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Date Posted: September 14th, 2011 (12:32pm)

I wanted to continue my discussion from the last blog of the impact of social media on our lives. As most of you know, I spend many hours a day in front of my computer in my home office. I've had a fairly workaholic approach the last few years ever since I switched from owning an art gallery and sculpture garden to my online poker work first with CardRunners, then Poker Curious, and now at the various sites I contribute.

Spending so many hours at the computer has kept me in tune with all the key poker industry information to support my work, but it has come at a cost. Working seven days a week has taken its toll. My marriage and family life has suffered as I tried to find the right balance of how much I live online and how much I live with them. Fortunately, I can report that the balance has been improving for a while now.

My current employer inadvertently assisted in that process by cutting back my compensation, thus giving less incentive to give so much of myself for work. I started taking weekends off and that has been a necessary boon to allow my mental battery to recharge for the upcoming week. More recently, I have been cut back again giving significant time and flexibility for family time which has been great with my active soccer and ballet schedules of my children, but forcing me to hustle to find new opportunities.

The risk to having a lot of time away from work is experiencing a feeling of detachment and disconnection when you return as the social media world never stops moving. There are some steps you can take to shift the balance:

Connection - I have primarily used my desktop and modem to remain connected. This week I decided it was time to purchase a device that can keep me in touch when I spend increasing amounts of time away from the home office. I bought an android phone, the Motorola Atrix. It has dual core processor and a good hardware package that should have good longevity despite not having industry leading software with Motoblur. I'm hoping that Google's purchase of Motorola will have a positive impact on their phone hardware and software. It will take me some time to get things configured just right with the right apps and widgets to efficiently use my new tool, but I'm excited for that new option.

Consult - I've spoken to a few poker industry leaders who have shared their issues with managing their online vs. offline time and how to manage it best. When you don't have all the answers it always helps to consult others you respect around you.

Research - I don't come into the social media realm as an expert or someone with tons of experience. But like with anything simply applying yourself to a new priority can do wonders. In today's world of just about any information at our finger tips, there is never a major impediment to quickly learning something new.

To that effect, I've been keeping an eye out for more pertinent social media information. @darrenrovell and his team of Twitter posters shared a link Tuesday to the third quarter analysis of social media's impact according to the respected information company Nielsen.

Here are some key figures from the Nielsen report:

80% of active U.S. Internet users are reached by social networks and blogs

60% of people who use three or more digital means of research for product purchases learned about a specific brand or retailer from a social networking site. 48% of these consumers responded to a retailer's offer posted on Facebook or Twitter.

Almost 40% of social media users access social media content from their mobile phone.

53% of active adult social networkers follow a brand, whereas 32% follow a celebrity.

70% of active online adult social networkers shop online, 12% higher than the average adult internet user.

Surprisingly, Internet users over the age of 55 are driving the growth of social networking through the Mobile Internet.

Facebook blows away all competitors for how much time is spent on their site with over three times as much as their nearest competitor Yahoo.

97% of people access social media via their computer while 37% access social media services via their mobile phone.

After GPS services, social networking is rated as the next most valued feature on your phone, ahead of download/play music, and web browsing. Social networking comes third after games and weather in category of apps downloaded.

The impact of active social media types is profound in an offline world.

They are:

45% more likely to go on a date
75% more likely to be heavy spenders on music
26% more likely to give their opinions on politics/current events
19% more likely to attend a professional sporting event
18% more likely to work out at a gym/health club
47% more likely to be a heavy spender on clothing/shoes/accessories

There is a tremendous amount of fascinating data out there regarding the impact of social media on our lives. I will continue to do some research and pass along any interesting tidbits I find.

Until then, stay connected and balanced.

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