“Tweeting & Blogging are a Waste of Time!”

I often find it amusing and somewhat baffling when people tell me they cannot see the value of being on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, having a blog, etc. I get this from friends, coworkers, and new acquaintances.

I try to explain that I understand that it seems foreign and that being involved in social networks and interactive media might not be relevant to some people, but honestly, when the president of the United States has a Twitter account and a blog, can you really tell me that you cannot somehow use these tools for business purposes, to promote yourself, to drive sales? Or, what about the fact that Dell supposedly did $1M in sales on Twitter over the holidays alone? Does new media still seem like a waste?

Ask a big time blogger or Twitterer how many doors have been opened due to their involvement online.

So many people don’t understand that you can get more advantages from social media or social networking than just looking at friends’ vacation pictures, so they try to play off blogging, facebooking, or whatever else as a waste of time or child’s play, and I truly comprehend that, in certain lines of work, being online does not help much, but in so many, it acts as another way to expand your network, meet new people, demonstrate value, show experience, and more.

Every experience is obviously different, but I can say this… I have found being involved in online networking has created more paying, and non-paying but still worthwhile, projects than I would have imagined.

You don’t even have to have your own blog to get cool full- or part-time job offers. Try spiffing up your Linkedin profile with links to your company, your Twitter account, or whatever else… and don’t forget keywords people would use in searches to find you. ;-) Don’t think it’s useful to get job offers now and then? What about the connections you build that could be useful down the road?

What about answering questions on Twitter and realizing that the person you’re tweeting with knows someone who needs a weekend bookkeeper… and what do you know, you are looking for some extra income.

As I often say to people, “Twitter, or anything else like it, is something that seems pretty stupid from the outside, and once you start using it, you might still decide it’s not for you, but the people, who like it even just a little bit, really tend to love it.”

You don’t have to understand it. You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to love it. But, just like face-to-face networking, online networking has proven immensely valuable (try googling Zappos and Twitter) for so many companies and individuals. If you don’t want to take advantage, very few people will disparage you. They’ll just deal with you disparaging them while they make sure they’re building their skills for the future and you’re still adjusting to the present.

Certainly, several people reading this have encountered similar reactions from others. How do you deal with it? Do you try to win people over? Do you even bother explaining your participation online?

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  • http://ericpratum.com/2009/02/18/tweeting-blogg...



    Eric,

    Invaluable post.

    In response:

    You cannot "convince" someone of something that they are not already predisposed to being convinced about.

    Remember: Don't try to teach a pig to sing. It only frustrates you, and annoys the pig. (I'm NOT referring to any people as "pigs." Just suggesting that it's better to let sleeping dogs lie. Ooops! I did it again! Haha!)

    I say that you've done exactly the best thing you can do.

    Make your case simply and directly - as you do here - without trying to convince anyone else. Let them draw their own conclusions.

    Offer specific action-oriented steps for people to implement, and to discover if they get a result for themselves that helps to change their perspective.

    Let your actions - and your results - speak for themselves. Allow and encourage others who wish to achieve the same success as you to model your behaviors.

    And let me add...

    Blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. - these are all just tools.

    It seems sensible to carry around a hammer if you need one regularly, but not to carry one around if you're never going to use it for its intended purpose.

    Without a sense of purpose as regards a reason to blog, have an account on Facebook, use Twitter, etc., then doing any of those things will most likely end up being unfruitful, and - as such - a "waste of time" if not a "failure."

    Using these services for anything from just finding new friends and/or keeping up with existing friendships to doing research to (respectfully) promoting your products, services and events to the benefit of those on the receiving end of your promotions makes great sense and can produce substantial results within the context of your desired result.

    Thanks again for adding your voice to this discussion and offering this forum for its continuance!

