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BLOGSocial Media Sinkholes

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social MediaTagged as: , ,

There are over 500 web sites that have a Social Media angle to them. Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok might be the most familiar, but you may also spend time on eBay, Amazon, Kijiji, and others. In fact, you may be spending so much time on these platforms, that you have little time for anything else. The central question is “how much time is too much time“?

Consider:

1) What is your goal for being there? Is it to grow your business connections, catch up with family, or talk about a hobby? Is it to collaborate with other professionals in your industry, or to gauge the level of “buzz” for your products or services? Or is it simply recreation? Most people just fall into mindlessly surfing, and don’t stop to think about why they are doing it. Once you define your objectives, you can then determine how, and where, they can be met. And how much time it should take.

2) Is there an element of addiction? Most people would never think of themselves as addicted to the Internet or Social Media, but answer two questions: (1) Is it hard to pull yourself away from the activity? and (2) Is it pulling you away from real-life activities and relationships? If either is the case, consider limiting your access to specific times, and scheduling “real-world” activities with others. Setting firm objectives also helps. If you want to test yourself, try going cold-turkey for a week: skip the social media sites for a full seven days, and see what happens.

3) Is distraction a problem? There are far too many online distractions that prevent us from efficiently achieving our goals. Beyond the comments on pictures, “must-see” links from friends on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, there are fascinating updates from those we care about. If you know what you need from a site, be single-minded about it: get in, get what you need, and get out. Ignore all of the eye-candy.

4) The Google Problem: Given the reach and depth of Google, we think that a simple search will answer just about any question. Given the number of Friends, Connections, and Followers that we have, we think that Social Media provides transparent access to relationships. In both cases, at best it is a start. A person’s profile (or a Google search) doesn’t provide access to specialized insight, specific-for-you intelligence, or a strong relationship – real world-interaction does.

THIS WEEK’S ACTION PLAN

As a professional, beware of substituting social media “snacking”, with real relationships with real people. This week, cut any recreational social networking that masquerades as real work, and increase the real people networking that builds your professional network.

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