Thursday, May 20, 2010

To Tweet or Not to Tweet: Is Social Media Really Stealing Company Time?

Did you know that Americans work 10 hours fewer per week than they did pre-recession, and yet somehow we're still producing the same level of goods and services (the almighty measure of GDP and the economy)? It's true, according to the Harvard Business Review and Ben Bernanke.

And yet, according to the Wall Street Journal, we're facing an epidemic of cyberslacking at work.

So, to sum up: we waste time at work on social networking, but we're still as productive as we were before the economy crashed. Interesting.

My take on this has to do with the benefits of social media, and the fear of job loss. We all work a lot harder now, because no one is safe from layoffs, and those shorter hours are explained by the number of workers whose hours have been cut. And yet, social media provides a much needed break in the day for overworked, overstressed employees. I know it makes my day a little brighter being able to send a few instant messages to my husband while I'm at work. (Of course, I really like my current job, and my job involves being on social media all day, so I'm probably not the best example.)

Plus, there are a lot of benefits to being involved in social media. Twitter is a great place to look for potential customers, and post links to sales, conference appearances, or e-books. Facebook is a great place to interact with customers. And there are tons of tools out there to measure engagement, number of fans/followers, reach and so forth, so you really can calculate an ROI for your time investment.

This doesn't mean that employees don't have to behave while online--it still applies that you shouldn't trash your boss, download porn, or otherwise jeopardize your job with bad behavior. But workplaces should really cool it about banning social media in the workplace.

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Friday, May 7, 2010

My Strangest Networking Invitation

I posted recently about joining a new networking site, Xing.com which has a more international following than LinkedIn, and now, I have received my strangest "Join my network" message ever:

Hey Beautifull


You attract people by the qualities you display.. You keep them by the qualities you possess..The best thing about loving and being hurt is that you get to know what true love really is. For as gold is tested in fire, and so will love be perfected in pain never let you past Run over your Life...When we Get Hurt we Need to Keep On With Life...No matter how ugly you think you are,that special man that loves you believes you are the most beautifull and irresistable thing on earth and nothing can ever change that...Love is not about finding the right person, but creating a right relationship. It's not about how much love you have in the beginning but how much love you build till the end never give up about life and also be positive .you really Look Great to me..if you care to know more about me...you can get me through my personal email address...

Tim

Can you top that?

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Catering to Media Outlets

As a writer, and a marketer, I read constantly. And in this information age, there is more content out there for consumption than ever before. There are links on Twitter, Facebook, and StumbleUpon. Some sites I really love to explore fully--for example, I love trawling NYTimes.com every morning, looking the Opinion section, Business Day, the top most emailed articles, the highlighted features, and so on.

But what I really love is my Google Reader.

I subscribe to a ton of blogs and sites via Reader, and now I must reveal a certain pet peeve of mine: publishers who don't allow Reader to access the full text of a post. Few things are more detracting than a grabbing headline, that when opened reveals only a few lines of cut off text.

When I think about this, there are reasons--perhaps these site want direct traffic instead of just the indirect hits from people reading in the Reader application. But really, I'm more likely to not read the content if I have to click through to another tab or window to get the full content.

There are exceptions: I love "Career Diva" Eve Tahmincioglu so I often forgive her non-full text publish and visit the site to read a post. But mostly, I skip over them. I recently added the Daily Beast to my subscription list, after hearing the incredible Tina Brown speak at the Simmons Leadership Conference. However, I haven't read too many of the posted items, because I hate having to move out of Reader to read them.

My advice to all those who publish blogs and e-zines: check your settings to full publish for RSS feeds. Because there are a lot of people out there who read via RSS Readers and you don't want to break our reading stride.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Working Internationally: Using Social Media to Unite Your Team

I won't officially start my new position at United Domains until May 17, but in the meanwhile, I'm learning a lot about the domain name industry and my company, along with helping my new boss put together the first US office (United Domains is headquartered in Munich, Germany). One thing he asked me to do was to join a new online network, called Xing, which acts a lot like LinkedIn, but is more widely used in Europe. It's been about a week since I created my profile and I've already received a number of contacts from the company HQ.

I've been thinking about this a lot, particularly after attending a panel on Global Business Perspectives at the Simmons Leadership Conference on Friday. Moderated by my Leadership professor, Stacy Blake-Beard, the panel was composed of Irina Simmons of EMC, Marie Myers of HP, and Kathy Hannan of KPMG. These three executives spoke at length about managing a global team, the challenges and rewards of being spread across the world. As I begin my work with an international company, here were the three things that I took away from the panel:

Be Engaged
If there is a five hour time difference between you and your team, stay up late, or get up early so that you can phone or video conference with everyone on their time. Marie Myers stressed that it is very important to show your global team that you are available to them. Get to know your team and let them know that although you may be halfway around the globe, you will listen to them and address their needs. Irina Simmons added also, whenever possible, get to know your people personally--if you're visiting the office in Singapore, schedule time to meet the people on the ground just to introduce yourself.


Use the Technology
One of my first questions for my new boss was "How will we communicate?" The answer involved technology: Skype, Basecamp, iChat, and email. Myers and Simmons mentioned that their companies have invested in Cisco's Telepresence. There are many ways to communicate, instant messaging, email, Twitter, mobile phones, and more. If you're working globally, make sure you can communicate locally.


Social Media 
While I usually advocate SM for marketing, it's also a great way to keep in touch with your work colleagues. Creating a company network on Facebook allows for quick dissemination of information. If you've misplaced a phone number, a direct message on Twitter can easily reach your targeted contact. Corporate blogs can work as bulletin boards for widespread groups, especially using multi-author features.

The world is getting smaller, or flatter, if you prefer Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat example. I'm hoping to use social media to build great relationships with my international counterparts. I'd also love to hear your ideas on how to create a great global team.

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