    Jay Aaron
    Strategic Visionary / Visionary Strategist
    http://JayAaron.com
    Founder of http://www.Twitternars.com
    Follow me on Twitter: http://Twitter.com/newthoughts
  • Joshua
    Have to agree strongly. I started with twitter in december 08. Wasnt sure there was any value at all. How wrong was I. The amount of extra knowledge on SharePoint i have gained is amazing. Also the extra contacts i have made. My trip to the US was great thanks to twitter.
  • That's great to hear. I've been on since New Year's Day 2008. I didn't make much use of Twitter until June or July though, and things just took off from there. For me, it's mainly been networking, job information, and sharing of this or that odd internet stories.

    Thanks for the comment, Joshua.
  • Nice post! It is common for people to question things they don't understand or fear. For me, the best strategy is to be available for people who have questions and who are open to understanding and applying what I know to be true. For those who are not interested, I simply plant the seeds, let them know I'm here if they ever want to know, and then invite them to talk about something else we both enjoy.
  • Thanks, Donna. I agree that it's useful to plant the seed and then move on, but I've now begun saying something to the effect of "If you knew that checking Twitter 2-3 times/day and responding to people would help you get a better, higher-paying job, would that be worth it to you?" I say that because that was the case for me just recently, and I believe that, within certain job sectors, social media skills will slowly begin to be seen as more relevant.
  • Great post. I've heard this one a lot "I don't want people knowing what I'm up to." If one has positive, interesting things to say then blogging/twittering/social networking help build a legit portfolio of content. Potential clients read one's portfolio and are like 'yeah I get it'. Unlike traditional marketing, all of these mediums have a time element, helping to prove stability.
  • That is an awesome point. Thanks for bringing that up. I definitely agree. I often say that "Twitter is a conversation that is happening now. If you're not there, it will pass you by." I like that a traditional portfolio can show types of work you have been able to do, whereas including your online social media-type efforts in a portfolio can show your involvement over time.

    Thanks, Withers.
  • I've been on LinkedIn for quite a few years. Had people tell me they didn't want to join because their boss might think they are thinking of quitting and they like their job.

    I've been blogging for close to a year (somewhat actively, but always trying to be a bit more than just posting to say I got my post in). People have said "why bother?" and "Do you really want the whole world to know everything you do?" I would like to be able to share information with people that are interested in me and in the same things I am and I am careful in that I do not post anything that could cause serious personal embarrassment to me or anyone else and in general the only time I post something negative, it is in hopes of preventing someone else from getting hit by a scam or poor customer service. So yeah, if the whole world wants to look at the pictures I just took of a rainbow, or people want to read a book review I wrote, I'm cool with that.
  • Eric! What a delight to hear from you on twitter...like I said I have forwarded this post to a colleague as I find explaining the benefits difficult....Yet I do know I have built a wonderful group of people who have helped me immensely on twitter ( @starlightlife ) alone. Now to put all that help into action ...I am totally enjoying the ride!
    Thanks for connecting and I'll see you on twitter!.
  • Thanks for sharing, Gina.
  • My experience is that a lot of people don;t get it at all at first. But with a little explanation start to get involved and can see the benefit. However the most important part is giving these people a long-term plan. Anyone will jump on twitter and play with it for 2weeks and be done for 2months. However if I give them a strategy and show them how to tie their business/life into it they tend to stay involved. The mind-set is whats in it for them. So you have to lay it out in the simplest yet detailed plans to show them ROI.
  • Great point, Jared. Putting it in perspective of a plan, ROI, etc seems like a great idea to me.

    On a somewhat related note, I was going through thousands of followers for a week or two, checking to see if they were just dead accounts and whatnot. One of the most common final tweets I saw was "Trying to figure out Twitter." Somehow, that was pretty funny.
  • Thanks Eric. I just started twiitting. My buddy at startupslive.tv introduced me. I have always wanted to connect with people and help them eat/cook better and not be intimidated by making food from raw fresh ingredients. I have made some great connections with people that simply want "cooking tips". It is amazing how satisfying it is when I get a tweet back that one of my tips helped someone pull together a great meal. Now i am doing a Live Cooking Show. I am on at 4pm est every wednesday. You can watch the show at www.chefbud.com This blog post had perfect timing and is keeping me on my goal Thanks Again. BUD
  • By simply vlogging and posting on only two social networks (Twitter and Facebook) I have had the opportunity to have discussions with people I would not have otherwise had access to. People have shared freely with me the tips to helping make my show and service a success as well as how to help others. The shear mention that current president found these tools useful and was successful at obtaining office should speak loud enough as to the value of spending a few minutes a week or even a day using them. Great post Eric. I look forward to reading more.
  • I feel differently about it every day, but as someone who lives in a city, but doesn't get out much to network it seems like a great thing.
    Funny though because it on one hand fosters the short attention span but takes time to actually build a useful network ;-)
  • Hmm... I guess I would tend to agree with that. I recall Chris Brogan once saying that blog posts are bite size pieces of information and that other social media was more of a conversation.

