Tag Archives: social media etiquette

Social Media Time Management

26 Oct

514845946_7922cff51aWhat’s that sucking sound? It’s the sands of time, the ticking clock and and my unfinished to-do list — all being eaten whole by Facebook, Twitter and my blog. I have succumbed to the time-sink of social media, and I’m all too keenly aware of my addiction. How do people draw the line between true engagement and online time-wasting?

It’s a difficult habit to kick when it partially drives the economic engine of my professional livelihood. Working in public relations, I feed the beasts of my own personal social media presence as well as my agency’s and certain clients.

I was recently asked a question about this on a panel. The question was: How do you find the time to “do” social media for yourself and clients? Doesn’t it take up all of your time?

The answer? It can if you let it. The best way to carve out the time is to set limits on how much time to devote to each social media footprint. The worst thing for me is to leave my time wide open. When I do that, I get caught up in “the zone,” or my “flow” space, where I lose all track of time. This is fairly self-indulgent for me—although it feels good in the moment, I can’t usually afford to let my time evaporate. I’ve got a family to get home to, client deadlines to meet and other normal life to-dos.

I try to spend 30 minutes on each Twitter account per day, 15 each in the morning and the afternoon or evening. With the blog, it’s a couple of hours a week. Just one post a week, usually. And then I’m reading others’ blogs through my reader, usually an hour a day.

Then there’s Facebook. How much sharing is enough, really? I try to limit myself to sharing just a few items per day of others’ content, with a couple of status updates and/or content of my own. This one is my real weakness, because I pore through information obsessively and tend to think that everyone should also ready the cool stuff I’ve come upon. This is where I have to reign myself in and exercise some judgment about not oversharing.

There are people I’ve friended that I filter out of my feed because they are constantly putting up stuff from third-party sources. To me, that’s as bad as someone telling me the minute details of their life second by second. Get original. Have your own thoughts and insights.

It does add up, all told. At least 10 hours a week for myself, probably another 15 or so for work-related items. When examined like this, the opportunity cost of social media becomes more stark. What real-life experiences am I missing due to social media interactions? How much outside time am I sacrificing?

What are others’ experiences? Amber Naslund, Director of Community at Radian6,  just put up a good post about time management in the midst of social media. Bottom line, it’s about knowing one’s goals and setting priorities aligned with them. She shares helpful information to guide social media priorities.

For me, it’s all about the balance. Easy to write about, not easy to strike!

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Corporate Twitterer: Mascot, Spokesperson, Teacher

14 Oct

stringphonehj1For several months now, I have been the woman behind the curtain of my company’s Twitter presence. Every day, I put up several tweets, and since we began tweeting we’ve organically built a base of 1,000 followers. That’s several million less than Ashton Kutcher, for the record. But our enterprise is more about quality than quantity, so we’re in no hurry to get there.

Being the designated twitterer has been illuminating. There are several keys:

  • Tweets demonstrate the company’s values and culture, adding content of value to the conversation.
  • Retweets are within industry and share helpful information to broaden the minds of our followers.
  • Mentions call out other respected thought leaders within the industry.

In short, serving this role has me behaving somewhat like a combination of mascot, company spokesperson and teacher. Mascot, because I am “in costume,” behind the walls of Twitter, not posting my own individual thoughts but engaging as the Twitteresque embodiment of our company’s unique combination of offerings. Spokesperson, because I am serving up the company’s thoughts and opinion. And teacher, because I am providing a curriculum of sorts for our followers, through which they engage back with the company to provide shared content.

We’ve stayed away from prescheduled, automated tweeting, believing instead in the power of real-time, I’m really here interaction. Our belief is that our authenticity and credibility are built on our actual presence in the space, to build our reputation and engage with our customers.

Next time you visit your favorite brand on Twitter, say hello to the Twitterer behind the curtain. You might be surprised by the conversation.

More on Manners: SMetiquette

13 Sep

Judging from the traffic to this little blog, people like to read about manners. And they like to read about social media. This post is dedicated to a topic that I will call “SMetiquette,” or etiquette for social media.

Whether you’re just starting to use social media or have been out there as an “expert,” everyone can use a little reflection on proper adult ways to interact through Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.

