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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Social Networking or Social Notworking?

OPEN Forum by American Express OPEN

Anita Campbell of Small Business TrendsAnita Campbell of Small Business Trends February 9th, 2009 - 03:53 PM

twitter-waste-time.jpg“How do you make sure you’re networking, instead of notworking?” ...

I think it’s getting harder to know where that line is. With today’s social media — especially sites with lots of interactivity and immediate feedback such as Twitter — you can easily get caught up in chatting and surfing. It’s a constant mental interruption. Before you know it, you’ve squandered a couple of perfectly good hours of prime workday.

For small business owners, entrepreneurs, managers and professionals, it’s become an especially sticky problem. We convince ourselves that online networking is important for marketing. ... However, in the terrestrial world, no business owner does marketing all day long to the exclusion of other activities. ...

My stock answer to the social notworking phenomenon is: “have discipline, set a certain time limit, and know that it’s time to stop.” Some people have no problem setting time limits and sticking to them.

But today’s social sites are so interactive — sites like Twitter and FriendFeed — that the attention and instant response can be addicting. ...

So the question becomes, how do you force yourself to limit your social networking activities?

...I find that it is important to put social networking in the context of business goals. If I set goals, and determine how / what I want social networking and online social activity to achieve, it becomes easier to know when to stop before I waste time — and to actually stop.

Setting goals gives you a clearer sense of purpose to your daily activities, as this quote at the Mindful Source points out:

While listening to a Brian Tracy audio program recently, I was struck by the following words - “You can’t hit a target you cannot see.” ... If you don’t know where you’re headed, how will you ever get there? ...

So start here. Figure out what it is you want and start moving towards it. Spend time today writing about your goals to clarify your thinking. You may be surprised. * * *

... As you begin to crystallize your goals in writing, you will create that “target” for your daily living. Your life will take on far more purpose than before ….”

... Your goals and sense of purpose will guide you in determining what to spend time on each day. But without goals, you’ll soon be adrift, like a boat without a rudder or sails, enjoying the interaction on Twitter, but not getting much done for your business.