Why You May Not Want A Job In Social Media

by Patrick on August 18, 2010

Photo courtesy of Flickr user JCOlivera

It doesn’t surprise me that most TV stars don’t watch television. Unlike stage actors or even film actors, regulars on a successful TV series are constantly filming with little downtime in between seasons. That leaves little time to enjoy the television they aren’t making.

There’s also an interesting effect of doing what you love every day 9-5. It becomes less of a passion and more work. It is like a sweet tooth working in a candy store, no longer craving dessert when he/she returns home.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written over here- my life has been a bit of a jumble this summer between my new job and my show. All my time commitments have left me burnt around the edges.

Last week a couple of co-workers brought up an interesting point: after working with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube all day is it possible I’ve become burnt out from social media?

It makes total sense: what was once your passion has become work. I felt that’s what happened to me with video. I’ve been producing videos since I was in middle school, and I was always making videos all throughout high school. However as a film student in college, it became less fun and more work. That’s why I became less of a the stereotypical film major, always shooting films, and more into extracurriculars like Student Government. It was something different than what I was learning in the classroom.

When I got my job at TMG I was making videos for clients 9-5 and even though I was very good at what I did and I made awesome work for my clients- I felt less compelled to finish my personal projects on the side. I was video’d out.

Now that I have an amazing job in Social Media, that spark I’ve always had for video is a bit stronger now. But did that come at the cost of my love for social media?

I look at other bloggers around me, those that raised their profile through their blogging and as a result finding amazing jobs with PR/Social Media firms getting paid to do what they have been doing for free. Some of them have blogged less- and I can’t blame them. Maybe they too have become too busy to blog, or perhaps too tired to blog after spending all day in the blogosphere.

There is also another crowd- those that are out there blogging, twittering, and social networking and looking for a coveted job in the industry. I wonder what will happen to them when they get that dream job. I am not saying they would be unhappy but is it possible that all those casual social media geeks would see their social media jobs as a blessing and a curse?

After thinking about this I’ve decided that it’s not always the case. Finding work doing something you love is still rewarding but it is also a test. A test of your passion. A test of how much you really love what it is you are doing.

In the end I still love social media- in fact I may have grown to love it more through working at NMS. Even though I may feel less inclined to check Facebook after work- I am learning new things working in the industry and in the end I am still sitting here at a Barnes & Noble in Clarendon, blogging to my heart’s content.

Because after the 9-5 I still want to get out there in the blogosphere, a sign I think that my love for social media must be that strong.

Has your job made you less interested in your hobbies? What will happen to you personal interests once you find that dream job?

  • http://www.dcprincessq.com DC Princess

    Since I got this internship, I’ve realized that no matter what I do, even if I write all day, I will continue to blog and work on my writing on the side. The problem becomes, for me, not having enough time in the day…not being burnt out on my passion.

    Glad to hear that you are NOT getting burnt out on your passion of social media as a result of your new job.

    • http://www.dmbosstone.com Patrick

      Yes time management is key for the busy Gen-Y professional!

  • Nate

    Well put, Patrick. What about cross pollination of interests? Is it really the medium you are passionate about or is it a space in which you can profess your passion for other interests. Perhaps doing so would reignite your other interests or bring forth new hobbies while keeping social media fresh. E.G., I love boingboing.net and the bloggers use, I think, as a means of exploration. The have some perennial interests that are quite apparent, yet there seems to always be some new subject that they write about. I admire your work. But think about it, are you confusing the medium for the muse?

    • http://www.dmbosstone.com Patrick

      Very good points- I there is a different for loving Facebook and loving talking about Cupcakes on Facebook. For me it’s about the medium and the effect it’s having in changing the way to connect with others. I’ve always wanted to bring the social back into social media and that’s what I really enjoy about it the most- how the online conversation can lead to offline experiences.

  • http://matthewhurst.com MattHurst

    You make some good points here, especially about blogger fatigue; I know my professional blog could use more updates than I’m able to post. And as a fellow NMS alumnus, I’m reminded of the rejuvenating excitement about social media which permeates your leading organization.
    Personally I feel social media needs fewer “experts” and more advocates working professionally. While I know plenty of online marketers who are successful using Twitter and Facebook professionally but refrain from using each personally, I think social media advocates and power-users thrive in a professional environment.

    • http://www.dmbosstone.com Patrick

      Ah a member of the NMSopshere, glad to have you check out my stuff. I have thoughts on so called, “experts” I wrote a post about that and I love how you used the word power-user because that’s what I like to think of myself as.

      Why I Will Never Be A Social Media Guru (What I Use Social Media For): http://bit.ly/axNYGo

      • http://matthewhurst.com Matthew Hurst

        I’m lucky enough to have earned the “power-user” label from one of our esteemed colleagues in your organization, and think your does a pretty good job describing the difference between enthusiatic early-adopters and self-proclaimed gurus. Keep up the great work on your own blog!

