Today, I read Janice Billman’s article on Huffington Post asking if “social media is sucking the life out of you.” In her article, Ms. Billman declares that she hates social media and that it is an anti-social waste of time.
Now, it is true, social media can take up a great deal of your time. But, like anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it and it became instantly clear the reason Ms. Billman hates it so much is that she is putting the wrong things into it.
A good example is how Billman explains that “all hell broke loose” when someone invited her to play Candy Crush and that the game goes on forever, creates shallow friend engagement and took over her life.
Well, Ms. Billman, I have been on Facebook for many years and you know how I avoid wasting time on Candy Crush? I don’t play it. I never have.
Just because someone invites you to play a time-wasting game doesn’t mean you must accept. And, what’s shallow is you blaming the medium for your decision to waste your own time.
She also complains that there is no “real connection” with people other than “like-ing” the same movie or music. Once again, you have the option to do more than just “like” something on Facebook (and every other social platform). You can comment, discuss and engage in the real conversation that seems to elude her.
Facebook, in fact, can be a great way to connect with like-minded people who are interested in what you are sharing, selling or promoting. If you focus your energy on building real connections with people around the problems your business solves, you will create real engagement. Or, you can keep smashing pieces of candy. It’s up to you.
Ms. Billman explains that she signed up for a Twitter account because someone told her she needed it for business, but she hasn’t used it and doesn’t know how. That’s fine, you aren’t expected to understand how to use a service instantly. But, to claim that it is useless simply because you don’t understand it is shortsighted, to say the least.
She also complains that your social media presence tells people an awful lot about you and warns job seekers, “judgments will be made on whether or they want you to be a representative of their company” based on what you share online.
Once again, it seems Ms. Billman is only seeing the half-empty glass here.
Consider that yes, what you do and say in social media tells people a lot about you, including your successes, your knowledge, your experience and your expertise. Ms. Billman seems to miss the point that social media lets YOU create and control your own image for the public.
I repeat: you get out of it what you put into it.
Ultimately, Ms. Billman laments that a social media presence is a must for any small business (which it is) and yet she clearly hasn’t taken the time to learn how to harness the power of the medium to drive success.
If the time you spend in social media is valuable; if you have something useful to say then you can use social media to directly connect with millions of people who share your interests and need your products or services. Case in point – although I regularly read HuffPo, I found Ms. Billman’s article on LinkedIn, where it was being shared and discussed by social media marketers like myself.
Social media CAN be a huge time waster. Or, it can be a lead generator, a sales funnel and a source of knowledge and networking. The choice is yours.
And, Ms. Billman, if you choose to learn how to do it right and would like some training in social media marketing and engagement, give me a call, or email me jennifer (at) andersonjonespr (dot) com or Tweet me @JonesyJen.