As the King of Social Media, I’ve now established myself on Facebook, following my venture into Linkedin. (Twitter is coming, but I have to limit my sugar intake or my teeth will rot.)
I find Facebook much more fun and engaging than Linkedin. (Which to me is like collecting things for no purpose, except that the “things” are people. My favorite: Someone I never heard of wanted to link with me because she “trusts me” so much. When I asked who the heck she was, she told me, “My employee sends these out daily for me, I don’t know why you were included.” You can’t make this stuff up.)
There are photos, running commentaries, and families reconnecting on Facebook. I get that. I posted some albums, kibitzed with family members, advertised my workshops. All free, all fine. I’ll have a double espresso as long as I stopped by. Heck, I visit my coffee shop with the dogs most mornings when I’m home.
However, there are people posting hundreds of times a day, often ten times an hour, sometimes two minutes apart. And that’s just in my tiny Facebook universe. Some of those people I know, and some of them are having marketing and business problems. How do you have the time to hang out in a virtual coffee shop all day? Some others, whom I don’t know and I guess are friends of friends, are “air time junkies,” who post inanities that rival Linkedin. This may be hard to understand, but I don’t care how you feel about Obama’s Mexican visit, even if it were a real bar with a real martini.
The appeal of “hanging out” during the day has traction, and it’s better than porn. (There is that great Avenue Q song, “The Internet Was Made for Porn.”) But it’s not better than building your career. I can understand this allure better if you’re freeloading on an employer’s computer, but not if you’re trying to build a solo practice and your boss is sitting in the same chair. I’d fire you.
When I first railed about social media and their lack of utility for building solo practitioner consulting business, the cultists were outraged. Seth Godin told me I wasn’t with it, implied I was just too old, and said I was missing the future. Well, I have seven books appearing over 18 months, my workshops are packed, and I’m speaking on three continents, so apparently I’m not that old and I’m enjoying the future. That’s because I don’t collapse with awe every time a new technology promises a few minutes of fun. (When people can’t argue with you rationally or intellectually, they call you “old” or “arrogant.” When people attack me personally, I know I’ve scored a direct hit.) Some people I see promoting these technologies have personal interests and investments in them, and that’s not objective advice in my book. I’m looking forward to Twitter, where one notable claims he’s following 93,000 people who are following him. That must make for a full day!
Once you’re successful, you have real wealth: discretionary time. At that point you can scuba dive in the Caymans, learn to fly, collect great art, contribute to charities, build new businesses, or spend all day on Facebook. But if you’re not there yet, you can’t do the first five things and shouldn’t be doing the last thing.
Let’s face it.
© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.