Why switch social media off when you leave the office?

This week has been that time when the part-time users of social media have “turned it back on” after their Christmas break. I find this quite annoying, mainly because it means that those of us who don’t turn it off get inundated with stuff which is new to the part-timers, but is pretty old-hat to the rest of us.

It’s annoying, but I also think it misses the point. Social Media is changing the world. It’s changing the way we communicate, and it is changing the world of work. For me, it is changing the world of work much for the better. Gradually, more people are seeing the benefits of expressing their real personalities at work, and those who have public faces which are different to their personal attitudes can now be found out and dismissed as the fakes they are. Switching social media on and off when you enter and leave work, shows that you still haven’t woken up to this reality. You are a real person, why not show it? If you can’t trust yourself to use social media when you are away from your desk, you need a long hard think about yourself.

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13 thoughts on “Why switch social media off when you leave the office?

  1. The point made in your first para is a daily event for most of us who are online early (or in a different time zone), as late-comers RT every damn thing in sight without considering its merit, or that most of us have already seen it and, if it was worthwhile, RTd it/commented on it/flogged it to death.

    Nothing we can do about it, of course, except fume quietly.

  2. Great provocation John, as usual. My take:
    – there is too much stuff. Even for s/m enthusiasts it is a big job to follow, filter and share.
    – because there are so many spaces, the return on sharing in any one – and responding – may be low
    – if you try and do essential curating/convening (as we both both try) it is difficult to get paid

    So I think we need to move beyond it’s good good for you, try harder, join in. The social ecosystem of social media is currently not necessarily appealing to new (or some existing) joiners. Unless of course they are marketing – OK but not what we are talking about here.

    I think the social media club needs to rethink if it isn’t getting new members.

    • Thanks David

      I think we just have to go with the flow and not worry too much about what we miss. Most of it will come around again, in any case. Unless of course we are aiming at specific targets, in which case we need to be smarter about using tools that capture it

      • Your point about smarter tools and focus is relevent. I’m finding I’m losing enthusiasm for following the bigger picture because so much stuff is (maybe inevitably in social media) kindof messy, unless you find good curators. That’s a pity because diversity is where there’s new connections.
        So the danger is that there is a very vocal online club of people chatting in any area urging others to join them … but finding that their very cohesion and culture is, ahem, a bit exclusive.
        Mixing online andfoffline – as you do so well – is one answer, if people can get to events.
        But it may be we are just getting to the end of the social media honeymoon :-)

  3. Oh, I have times when I switch it off, John, and I don’t feel remotely like a part-timer for doing so. It’s balance, innit. Especially when you are on a Devon beach with your children and they are calling for you to throw stones into the sea with them. For the whole of the summer holiday I don’t check Twitter or answer an email once and when I return to it I’m reminded why I love it so much. I need the yin and the yang. But everyone is different. Which actually makes Twitter so engaging.

    • Thanks Dan

      I’m not suggesting that everyone must have it on all the time, that would be silly. What I am saying is that social media is now about the way we communicate, and, if you only practice your communication skills while in the office, you are going to lose out.

  4. Agree John, I have just noticed a business account today, they didn’t push much in the holidays (re products etc) but they still answered tweets or fb messages. Its a small company and they obviously get it. Some of the bigger ones clearly don’t. They were polite in saying the office was closed but dealt with matters they could do and answered questions, which means they keep their customers happy and they will return to buy more products?

    I too have noticed the ‘returners’ who expect instant adulation and retweets when its clear they are getting paid to do stuff and don’t do it very well.

    I was speaking to the head of social media at a local council. The person said they couldn’t be bothered with twitter and facebook yet they were in charge of the whole policy and team using it.

    It’s a mad old world.

  5. I think it depends, John.

    I’ve had an absence recently from being an active tweeter because I’ve just had a mad old time (Nov/Dec for family reasons are very busy times for me but then add in projects / recovery from car crash / away overnight at a conference and I’ve had the perfect storm to deal with).

    And being an ex- post graduate communication / information systems student don’t get me started on the so called line between on line and off line ;) And virtual worlds are also not worlds apart either!

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