There’s a drinks company in Europe that has the slogan “nothing added but time”.  The inference of course being that time, is the most valuable element of all.

Time, it could be argued, is the single most important element when considering the impact of Web 2.0.

Time is scarce and incredibly valuable, and as our world continues to move more quickly it is becoming more valuable every day.

This is a theme, Neville discussed in last Friday’s For Immediate Release podcast (which has now passed the 250 mark – so Shel and Neville clearly have some secret sauce when it comes to time management).

I don’t know about you, but for me effective time management is becoming the most valuable skill of all.

The world of “social media”, “Web 2.0” etc. is creating new issues and this is where we need to start looking at the realities of the growth of online media.

For example, if you haven’t already read Brian Solis’ post on new media, I recommend it. Also take some time to check out Trevor Cook‘s updated paper on Social Media.

The thing that strikes me from reading both is the volume.  There’s more and more “stuff”. In addition, much of this “stuff” doesn’t replace what we already have, instead its an adjunct.

My problem is that there’s a hard limit on how much more I can do.  There are only a limited number of minutes in the day.  I have a day job and a family.

Unless something is interesting, compelling or essential, it’s not going to weasle it’s way into an already full schedule.

That’s why I maintain we are at the early stages of this move online.  A lot of these tools and services will die/change.  And while I think you should absolutely dabble and explore, unless it’s key to your professional life, I’d take the pragmatic root.

Look at social networking.  There’s loads of activity on Facebook (at the moment) so it’s worth keeping an eye on. LinkedIn, a much maligned service, is useful because it’s low maintenance. Although they’d love you to tinker with it and spam the world with invites, the reality is that set up is easy and you get alerted when one of your contacts changes jobs etc.  That’s very useful.

Myspace/Bebo etc.  well I’m a long time out of college. The reality is that I am incredibly selective where I invest my time.

I read RSS feeds, I read blogs, listen to (the odd) podcast, I tinker on Facebook for a few minutes here and there, post to Twitter once in every second blue moon and read updates from LinkedIn. Oh and the OnlinePR social network which now has over 50 members!

But I have hard limits.

I have always preached a pragmatic, don’t drink the Kool Aid approach.  No change there.  But with time becoming an even more valuable asset, decisions on investing it, become vital.

Social media, Web 2.0 will become more important – and in all probability will become a core part of your Public Relations jobs – but be careful how you engage with it.

Social media – there’s nothing to invest by time… 🙂