Have a Talk with Yourself About Social Media

With all of the banter about whether CEOs should be active on Twitter — I’ve realized that I might need to have a “sit down” with myself about social media. C-Suite executives must carefully consider how they invest and utilize their time on social platforms. So should the rest of us. Not that I fail to see the tremendous value of social networks, obviously I do. I simply would like to pause and reflect on how I am spending my time with social. Is the time spent valuable and productive? I would like to ensure that it absolutely is.

With every innovation — whether a product or process — we search for ways to effectively integrate that change into our lives. It can take a bit of time to assess best fit, as the pendulum usually swings with great momentum toward the innovation, (often with a significant investment in time to master it) and then ultimately swings back in adjustment.

In some cases, with any new piece of technology or system, there is a moment when you might suddenly discover that you’ve had too much of a good thing. (Not unlike the moment when you realized that you’ve had too much coffee or spent too much money.) At that moment, choices need to be made. Your investment needs to be reconsidered. In fact, you might need to become — for lack of a better descriptor —”picky”.

How do we make those difficult choices, to ensure that the time you are devoting is well spent? A set of criteria will help. Of course, that set will vary from person to person. But, here is the start of one:

  • What are the opportunity costs? This is an obvious, yet needed question. What would you be doing with your time, if you were not spending that hour with social media? This trade-off should work for you, not against you.
  • Is your time with social meaningful? When you consider your personal goals, is social media helping you attain them? Are you able to reach the right contacts or customers? Does social help you raise awareness for a cause close to your heart?
  • Does it solve a problem? Is the social platform addressing an issue or need that cannot otherwise be addressed? For example, if you have team members in the field, does a social platform improve communication or work flow?
  • Are we adding value? Ultimately, what we add to the landscape should have value. Are we opening the door to a much needed conversation? Clarifying an issue? Bringing forward an entirely new perspective?
  • Will it help to develop your role or organization? Can the perspective you gain through social, somehow be applied to the betterment of your job, career or current organization? For example, how a crowd sourcing platform, might bring ideas from customers into your organization’s purview.

What are your criteria for making decisions about spending time with social? How will you make these tough choices going forward? I’d love to know.

8 thoughts on “Have a Talk with Yourself About Social Media

  1. Considering everyone I know, NOT ONE has reaped any tangible benefit from social networking sites, but all have flushed too much of their lives down the drain. Before this craze began, people were happier, healthier, and had more free time. They seemed better informed and more able to effortlessly read articles and even books (gasp!), not just Twitter-length postings.

    Here’s a relevant quote:

    “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”
    — Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, quoting someone he termed an “unknown sage” in The Saturday Evening Post article “The World of the Uneducated” (November 28, 1959)

    Admiral Rickover would be grievously disappointed by most Internet discussions: lots of blather about people or trivial events, and rarely discussions about big ideas or solving problems.


  2. I think you’ve made some good points. I’ve seen some fantastic benefits to my business in a relatively short amount of time, but I’ve had to use four social sites, every day, for about 4 months. It can be very time intensive if you do not manage it well. I set very specific time goals for myself and do not budge from my schedule. I also think that there are industries that would get more benefit than others. Good advice. Thank you for posting, Marla!


  3. I think the challenge with online social management is that it takes time and investment to see results. Thus, I see the value of reflection and agree but think we need to be cautious when examining the goals we set and understand the role each platform plays in our objectives. Thanks for the post Marla.


  4. I believe that every prominent person needs to have some sort of public platform where it displays it’s opinion.

    Be it Twitter, Google+ or Facebook, doesn’t really matter. The place where person can reference the news and broadcast something important.


  5. So glad you’ve posted this Marla.

    I’ve been coming to grips with Social Media ROI recently.

    If both time and expectations are not managed, Social Media can become a black hole of effort.

    I now have specific goals for Social Media and, through what I believe to have been a typical learning cycle, my expectations regarding ROI have been “right sized”.

    #SoMe is a great space to have a professional presence, but it must be managed just as closely as any other aspect of our careers.

    All the best. ~Keith


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