        • http://www.dmbosstone.com Patrick

          Thanks Matt!

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  • http://alexpriest.com Alex

    Great post, Patrick! I’ve had this on my mind a lot over the past year and it’s made me realize how very picky I’m probably going to be about getting a job.

    While I love, love, love social media, I don’t want a job just doing social media. I need a job that is going to have me on the forefront of social media, digital media, communications, etc. and a job that will challenge me to think outside just the usual social media strategies and campaigns. I want a job that makes me work hard to engage, to build a community, to use and explore both new tools and old ones. I want a job that will have me discovering new things every day, always learning, and even keeping me just a *tad* bit stressed out.

    I don’t want a job tweeting all day–that’s not a challenge. That’s not going to teach me anything.

    I think the best way to sustain a passion is to change it. That’s one of the best things about social media, communications, etc. It’s always changing. With video production, it’s probably not changing quite as quickly (although you certainly know better than I do), and perhaps that’s why you started to feel a little burnt out with it, but not so much with social media.

    Anyway, that’s my 5 cents or whatever. Keep up the great posts!

    • http://www.dmbosstone.com Patrick

      Well when it comes to an art form an artist will get tired when the work is for someone else and not an expression of themselves. Think about the professional graphic designers that work on print layouts and logos all day. That’s different from an editor in Hollywood that is collaborating on a story with a director.

      So with video what evolves is the story you tell or you methods of doing it.

  • http://notsoliteral.com jrmoreau

    Nice job Patrick.

    Honestly, I have to say that as long as I’m marketing a good product or service through social media, it wouldn’t get old for me. I don’t love social media as much as I love the ideas that are passed through it. Working in social media at Brazen Careerist made me realize that I loved interacting with people and exchanging ideas on a day to day basis. But after Brazen I had a few consulting gigs with companies that sold things that weren’t particularly interesting to me. It made promoting those things absolutely painful for me.

    I think as long as I’m working for a cause or company I am passionate about, using social media as a tool to get more business and raise awareness won’t be so bad.

    • http://www.dmbosstone.com Patrick

      I wonder if people working at Non-Profits then have that kind of satisfaction because they are working towards a cause they care about.

      • http://citygirlblogs.com City Girl

        I felt a huge level of satisfaction when I worked in my dream job at a non-profit. I couldn’t have been happier, but I noticed a decrease in the amount of time I had for my hobbies. Now that I’m pursuing dream job #2 (turning my blog into a business), I have found that it feels like a job on occasion. But then, I feel the urge to write again and open up my laptop.

        Your post brings up a lot of great points about why a social media job might not apply to the average social media user. Twitter and Facebook are fun, but when you have to use the sites for your job, there will be days when it feels like work.

        • http://www.dmbosstone.com Patrick

          Thanks City Girl- and good luck turning that blog into a business!

  • http://spitonthestreet.wordpress.com Melody

    i felt your absence ‘over here’.

    • http://www.dmbosstone.com Patrick

      Aw thanks Melody- I enjoy reading how you are keeping it real in Asia!

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  • http://liebchen11.wordpress.com Liebchen

    My job jives pretty well with my personal interests, but my hobbies are still something different. I feel like I need the distinction, just so I can appreciate both.

    Glad you’ve realized that you’re not burnt out, though, btw. :-)

    • http://www.dmbosstone.com Patrick

      I’m not burnt out… entirely… yet…

  • http://www.davidspinks.com David Spinks

    I can definitely relate to this. It’s often a day to day thing for me. One day I’ll be all about my job and the social media movement. Another day, it might actually make me sick to my stomach and I question what I’m doing.

    I think everything will have it’s ups and downs…even your passion. My blog goes through phases of inactivity the same way it goes through phases of growth and success.

    David, Scribnia

    • http://www.dmbosstone.com Patrick

      David I wonder if as a person gains more success through their blog they become busier- instead of evangelizing on their blog it’s through interviews, keynotes, and with companies. The blog them that raised their profile becomes more dormant as the work goes from online to offline.

  • Nicole Nejati

    I thought a job in social media would be my dream job, but I was wrong! My day would be a success if there were no twitter fail whales and if Facebook would properly link thumbnails which was not the case 90% of the time. After spending almost 5 out of my 8 hour day on social media websites monitoring client brands I too had suffered from social media fatigue. On the contrary, when I didn’t have a social media job I would be much more inclined to sign on to Facebook and tweet my heart out. When you are representing a company or a client you have to be cognizant of your social media presence, even on your own personal accounts.

    • http://www.dmbosstone.com Patrick

      I have the same problem with those thumbnails! Stupid Facebook API…

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