I’m not convinced by this. Here’s my take on social media: use it for fun and if anything else happens like work offers, great. If nothing else happens, you still had fun.
Plus, this stuff is fun. There is a reason why so many of us are drawn to it and then find it hard to break the habit and the reason is that is fun. If you haven’t used any social media then it seems daunting, but then the next thing you know you are watching for those Likes on Facebook or those retweets on Twitter.
Different social media networks suit different people and also we change. I lived in Twitter for a long time but now I’m more a Facebook user. No reason. Some people love LinkedIn though the rest of us wonder why.
So use it and don’t feel guilty about it. But writer Julie Schwietert Collazo argues that we should use it more and she gives several reasons. Here’s the one that leaps out the most:
I get work on social
If you’re still skeptical about spending more time on social, consider this: At least $12,000 of my 2014 income can be directly attributed to work I landed via social media contacts. And that work consists of a variety of assignments, from a translating project I got through a Facebook group that netted $8,000 to an $800 article for an in-flight magazine I was able to write after a friend who follows me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram made a referral.
I’ve found that finding work on social networks is relatively simple and doesn’t involve any of the “strategies” that make so many writers want to bail on social media. I follow and engage with editors on Twitter, join professional interests groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, and generally just try to be transparent about my needs to followers and friends on all my platforms.
Spending time on social doesn’t mean you have to constantly “brand” yourself. If you make an effort to tune out some of that digital noise and focus on bring productive, social media won’t seem like a guilty pleasure or a time-suck. My life is enriched just as much by online relationships as it is by those offline. And for that reason, I’ll be spending as much time online in 2015 as I did in 2014.
But this time, I just couldn’t get the words of a friend out of my head: “Haven’t you ever used LinkedIn to get work?” he’d said. “I just bang out a few mails to connections and—boom!—something always comes up.”
I’ll be honest: I was baffled. Don’t get me wrong—when it comes to LinkedIn, I was a pretty early adopter and trundled past the all-important 500+ connections barrier a while ago. But for me, LinkedIn has only ever been an accessory, a place for potential clients to see I really exist and then, bowled over by the riotous trumpetings of my gold-plated CV, hire me for assignments. Could LinkedIn be more than just a fancy shop window for freelancers?
It’s possible that you cannot clear any time in your day to do nothing. It’s entirely possible. But Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, says he does precisely this and that it is a boon for him.
If you were to see my calendar, you’d probably notice a host of time slots greyed out but with no indication of what’s going on. There is no problem with my Outlook or printer. The grey sections reflect “buffers,” or time periods I’ve purposely kept clear of meetings.
In aggregate, I schedule between 90 minutes and two hours of these buffers every day (broken down into 30- to 90-minute blocks). It’s a system I developed over the last several years in response to a schedule that was becoming so jammed with back-to-back meetings that I had little time left to process what was going on around me or just think.
At first, these buffers felt like indulgences. I could have been using the time to catch up on meetings I had pushed out or said “no” to. But over time I realized not only were these breaks important, they were absolutely necessary in order for me to do my job.
It’s still not out in the UK so you’ll just have to trust me here, but there is this iPhone app called Refresh which parses your calendar and prompts you with conversation starters for people you’re about to meet.
Refresh is very clever and it seems supernatural how it combs sources like LinkedIn to present its information. But as well as the fact that I will never use its suggested conversation openers – I prefer “Hello” to “Say, weren’t you on holiday in Marakesh from 16 July to 18 August?” – there are oddities. And these oddities keep reminding you of how Refresh is sitting on the very line between useful and creepy.
It’s meant to prompt you before a meeting and it does so, but not always. I forgot that I still had it after reviewing the app. Until one day, two months later, it pinged with details of the woman I was meeting to discuss a writing project. I showed her what it said and she revealed that it was all wrong: she had purposely lied on LinkedIn and Facebook in order to defeat this kind of thing.
But then I had a meeting right after that and Refresh didn’t do anything. But then I had a third meeting and it pinged.
A few weeks later, I was going to an event I’d produced and it pinged with what it called a dossier about a particular someone else who was going. That was freaky-plus because my calendar just had the event name and there was nothing I could see that named her – and didn’t name half a dozen other people that Refresh was ignoring.
But still, you know, even though I could just delete it and walk away, I am drawn back to it. There is something so smart about what it does that I’m fascinated at the algorithm. Plus, it gave me the name of someone’s partner and I’d forgotten it. So thank you, Refresh.
Except, last night I got something new. Have a look, see what you think. Is this what I was really doing last night?
Last month, as you might have heard, I started a new job.
That’s Angela Ahrendts, previously world famous (in the retail and business world) for being the CEO of Burberry. I hadn’t even heard of Burberry. Now she’s world famous (in the computing world as well as retail and business) for being the new Senior Vice President of Apple Retail. If you don’t happen to know who runs what in Apple, I commend you on your excellent life choices. But this is an interesting position because it’s been done so extraordinarily well that it transformed Apple into the success it is – and it’s been done so badly that there were visible dents in that success.
Now Ahrendts is in charge and everything I read impresses me. But today what I read is nothing to do with Apple, it’s her writing on LinkedIn about what it is like taking a very big change in one’s employer or one’s career.
I am by no means an expert at these transitions, but I’ve always tried to be consistent in how I run, exit and begin in a new business. I thought I would share a few professional and personal insights which are helping me adapt to a new sector, culture and country. (Silicon Valley can feel like a country unto itself!)
…Also, trust your instincts and emotions. Let them guide you in every situation; they will not fail you. Never will your objectivity be as clear or your instincts sharper than in the first 30-90 days. Cherish this time and fight the urge to overthink. Real human dialogue and interaction where you can feel and be felt will be invaluable as your vision, enabled by your instincts, becomes clearer. In honor of the great American poet Maya Angelou, always remember, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I would argue this is even more important in the early days.
I’m sorry, I don’t understand the headline. What’s Sunday?
Over on LinkedIn, Ilya Pozin – who gets a special badge marked ‘Influencer’, I think it’s like being a prefect – argues reasonably persuasively that Sundays are useful for work:
Sundays aren’t just for rest and recuperation. When used wisely, they’re actually the perfect way to start your week with a bang.
Mondays often feel like a catch-up day from the weekend. There’s usually a full inbox and things that need your immediate attention as soon as you walk into the office. To avoid this productivity-killing situation, I schedule some time for work every Sunday to get my week started with a clean slate.
I say he’s reasonably persuasive because if he were very persuasive I’d be working now. As it is, you can choose to read this as persuasive, you can choose to read it as inspirational and then on top of that you can have the extra choice of whether you’re going to get up this morning or just stay right where you are.