This week I’ve been discussing a natural drift I identified in my own work, moving toward “work” and away from others. So, admittedly, you can dismiss this theme as just “Terry working out his own issues”, but there might be something here for the rest of us too. But I also see this theme on other leaders’ blogs. Seth Godin challenged readers recently to create space and stand still for a while.
As I’ve looked back on this drift in my life, I am not convinced that social media naturally drives us toward others. It can. But I don’t think it’s always present in the process. We need to take another step to do that.
Consider this: Social media is marketing-based image-driven interactions. We share pictures, status updates, 140-character-long Tweets (adverts?) with others. As we design these, we imagine how others will think about us and we revise, edit, and enhance. We’re marketing ourselves and our lives. It’s the inherent structure to social media. So the process, if we’re not attentive, is on us and not necessarily on the other. We all have the friend or significant other who laughs at Twitter as an exercise for narcissists.
Well, maybe that’s just me then……
Of course I know (and have experienced) tremendous community building on Facebook and Twitter. But it’s not automatic. I wonder what we’d discover if performed a content analysis of our last 100 Tweets and 100 Facebook activities (including posts on others’ walls).
I’ve seen more than a few leaders so consumed with online activities that they’ve failed classes, hurt their job performance, and hurt their relationships. Evidently there’s a drift to overusage of social media. I know there are loud advocates of social media’s benefits, but I also know folks in a few of those companies who have expressed their frustration and wish their leader would invest as much time in building their team as in building their (and their company’s) reputation online.
So, there’s a balance. And just like standing on the middle of a balance board, we need to look both ways – toward others and toward our work – to make sure we’re in balance. Looking one way causes the board to weigh that way.
How have you balanced your online presence, your social media, with other areas of your life? In what ways does social media intersect with your leadership? Have you also taken steps toward relating more intentionally to/with others and limited yourself in other ways?