Dec 042012

All too often I hear people complain about how distracting social media is. That’s not a fair comment, because there are far greater distractions like interruptions of a phone call or a person that stops by your desk (office, or cubicle), and wouldn’t you know it, that happens right when you’re getting traction on your work. What social media might be doing is adding and compounding the issue of distractions and interruptions that derail us from productive work.

The biggest time-waster at work is inefficient meetings (only 8% say that meetings are 100% productive).
And depending on who you ask (or survey), the numbers may differ. This different survey puts more blame of time-wasting on the digital rather than the physical:

… at companies with more than 1,000 employees, these kinds of digital distractions can waste more than $10 million each year.

And in this social media-obsessed age, typical water cooler banter and pointless meetings are no longer the greatest time-wasters at work. Almost 60% of workplace distractions involve social networks, text messaging, IMs or email. In fact, navigating between multiple tabs and windows to keep an eye on a wide variety of apps is a huge distraction in itself.

In the end, almost half of the employees in this study said they worked just 15 minutes or less without getting interrupted or distracted. More than half said they wasted at least one hour every day day due to distraction.

That’s the data. Data doesn’t motivate nor inspire you to action, the kind of behavior modification and change in lifestyle you need to eliminate the distraction of social media. Social media doesn’t have to control you. You have to choose and decide to be in control of your time and your social media usage.

I know people who’ve punted and just say no to social media. Is that really the solution? That is a solution, though it is not a very relevant one for those of us who do want to be effective in connecting with people near and far by using social media. Get smart with engaging the culture and being immersed in the culture, not by over-reacting by separating and unplugging in fear.

At the core of it all, methinks, it is about how you make the conscious choice of using your time moment by moment. (Naturally-born planners have it made in this respect; but I’m not one of them.) My top lifehacks on social media and personal tech: Turn off alerts and notifications; check email only 3 times a day; get a 2nd monitor (to cut down window-switching time). And, one more thing, I’m experimenting with: turn off the smartphone for time blocks.

Some other thoughts + insights + reflections + wisdom::

#video Joe Kraus made these remarks about our Constant Culture of Distraction and the crisis of attention, being disconnected, and losing ourselves

Minimizing Distractions: Managing Your Work Environment

We all face distractions on a daily basis. Distractions not only lower our productivity, they also increase our stress.

You probably already know what distracts you the most – phone calls, emails, instant messages, Internet browsing, interrupting co-workers, and so on. Strategies like scheduling email checks, turning off your phone, and leaving the office for a quieter environment may eliminate distractions so that you get more done.

Great tips abound for how to keep social media from being distracting:

Take Control of Your E-mail, Tame the Web to be More Focused, Change Your Work Environment to Shore Up Productivity

Silence Your Smartphone, Mute Your Inbox, The Nuclear Option

For more reflection and consideration:

Is Being Permanently Connected to Social Networks Good?

There’s an ebook by Leo Babauta focus : a simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction that you can get in a free and paid version.

May 262010

This is a watershed milestone kind of book for social media and businesses & organizations both non-profit and governmental. Millions of us have a good sense of how social media is connecting people individually in the informal social sense.

Not so many have figured out how to connect business goals with social media.

Now there’s a book to guide organizational leaders and managers to develop an effective social media strategy. There are a number of great examples mentioned in this new book by Charlene Li, Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead, citing case studies from Zappos, Starbucks, Best Buy, and more. (Apparently JetBlue didn’t make the cut.) Watch my video review:

At the time of this writing, the 8 free critical resources mentioned in the book’s appendix are not yet posted online. Or, I haven’t found them on the website yet. I hope and wish they’ll get it online very very soon. Can’t wait!

And stay tuned this summer for the book that’s “social media for non-profits.” Authored by none other than Beth Kanter, The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change. From the same publisher as Open Leadership, Jossey-Bass. Genius.

Aside: I first heard about the book during the Catalyst West conference, where Charlene Li was a main speaker. While I was mesmerized and transfixed on every word, dozens in the audience were stirring in their seats — maybe because they were hungry since the talk was right before lunch. I knew right off I had to get a copy, and I was able to get an advance review copy there, with a voucher for the real printed hardback edition. And it was delivered to my home yesterday. Yes!

[update] Read an excerpt of Open Leadership in BusinessWeek::

This discomfort of not being in control is the reason why I wrote Open Leadership. It’s my attempt to help leaders understand how the rules have changed and how they need to adjust. At the core, leaders have to acknowledge that they are not in control and probably never really were. Instead, leadership is about establishing a relationship, and social technologies are redefining how relationships are formed, grown, and supported.

p.p.s. I actually had queued up a blog post in my Drafts folder before the book launched…
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Aug 112009

There are few places where followers of Christ can gather and thoughtfully reflect the impact of new media (internet, web, social media, and all that jazz). There used to be the Internet Ministry Conference, and used to be GodBlogCon.

Now there is Christian Web Conference! It’s happening just a month away, September 11-12, at Biola University. (That’s the Los Angeles area, for those of you considering travelling in from afar.) Here’s how the conference is describe itself:

Christian Web Conference is dedicated to fostering fellowship and establishing real life communities among Christians employing web 2.0 technologies to christianly influence the world. The power and appeal of web media technologies is vast. These technologies provide Christians with a new set of Great Commission opportunities.

And how they’re looking to do that:
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Jan 292009

I’m back home now, had been away since Saturday. That’s 5 nights in a hotel bed. While soft and cushy, couldn’t get the temperature right. More on the warmer hot side of things by middle of the night.

Just sent out a dozen personal video emails to thank the dozen deputized bloggers who provided way more #i3 coverage than I imagined! Know it’s way faster than a thank you card via snail mail. And with us new media types, maybe video email can be just as meaningful and personal. At least I hope it’s received as such.

A quick video update before I turn in. Need to catch up on my sleep deficit, and taking a long weekend off.

I’ll likely blog from a full-size keyboard some time this weekend, so you can read some of my germinating ideas. So glad and grateful I had the freedom to do lots of research & development during the tech breakout, as we had to improvise what to do with 2 out of 3 session speakers unable to be there.

Here’s one of the recorded segments of the tech breakout, a portion of interview with Terry Storch and Bobby Greunewald by Cynthia Ware — how’d it turn out?