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No one ‘needs’ to use social media

Image of words that say "social networks"

Source: 10ch / Flickr


I run into people every now and then who tell me straight up that they don’t really use social media and don’t think it’s for them. I totally get that.


No one needs social media.


I’m usually one of the first people to talk gush about how useful social media is and how much it can empower one’s job and career, but I’m always careful to point out that you’ve got to find the right kind of social media for you. For example, if none of the people you want to connect with use Twitter, it doesn’t make much sense for you to put a lot of time into Twitter.


But here’s another caveat: What you ignore today might be what you need tomorrow.


Social media is a long-term thing

For a lot of people, social media is a huge waste of time. I’m thinking of reporters in small towns, for instance, where people usually just talk in person or at most, over the phone (I’ve worked in at least one place like this). For those people, their time is better spent on traditional networking. However, there may come a time when a person in that position wants to step up into a job that perhaps requires heavy use of social media.


This is why I always talk about social media use as a long-term commitment and strategy. The hour I spend on social media sites today may turn out to be a complete waste of time, or they might yield a connection that pays off six months or six years from now.


Is that a gamble? I don’t really think so. At worst — and let’s pretend you’re reluctant and spend like 15 minutes a day using social media — you’ve spent a small chunk of your day trying to make something good happen for yourself. And 15 minutes? Whoop-uh-dee-doo. I’ve taken longer smoke breaks than that.

Give it enough time to work

I have nothing against someone who doesn’t like social media or who “isn’t good at it,” but I’ve personally seen how greatly it can pay off in the long run.


Think of yourself as an inventor. Thomas Edison probably spent a good amount of time just screwing around with bulbs and wires and making heaps of garbage.* One day, though, he figured out how to make a light bulb, and that worked out pretty well for him and the rest of us.


Don’t feel obligated to use social media, but don’t be afraid to “waste some time” on it to find out what happens.


*True-ish story!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • I would disagree with the statement that social media is a huge waste of
    time in small towns. I am a reporter in a small town (biggest broadcast
    network for Montana but still small) and social media is imperative.
    People want to see your packages after you have aired them, and a great
    way to get them there is with a facebook link or an email link to your
    blog. I know your statement may be pointed at print media but social
    media is just as important small town as big city! 

  • Sorry — that was intended as a a broad generalization. My point being, if you’re in a place where very few people are engaged on social networks, the bulk of your time may be better spent elsewhere.

    I don’t necessarily think that’s even common. However, I do know that each community has its preferences, so whereas you’d think “everyone” uses Facebook, you may find that varies from place to place.