    I like that online networking has actually led to some really useful and fun real world contacts.

    Thanks for the comment, Melissa.
  • Erik in Iowa City
    I think as long as these kinds of interactions don't substitute, but rather augment, real life and reality, they are fine. Once they cease to be tools for something else, however, they can take over your life and become obligatory rather than merely utility. I suppose a person who is overtaken by online social networking systems probably has diminished social skills offline as well. I also think one’s affinity or repulsion for these kinds of networks depends on the kind of life they want to live. Do you want a slow life of slow food you grow yourself, a small carbon footprint, reading by candlelight, and enjoying a quiet existence without television or radio and with only a few friends and acquaintances? There are people who still desire such a life, and their fears that social networks will chase away those sacred places are likely very real to them. And then, of course, there are people whose caffeine-flooded veins just eat up the connectivity of yet another social networking site. The majority of us are probably hybrids between these two extremes. We aren’t Luddites and we aren’t cyber freaks. We share dinner recipes, we learn new words like “tweet,” we blog once and a while, and we live on- and offline with ease.
  • Thanks for the comment, Erik. The hybrid is a good point. It seems like a lot of people deal with connectivity addiction at some point though, right? Now and then, I feel like I see someone getting really addicted to Twitter, Facebook, whatever else partially because it's so new and allows them to do things they previously couldn't. One of the things I find funny about that though is that (from the outside) it probably looks like we're all addicted to this, but many of us, like me, tend to only tweet, check Facebook, etc during certain times and rarely after.

    Anyhoo, thanks again for commenting, Erik. :-)
  • mv96
    Eric,
    I LOVE your site..totally sic. I have to say, "back in my day"...we walked to the library to get information..blahblahblah..when the Internet hit, my kids rec'd their pc's for school, and then I purchased. I tried to instill in them, how powerful and user friendly computers were. My explanations were, you HAVE A VOICE..USE IT. You can write, read, contact ANYONE in the world...re: government, policies, etc., and I have the personal responses, to prove it..(hardcopies) Now, with FB obviously, I don't need to say anymore:) However, recently I've tried to show others what TWITTER is. It's the way of the future people. It's not going away. It's an amazing tool of social networking, business etc., as Eric has said. I personally see it as a means to reach whoever I need to, regarding whichever cause I'm fighting for..and although I'm not in it for the money, I'll continue to learn, read, reach out, use any tools that are out there, thanks to these amazing brilliant minds..because IT WORKS!!!!! You have a voice. Use it! However will we reach worldwide? ie:Twestival
  • Hey, mv96. Thanks a million for your comment and support. I totally agree. You have the ability. You just need the will and a bit of persistence.

    Thanks again!
  • pHr3d
    If Osama Bin Laden reads this and decides he wants to give twitter a try you might have saved the CIA a lot of time.
  • I'm crossing my fingers then that I'll get the reward for his capture. :-P
  • radhak
    Just had some questions regarding self-promotion and personal branding via the internet as it is becoming the best tool to do our own PR

    How are young creative professionals using the internet for self-promotion? and those who are not using it why is that so?

    How do our peers mold their identities on social networking sites as they might be viewed by potential employers and also how can they utilize and define their online identities to get a job as well as furthering their career goals?

    Any views on the above?
  • Hey, radhak. Shoot me an email at [email protected] . I'd be happy to help in any way I can.
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