Here are some thoughts, based on what I’ve seen on the business and life sides, for what works and what doesn’t:

  1. DO share. Giving of your true self—including your thoughts, opinions, contributed content of all sorts—supports the social media ethics of authenticity and mutuality. Holding back, by only showing your business perspective and approaching social media simply as a way to make money, will not get you anywhere.
  2. DO be there. Now. But not 24 hours a day. If you are out there on Twitter all the time, then I’m going to think that you are lurking, at best, and stalking, at worst. That’s just weird. A few times a day is fine, but realize that your posts should be reflecting what you are learning about living life—which is not the same thing as being online all the time. Go out there and be offline to enrich your life, PLEASE! But when you are online, by responding to my posts and being fully engaged, I count you as a valuable contributor in the conversation. This is why I’m not a fan of automated posting through the variety of tools that are out there to support the omnipresent ideal. If it’s not really YOU out there putting up the post, it looks to me like you are not committed to genuine interaction.
  3. DO know when it’s time to DM or chat, or just plain talk in person. Everybody doesn’t need to see all of the back and forth—or inside jokes—that you think are hilarious. Use some judgment and take the conversation away from Everybody mode when it gets to a certain point.
  4. DON’T auto-DM or self-promote. If you do this when I follow you, I’m apt to promptly unfollow you. If you are just looking to drive traffic to your blog or Web site, I will care about you much less than I used to. It’s just rude and is the social media equivalent of jumping up and down or doing the “ooh-ooh” pick me thing that Arnold Horshack did on Welcome Back, Kotter. Looks and is desperate for attention.

This is by no means a comprehensive listing, but it should get you well on your way to being an appreciated contributor and practitioner of good SMetiquette.

Social Media Musings

13 Aug

This summer has been an interesting set of firsts for me in social media:

  • I got my first “commercial” offer on the blog–an incentive to run a contest. Gratifying to get asked to help promote a publication as lofty as Harvard Business Review.
  • Just a few weeks ago, I friended my mom on Facebook. It’s been interesting. She will not let me help her to post a picture of herself, but she was very interested in joining the fan page for Elvis and her church. She’s a bit lonely out there right now. I don’t think that there are many septuagenarians on Facebook. But my mom is not afraid to try new things, and I am quite proud of her.
  • I made the decision to “defriend” some people on Facebook who don’t interact with me anyway, in person or online. I am all about having quality interaction with the people that share back with me—not those who share nothing or just include me in push messaging that I’m not interested in. Life is too short to waste time. This defriending lightened my load in terms of friends but gives me more time to read and enjoy content from people where the friending is reciprocated. In case I accidentally deleted someone who really does matter to me, I made sure to let folks know that they should give me a shout to refriend–just as a safety net.

Nothing revolutionary here. Just some social media musings.

Snake Oil in the Social Mediasphere

13 Jul

imagesSo many self-proclaimed social media gurus are full of it. They confuse quantity with quality, and juvenile behavior with “authenticity.” Use of social media does not equal expertise in leveraging the medium for business purposes.

These days, there’s a fair dose of snake oil being peddled by people seeking to make a profit. Business advisors encouraging companies to hire a  “social media expert” lead to further confusion, setting aside real strategic decision-making for reactive jumping-on-the-bandwagon.

Just because someone’s using social media doesn’t make them a go-to for solving business problems. This is like saying that because a person can dial the telephone and talk with every friend in an afternoon that they are an expert in sales. It just doesn’t work that way.

Here are four recommendations for identifying a purveyor of social media snake oil:

  1. Take a look at their design aesthetic. Is the color palette of their blog reminiscent of the choices you would have made as a teenager? Just because you can make your blog header bright pink doesn’t mean that you should. Appearances do matter, and this is a signal that they are not playing to a business demographic. Taste is not something we’re all born with. Most of us develop it over time, through trial and error.
  2. Read their blog. Does it include self-promotional and narcissistic photos and a minimum of useful content, primarily focused on their drinking exploits? Is there a preponderance of lol, omg and cul8r? This is self-absorption that they’ll mature out of, but you probably don’t have time to observe the process of growing up. Let them interact with the newbies in the industry and pay their dues before they get credit for being a “guru.” Experience counts. Come back in 5-10 years.
  3. How much content do their tweets deliver? If they are mainly flirting with people or trash-talking with friends, this is another reason to filter them out. Sharing information is key on social media, but being mindful of what’s worth sharing is the “twetiquette” to live by. Some do not switch gears to DMs when a one-on-one conversation is started on Twitter, and that’s a shame. Knowing when to go off-line or on a private line is a judgment easy to make and honestly appreciated by the Twitterverse. A high frequency of  tweets does not get one access to the ranks of the Twitterati.
  4. Is their point of view “authentic” in a style that can be converted to play in a business setting? The beauty of social media is each individual’s ability to establish a uniquely authentic voice. Just as all voices are not welcome at the board table, not all social media voices are worth tuning into for business purposes. Being authentic in the business world probably does not include over-use of emoticons, IM abbreviations or stream-of-consciousness chatter. High-quality tweets consolidate big ideas, embedded in tiny urls and spartanly precise word choice. They are mini-headlines that when mined open new worlds for the reader.

