Are you friends with Kelly Clarkson or Lindsay Buckingham? My husband is. Are you jealous? Don’t be. Just because he is friends with them doesn’t mean he’s going to dinner with either of them any time soon. These talented entertainers are just two of the many electronic friends he has on line. I’ve spoken with many business professionals who spend hours on their computers making electronic friends. Are they making good use of their time? You decide.
When I hear that one woman has to monitor herself and shut her computer down because she could spend the whole day on her computer networking, I realize that some people are really hooked on Facebook and other networking sites. Eight hours of posting is just too much time for me to spend doing that. Then I wonder, what are people getting for their time investment? I hope it’s more than knowing who washed their hair yesterday morning.
Do you really need to know who went grocery shopping yesterday with their family, who went to the airport, and who threw out their trash? That’s too much information for me. What if you’re grateful for your friends and family? That’s wonderful. I can only hope that you’ve shared that sentiment with your friends and family off line as well. (Or is your computer work keeping you from talking to them face-to-face?)
You may be wondering if I am on Facebook. I am. My daughter encouraged me to sign up for it. It’s been wonderful to reconnect with my college friends who I lost contact with because of time and moving around the country. That still doesn’t mean I spend hours on Facebook updating my daily minutiae for everyone to see. Am I using it the best way possible for business? Probably not, but I just can’t figure out how knowing all about my random activities adds to my professional credibility? Am I missing something?
Another site is Linked in. I am part of LinkedIn. I had used it in the past to get introductions to people with mixed results. Recently, I wrote a book, Monday Morning Sales Tips. I wrote to 50 contacts about my book asking for contacts with sales teams and organizations with distributors who could buy my book .Monday Morning Sales Tips is a useful tool for sales teams and those in sales to sell more. Imagine my surprise when I saw the results. I got back almost 20 replies and that’s from Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning. I was amazed. My assessment of electronic friendships has changed.
I’m thinking that there is a place for Facebook and a place for LinkedIn. I could not imagine using Facebook for business. Instead, for me it is a useful site to keep in touch with people who I care about, but don’t talk with every day. LinkedIn contains my professional contacts and I’ll keep it that way. I still have no plans to camp out on my computer for hours on end seeing who is on LinkedIn or Facebook.
What about you? You may not realize that you have more friends than ever. It’s just that some of them are electronic. How you choose to let them help you in business is up to you. When you need your electronic friends’ help in business, what do they need to know? Is it what you ate for dinner last night or what project you’re working on? You get to pick what you send. Now I’m going to call my friend Cathy at home. I know she’s there. She just posted something on Facebook.