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April 17, 2008

But, I Don’t Have Time For Social Media…

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It’s lunch time on a random workday. I’m out munching on some delicious chili cheese fries with a colleague and talking excitedly about the latest scoop I just heard via Twitter. [You didn’t invite me to a chili cheese fries lunch!? –Virginia] I’m explaining the who, what, where, when, why and how that just crossed my feed five minutes ago, and I’m checking my phone for updates on the situation. My colleague sighs at me mockingly and says he just doesn’t have time for social media given all that “real” work he has to do for his “real” job. I put my fry down, empty the contents of my water all over his head, and leave him to walk back to the office while I drive back. The dumb can walk. [Glad I wasn’t at that chili cheese fries lunch. –Virginia]

I am completely over the “but, I don’t have time for social media” excuse. You do have time. You do have time if you care about your business and your brand. You just have to get over yourself first.

Listen, I have a job too. And we all have “real” work to get done during a given day. That doesn’t mean you’re too good to be investing time in social media or that social media can’t be used as a time saver. It doesn’t have to suck your day away. Not if you’re using it correctly. Those connected employees you see using sites like Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and Digg aren’t working less than you, they’re working smarter.

The idea of social networking is that it makes your network of friends and followers available to you at a moment’s notice. That means when you need something done, have a question, are looking for a link, or need help pushing something you just wrote, there are people around to immediately help you. This saves time, makes you more efficient and exposes you to viewpoints you may not have had otherwise. It makes you a better employee and your company better informed.

There’s a new thread about Twitter taking place over at LED Digest where Lee Odden asks if Twitter is productive. Adam Audette was quick to jump in and comment on all the ways Twitter has helped him. He says he’s received quotes and link citations, received some additional Sphinn love, and landed a consulting gig because of the site. Shoemoney made similar observations in a recent post on his blog saying that Twitter is the easiest way to get a hold of him and that he’s used it to spread blog posts, grow subscribers, and increase engagement with Twitter trivia contests.

If you’ve played around in LinkedIn lately you’ve seen how important their Answers feature has become. One member asks a questions and then everyone else jumps in to offer advice and insight. The person who provides the best answer gets recognition in their member profile has being an “expert” on that topic. What do you think that kind of incentive system does to the quality of the answers being given? How powerful is that when it comes to branding yourself as an authority in a certain field? How many people do you think go there first looking for advice knowing that they can trust it more than some other UGC site?

The fact is, you do have time for social networking and you’re just too just lazy to realize it. Instead of stopping what you’re doing to drop someone an email, send an instant message, or make a phone call, use one of these social networking sites instead. It’s a smaller time investment and instead of just asking one person and getting their opinion, you’re asking your entire network and benefitting from a multi-viewed perspective.

Is every company suited for social networking? Maybe, maybe not. But plenty are. Social networking has gotten a bad rap as being a great way to spend an eight hour work day, but that’s not entirely fair. The best way to use social media is as a replacement for all that old-time communication you used to do that required sitting on the phone making small talk and actually having to track people down to ask them something.

Look, I don’t have three hours to spend on Facebook either. I can’t allow myself to get drawn into Twitter wars every day. But I know how to use these sites when I need them. There are ways to use social networking to make yourself not less, but more efficient during the day. And all this whining that you or your company is “too busy” for social networking is a bunch of crap. You’re just showing your age and how inflexible you are. You do have time. You just don’t know how to use it correctly. Every time you tell me you don’t have “time” for social media it’s sounding more and more like, “I know it’s important. I’m just lazy”.

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One response to “But, I Don’t Have Time For Social Media…”

  1. James Duthie writes:

    I have actually refrained from the Twitter craze as I’m concerned at the potential ongoing distractions. But at the same time I can see the immense value of constant connectivity.

    I guess it comes down to your personal ability to control your own social media behaviour.



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