Remember, there’s a “me” in social media, but it comes after the “social”–meaning that awareness of social standards is still good sense and good business.

Alsop’s Law Six: Compelling Vision (aka Pizza Surprise)

26 Apr

Most organizations spend precious time writing vision statements, but few hit the nail on the head. Ronald Alsop’s The 18 Immutable Laws of Corporate Reputation explores the connection between compelling vision and reputation in Law Six.

A vision statement should be aspirational, with a five to ten-year horizon. It should evoke an image of what can or will be, as a result of the work of a corporation or entity. As Alsop describes, there is a certain amount of poetry involved in setting visions, but the words must be jargon-free and substantively embody your organizational goals.

Interestingly, Alsop cites Domino‘s as one of the vision statements that’s pithy and on-target:

To be the best pizza delivery company in the world.

images-1A recent Deloitte paper compliments Domino’s vision and even states that “everyone is expected to know exactly how their job fits in to the company’s mission.” By now, everyone knows that at least two of the company’s employees were either unaware or didn’t bother to buy into it.

Here‘s an ABC story about the incident that has raised new questions about how companies can preserve their reputations despite employee faux pas via social media.

Domino’s took quick and decisive action in this situation, and they are to be praised. The company invested in a “listening post” so they could pay attention to social media that could damage their corporate reputation. Once the problem was identified and isolated in terms of location, their reaction was immediate and left nothing to chance. They closed the location, had everything sanitized and let go the two employees in question. The Domino’s spokesperson appeared on YouTube and commented head-on that the situation ran so counter to the company’s standards that it was downright distasteful.

Pizza surprise, indeed.

The Human Touch

3 Jan

There’s a curious sense of immediate gratification that comes from social media like blogging, Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook. A sense of having truly done something. Something that many people will see, which gives that something even more validation. It’s addictive. But can that sense of accomplishment be trusted?

Upon having posted something, people who’ve been vetted by me, have vetted me, or both, respond to that something. I wait for their reaction, intentionally or not, and get a sense of recognition and approval for having been noticed. But how genuine is this social media-driven relationship? Just because you comment on my blog, or you have friended me in Facebook, is there true quality in our engagement as human beings?

It’s intriguing how technology is changing interpersonal etiquette. Ten years ago, it was rude to talk on the phone at the grocery. Now, it’s generally accepted to simultaneously be having dinner with friends and monitoring various conversations on Twitter and Facebook via iPhone. At what point do we cross the line between the value of face-to-face interaction and the value of technology driven “friendships?” As human beings, do we have the bandwidth to manage hundreds or thousands of “friends” or “followers” — and should it be a priority to do so? There have been studies on the fallacies of multi-tasking. I think we’re in similar territory here.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the benefits of technology and social media–immediacy of information from trusted sources, interconnection capability with industry experts and peers and flattening of the world in a way that provides access for many minds to cooperatively build solutions. And more.

But I wonder, how do our most cherished human relationships suffer as a result of social media over-usage? As humans, we thrive on intimacy of relationship, with family, friends and associates. Much of this involves hugs or high-fives to celebrate, or a shoulder to cry on when it’s time to give support. These are tactile experiences. Much as we try to replicate them via interactive technology–witness the Wii or video conferencing–it’s not the same if it’s not “in person.”

My prediction for 2009: The challenge for social media evangelizers and technology gurus will be in finding a balance, a way to engage in social media that enhances and doesn’t replace true human engagement.  We still need the human touch, probably more than ever. And better ways to manage our “virtual” lives, so that our in-the-moment personal time makes a difference, in a way that we can sense–not simulate.