Continuing to talk about social media as a “time suck” instead of focusing on how to better manage the investmentof time is just one way we’re going to keep marginalizing it and wondering why the leadership of organizations doesn’t take it seriously or discuss it strategically.
Everything worthwhile in business requires time. And just about anything on earth can become a waste of time if the person doing it isn’t accountable for the purpose behind it or if the strategy and implementation is considered in isolation, apart from the ripple effect it can and will have through the rest of the business. Every process, every technical solution we use from email to CRM to the telephone on our desk can be a time sink or an absolutely critical investment of effort.
We are in danger of abusing social, both in terms of asking it to shoulder the burden of our misdirected business models and in being horrifically short sighted about its gradual role in business’ overall communication evolution rather than treating it like something we desperately want to shortcut, set, and forget.
The tools aren’t the problem, we are.
The tools are inert in and of themselves but we, the people operating them, are the catalyst that can realize their potential or turn them into spinning wheels and dead ends. Adapting how we work isn’t easy, but it’s necessary and it’s not new. We adapted to the phone. We adapted to the emergence of the web and email, and learned how to integrate these things into how we build and operate our companies. There’s good uses of all of those things, and there are complete wastes of time.
Social’s value is still partially hidden in – or hindered by – our adaptability and vision.
If there’s a waste of time involved, it’s based in errors of human judgment and not in the nature of social itself. But if we can envision things strategically, quit hitting the panic button, and breathe social into our businesses gradually and with some critical thought, the business case might just become easier to illustrate.
Accountability counts in business, too.