twitter for the stream of conversation, the connectedness. I’ve added those I follow gradually, enjoying the ability to recognize their voices and understand the texture of each one’s unique contributions. It’s rare that TweetDeck isn’t running in the background, even if I’m only eavesdropping intermittently during much of the day.

Which brings me to that second question: Is it worth it? If you’re reading this, you probably already know the answer is of course it’s worth it. Social media is important to me because I’m learning each day from smart people like Chris Brogan, Jason Falls, Lee Odden, Geoff Livingston, Ann Handley, and all the others who generously share their insights and challenge us to think about how we, too, can contribute to the conversation.

Perhaps one day I’ll discover a new business partner on Twitter, or someone who finds me on LinkedIn will become my client. But I’ll leave the broader discussion about metrics and ROI to another day. For me, social media’s great value is the ongoing interaction with all of you–my readers, my friends, my colleagues, my peers–and the new conversations yet to begin.