3 Adages to Keep Your Social Media Sanity

Talk about being caught between a podcast and an iPad!  What’s an old broad to do?  I was recently talking to some friends who were lauding the fact that they didn’t participate in the “online time-wasters” they considered social media to be… and it got me thinking about this digital divide. There are many (of a certain age) who think of themselves as savvy business people, yet they ignore an entire set of tools that may help them exponentially. Here’s my take – three simple adages that will keep your social media sane:

ADAGE 1: What we resist, persists.

Many of my peers are just plain resistant to change.  They don’t have a Facebook page, LinkedIn profile or Twitter handle, and are proud of it. Instagram, Skype and Google+ aren’t even part of their vocabularies.  The truth is, that’s not a problem… as long as their target audiences aren’t there, either. But if they are at all interested in engaging, educating or influencing others in terms of business, I suggest they must begin to at least “audit” these tools of engagement. It’s their responsibility; whether they like it or not. Change is tough at the beginning, messy in the middle, but worth it in the end.  By auditing the tools, they can determine if they see opportunity. If they jump in without doing so, they are likely to continue to see social media tools as time waters.

ADAGE 2: Self discipline is crucial.

I could EASILY spend half a day looking at photos of my sister’s twins on Facebook, viewing my many endorsements on LinkedIn (thank you!), checking Twitter to make sure my daughter’s not tweeting anything embarrassing… but, hey, I’ve got REAL work to do.  Clients to answer, decisions to make, deadlines to meet.  The reason I take time to update, review and connect on Social Media is because my clients (and future clients) are there. It’s a great way for them to get to know how I think; and to get a preview of what working with me is like.  Therefore, it’s critical to determine how much time is necessary to spend on a daily/weekly basis prior to engaging your digital tools.  Otherwise, Social Media can be as addicting as Red Bull, and again, the non-users will just find reasons to continue to believe they are right.

ADAGE 3: Reputation isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.

Several years ago my daughter said something that has continued to stick with me.  We were talking about the pervasive transparency social media has enabled between people’s personal and professional lives. She said, “You have to decide if you want to be President by the time you’re about 8 years old, otherwise you might make a mistake in high school or college or something, and your chance will be gone”.  Kinda sad, but kinda true. As I began to stress to her how important her reputation is and how she needs to value and protect it, I was struck by the fact that I was repeating the same words my father said to me when I was little more than her age. Obviously, he wasn’t talking about Facebook or Twitter, but the lesson was clear. Don’t do, say, or write anything you wouldn’t be proud of having your grandmother see, hear, or read.

In fact, looking back at these three key adages, I realize they are ALL more of “life lessons” than they are digital ones. Just goes to show you, no matter how old you are, the more things change…

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