From Arlene: A Daily Date with Social Media

From Arlene: A Daily Date with Social Media

From Arlene | Posted by - February 6, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I was watching my grandson the other day on his ipod. It was interesting to me how seamlessly he moved in and out of the world around him to the electronically connected world in his hand. He was able to keep up with the conversations we were having while simultaneously playing a game - a game I am certain I could never attempt to understand or play. For him it was an extension of everything around him, not an intrusion to those trying to communicate with him. Which makes good sense relative to our personal time given the reality of todays connected world. But what about our professional time? Is social media actually intruding on our ability to focus, to be more effective and better aware of the teams we physically work with? Is it actually hindering or even stopping us from collaborating in a way that drives creative solutions and innovative thinking?

It seems to me that the line of professional time and personal interests has become increasingly blurred through social media. Perhaps how we engage with social media in our workday needs to be time managed in order to work more effectively? We are off and on it through our days: looking at updates, sending pictures of what's going on, responding to news and information from friends. We Tweet, Pin, Facebook, Vine, Keek, etc., our way through the day. We don't think twice about going online to shop, connect, chat or browse.

So here's the question: should time for social media in the day be scheduled? Should we become more disciplined about the bites of time we are taking and using it wisely to be effective? Should we take work time to catch up on personal, social time? All interesting questions. I can remember being called out by my boss for being on a personal call at work. I was mortified that I'd been caught and that I somehow was thought of as less than a good employee as a result. Well, times are a changing and today we can no longer qualify what people are doing online - or who they are "talking" to. Yet, it is fair to say that all of those on-line interactions make our lives more informed (sometimes about stuff that is nonsense!) and more interesting because of the stream of content we are exposed to.

I imagine the notion of scheduling social media will spark a great deal of debate. And I'm purposefully not sharing my own opinion, but rather posing questions instead. I'd love to hear what you think about scheduling your social media time during working hours. Should you restrict interactions to the lunch hour? Coffee breaks? Allocate time throughout the day in bits and pieces? Or, who cares as long as the work gets done?

Tags: arlene dickinson, dickinson, blog, debate, discipline, effective, media, personal, professional, schedule, social

Casandra Campbell
February 7, 2013 at 5:43 pm

In general, I say, who cares as long as the work gets down. I prefer to be responsible for my own productivity. As an individual, I know I can very easily fall down the Internet rabbit hole; however, I have found ways of dealing with this and keeping myself accountable. With the systems that I use, I am able to meet my daily goals, while still benefitting from the real-time interaction of social media throughout the day.

I do think there is something to social media and Web 2.0 hindering collaboration and creative thinking. We have amazing access to information whenever we need it, but sometimes I miss the in-depth discussions that can arise out of a single thought or question. Dinner with friends or family is one of my most loved ways of interacting because phones are (hopefully) out of sight. Incredibly insightful conversations can happen when we don't all rush to look something up - though, we probably will later when we get home. That experience is often lacking in the workplace.

Arnold Hugo Stolting
February 7, 2013 at 10:49 pm
If you are a self employed entrepreneur and you scheduled yourself a task filled work day because of some deadlines etc, then restricting social media interactions to lunch hours and coffee breaks might be a good idea, especially when your social media interactions are mainly personal and not related to your tasks at hand. The same is true if you work for an employer and you are expected to "work" instead of socializing online during work hours.

Arlene is right in saying that "the line of professional time and personal interests has become increasingly blurred through social media". I would take it even a step further and say that using social media and texting has become somewhat of an epidemic as it's nearly impossible to stand in your place of work, or on the street, and do a 360 turn without spotting at least one person gazing at their mobile device.

Ok, well... back to work....
Zulubear ~ Annette Young
February 17, 2013 at 11:22 am

Blurred? Is that what has happened to my 'vision'?

Tish Heath
April 6, 2013 at 4:24 pm

I don't think there can be a rule straight across the board.  I read an article about multi-tasking that said nobody can do it, we just do everything a little more poorly when we try.  Interruptions to tasks that require focus can seriously hinder productivity.  If you are sitting around trying to come up with an ideal, social media can be very helpful - you can call for a lifeline & sometimes the answers will trigger the very idea you need.  I frequently put my earplugs in, log out of everything, silence my phone and focus on the task at hand.  'There is a time to keep quiet and a time to speak.'

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