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Where Would You Be Today Without Social Media Tools?

Where Would You Be Today Without Social Media Tools?

Where Would You Be Today Without Social Media Tools?

    Social media is becoming completely integrated in our lives.  It has altered the way we communicate as human beings

      and changed the way we do business.  It has flattened corporate hierarchies and tightened our relationships.  Of course, traditional ways of networking and messaging still hold true, such as text messaging, email, phone calls and in-person “meetups” (tweetups in the social media world).  The greatest part about this technological alteration is that you get to choose which social networks you want to participate in, how much time you spend per week engaging with others and what your career aspirations are (and how these tools can get you from point A to B).  The decision is yours and the power is in your hands. From a business standpoint, social media tools are free advertising and allow you to target and measure the impact of marketing programs.  From the individual perspective, these tools can literally regulate your day-to-day operations and routines.

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      What social media tools are there?

        There is a social media tool to satisfy every type of person.  Of course, there are the industry titans such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and YouTube.  There are others that are still commonly used and well-known, such as Delicious, Stumbleupon, Digg, Reddit, and Flickr.  These tools can help you regulate your life if they are paired together.  For instance, I use Google reader in combination with Delicious to sort through articles and save my favorite ones.  From there, I can link to those saved articles on my blog or push them out through Twitter.

        Our habits have changed because of the social revolution/evolution. I bet you wake up each morning and check your RSS feeds instead of navigating through the WSJ or Us Weekly.  What’s the point of going to all these sites, when the information can travel right to your “doorstep.”  In some ways, social media has made us lazier, yet it has made us more productive simultaneously.  If you have a question you want answered, all it takes it one tweet.  Twitter has become the ultimate customer service machine (ask Comcast or GoDaddy).

        Need to book a flight, peruse reviews of destinations and mingle with fellow travelers, then join travbuddy.com.  Do you go to Church?  Yes, there’s even a social network for people who go to Church.  For all you knitters and crocheters out there, there is a social network for you at ravelry.com.  You can manage and live your entire life online now with all of these tools.  Of course, I would recommend that you get out there and meet people because reality always trumps virtual reality.

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        What the experts are saying

          After speaking to a diverse group of social media experts, I’ve come to a few major conclusions.  The first is that social media has enabled us to connect to many people across the world, without much effort.  Without that level of connectivity, it’s harder to make new friends and keep in touch with previous acquaintances.

          Also, the feelings and emotions that these bloggers get from participating in social media keeps them active.  When you take away these social tools, it hurts productivity and it simply makes life a lot more dull.  Your life is made up of relationships that you grow like plants and when they blossom, new opportunities surface. Social media tools create an environment where you can develop more relationships, with people who have common interests.  If you don’t believe me, then here’s what the experts say:

          “A social media free Web would be quieter and less fun – more about finding information than it would be about gaining and nurturing relationships, forcing us to find digital connections, instead of personal connections, to achieve our goal.”

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          “Without the help of social media I would probably not have connected with so many people or gotten a whiff of so many exciting ideas and opportunities.”

          “I would be 20% more productive but have 20% less friends!”

          “Instead of fun-filled moments connecting with friends, downtime would be sadly predictable and stunningly boring.”

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          “Without social media tools, I would be doing one of two things:  A) sitting at my desk, listening to crickets chirp, waiting for my phone to ring or B) watching my small children cry after me as I headed to the airport once again, to do face-to-face consulting.”

          “Without social media I’d be relegated to doing business one phone call at a time, one e-mail at a time and one deal at a time. It provides an exponentially flowing opportunity to reach thousands in an instant, while adding a human element.”

          “Without social media tools, I’d feel like the anchor on local TV news, simply broadcasting the news rather than interacting and building community around it.”

          “Without social media I’d have a less geographically diverse group of friends, but also a tighter circle of really good friends locally.”

          Now it’s your turn!

          You’ve heard from me and some well-known social media experts.  It’s your turn to think hard about what social media tools have done for you. How might life be different right now without them?  Could you live without your Facebook profile and friends?  What would you resort to?  Would you be sending more emails or calling your friends more?  Remember that you can always unplug…

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          The Gentle Art of Saying No

          The Gentle Art of Saying No

          No!

          It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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          But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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          What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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          But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

          1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
          2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
          3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
          4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
          5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
          6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
          7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
          8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
          9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
          10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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