Saturday, April 20, 2013

What the World Needs Most

What the world needs most, turns out, is not social media. It's love, after all.

In times of turmoil, it's easy to stay glued to the tv. Add social media to the mix and addictive human behavior grows like mold on bread. It's not pretty, it's not good for you and it seeps from one to the next until the whole loaf is hurting.

This last week brought natural acts of devastation across the globe, unthinkable cowardly terrorist activity at the Boston Marathon, another first responder tale of heroism and tragedy in Texas and more, that generally left humanity feeling a little beaten and achy, as a group. 

Disconnect and reconnect, experts are saying and that's sage advice. It's about taking a step back away from ubiquitous media and a giant leap toward connecting with people you love in real authentic ways.

It's not as easy as it sounds, though, especially for those of us that use social in our everyday jobs. Here are just a few tips I'm trying to live. Let me know what helps you keep aware, balanced and most of all happy.


Do:
  • Use social to take a break, instead of vice versa. Catching up on your Facebook stream, watching a viral video, pinning a few pins can give you a break from reality while the news is blasting bad stuff that keeps us up at night. Cute kitty images may help, but only in small doses. 
  • Use social media to find details, but realize it's not all facts. Look for answers for specific questions, like recipes, formulas, research but travel lightly when it comes to second hand information or live social coverage. 
  • Continue to use social media for professional networking. Google+, Linkedin, and professional online groups  are great to stay connected in small, quick and easy ways. But nothing replaces face to face relationships. 
  • Stay part of the group through social media, but also try to join a real life group to connect the two. There is a collective sense of achievement, improved morale, and commitment that can flourish across social media channels like no other place. Instilling productivity, happier employees and bridging globally displaced friends and family can be accomplished via social media; in real channels that offer real opportunities to stay connected. 

Don’t:
  • Abuse social media or use it as your main form of communication. Too much of a good thing is actually a bad thing.  Staying glued to the television is okay once in a while; like taking a personal day or spending the entire day napping. Staying glued to the TV with your iPhone, iPad and laptop open only makes it worse. Shut it all down and force yourself to totally disconnect. It will make your connected time even more fulfilling. 
  • Let social media bog you down; easier said than done, but it's the truth. Too much concentration on always staying on the up and up is a game that will defeat you. The internet is always on. Social media never sleeps. You need to sleep. Maintain a balance and search for peace when it comes to social media.  
  • Let social media blur the lines between the real and the surreal. Your real life needs more attention than anything going on online; so pay attention to the fact that what happens on the internet should stay on the internet, as much as humanly possible. If you find yourself starting all your real life sentences with the following phrase, you may want to consider checking yourself: "On the internet, it said..." 
  • Blend too much pleasure with work, when it comes to social media channels. This one is an easy one if you really remain true to who you are (which is what I recommend for all your social media channels, by the way) Here is an easy way to determine your real-to-social life relationship: Does your boss follow you on Twitter? Are you okay with that? You should be or you should change your strategy.