It's been said that employees engaging in social media while at work cost the U.S. economy $650 billion a year in lost productivity. That's $4,452 per company, and it doesn't even factor in the economic losses from plain, old Web surfing. Throw that into the mix, and good lordy: No wonder the economy has been sputtering along since, oh, the dawn of Facebook and Reddit.
But what the economists can't factor into their balance sheet is the intrinsic value of the Web. Sure, it's a great place to goof off on the company dime. But it's also the first place we turn to these days to interact with each other and stay informed.
Over the past month, Riverfront Times has had the pleasure of spending hundreds of hours dawdling in the St. Louis online community for this year's RFT Web Awards. And we've got to say, it hardly felt like a waste of time. We uncovered dozens of smart and well-researched blogs, a vibrant and engaged social-media network and too many compelling online personas to list in these pages.
Here, in no certain order, are some of the finds that our judges deemed to be worth your time (or your employer's) to check out.— Chad Garrison
Meet The Judges
Stacy Anderson (@StacyELTblog) is a social worker and freelance food writer whose site, everylittlethingblog.com, is a previous RFT Web Awards winner for Best Food Blog.
Ryan Brockschmitt (@PtTheIslander) spends his days leasing apartments and his off time maintaining ilovesoulard.com, winner of Best Neighborhood Blog for the 2012 RFT Web Awards.
Jessica Leitch (@JessLeitch) works in marketing and loves travel, red lipstick and baking pies. Last year her site, City in a Jar, took home an RFT Web Award for Best Personal Blog.
Chris Naffziger (@Naffziger) is an art and architectural historian and the author and photographer behind St. Louis Patina, named Best Architecture Blog in the 2012 RFT Web Awards.
Jenna Petroff (@JennaPet) is the public-relations and social-media manager for Hardee's and a board member of Social Media Club – St. Louis.
Chris Reimer (@RizzoTees) Reimer is vice president of social media at Falk Harrison and a two-time RFT Web Awards winner for Best Twitterer and Best Use of Social Media for a Civic Campaign.
Brian Schwartz (@CreativeReason) spends his days (and nights) as CEO of marketing technology start-up BarrelFish and is still active as cofounder of Spoke Marketing.
Matt Sebek (@MattSebek) is the editor of joesportsfan.com and host of the weekly JoeSportsFan Show, a Top 100 podcast on iTunes. He is the winner of the 2012 RFT Web Award for Funniest Twitter Feed.
Michael Tomko (@MichaelTomko) is a Web developer, musician and producer of the annual concert series An Under Cover Weekend.
Chris Ward (@WardCrap) is the marketing and communications director for KDHX (88.1 FM) and a freelance music writer.
Allison Babka (@AMBabka) is a freelance ad copy writer and a social-media strategist for nonprofits. She's also a frequent freelancer for the music section of Riverfront Times and author of the paper's karaoke advice column.
Chad Garrison (@ChadGarrison) is the managing editor of the Riverfront Times and frequent contributor to the paper's news blog, dailyrft.com.