Are Social Networking Tools a Waste of Time?

by Ron on August 24, 2009

socializing
I’ve been hearing a lot of negative talk about social media lately. It seems people think a break from Twitter puts you back in the real world, that spending time on Facebook and LinkedIn is a just time waster where no real work gets done, that most of the interactions are frivolous. It gets tiresome defending social media. I did it before on my by Ron Miller blog in a post called Social Media Cynics in the Press Room. Social Networking on a computer is no more a waste of time than it is in person.

It’s About People

Social networking whether going to a Chamber of Commerce networking luncheon, a tweet up (where you meet people from Twitter in person) or exchanging information in Twitter, is a way of connecting with people. As Cheryl McKinnon wrote in a guest post here recently; Actually, Yes,  I Do Care What You Had for Lunch, these exchanges can be mundane or they can be substantive, but they all have to do with relationship building. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn give you access to individuals in real time, some of whom you likely would never have met without the power of social networking.

Real World Examples

This blog stands as a tribute to social networking power because Julie and I forged our friendship and partnership on Twitter. We didn’t know each other before, but we started exchanging tweets, but  before you knew it we were writing an eBook together. From there, we created this blog. It’s a real business relationship and a friendship (yet we’ve only met in person one time). I’ve formed several other connections including paying gigs through contacts I’ve made on Twitter, yet have never met in person, as has Julie.

So you can dismiss it as a time waster or a time sink or whatever you want to call it, but if you form strong bonds online, I’ve learned those relationships can be just as strong as any you form in person, and more importantly for many of our readers, it can result in tangible business benefits. The folks who are putting it down, clearly have not made a serious attempt at taking advantage of these tools.

Photo courtesy of hellobo on Flickr.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ana December 22, 2009 at 12:44 am

I honestly still think it’s a waste of time. Mostly for entertainment

2 Alexis Albert June 12, 2010 at 3:55 am

I really agree with you…

people are really don’t getting it that it’s become an addiction for them…especially for kids…they spend lots of time on it…this is really crazy…parents should be aware…some unnecessary applications just keeping them/us busy for hour and hour in these websites…that can’t be…there is some Professional networking website, which are very necessary and can be very helpful in everyday life…but shame that, people don’t get the importance of those…
__________________

Alexis Albert

3 Ron June 12, 2010 at 9:05 am

Alexis,
Did you read the post? If you did, you completely missed my point. I’ve made real business connections this way. I’ve been able to promote and push my work to get more traffic (which makes the owners of the sites I write for happy).

Ron

4 Ron June 12, 2010 at 9:06 am

Ana,
If you really think it’s for entertainment only, you are truly missing a great opportunity to connect and interact with people online, who can help you advance your business. That’s what this site is all about. Helping people understand the true potential of social media tools online.

Thanks for your comment.

Ron

5 Alan June 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm

With all due respect, the connecting and interacting with people online to promote your business is great for those doing that, like you, but for many of us on the receiving end that “promotion” means SPAM, people mercilessly promoting themselves without regard for whether or not anyone is interested and creating a general environment of everybody talking and no one listening to one another, because all they are interested in is self promotion. Very nice that it’s all well and good for you, but you patronizing suggestion that you are “missing” out by rejecting these sites as total wastes of time is YOUR perspective. I wish you would not state your opinion as fact. Good for you. Stop trying to spread the disease.

6 Ron Miller June 14, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Alan,
First of all you misunderstand my point. I’m talking about using social networking in an unobtrusive way, not as a way to direct sell. Secondly, this *is* my blog and I wrote the post, so, ya, I can express my opinion here. You are free to write yours too. That’s the whole point of a blog, to have a conversation.

If you don’t like what I have to say, nobody is forcing you to read my posts, but since I wrote the posts, I have a right to defend it don’t you think?

Thanks for you comment.

Ron

7 angelique November 15, 2010 at 3:14 pm

social networking is a big waste of time. it is mainly for entertainment, and it fails at that too because the sites, such as facebook and twitter, are very boring… not to mention useless. these sites are just designed for people to have something to do, they serve no real purpose really, they’re pointless. i would know, and i deleted all of mines, now i see what a waste of time they were, and how i had no use for them at all. someday, everybody will realize this, and social networking will officially be DEAD.

8 mark hopkins February 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm

I agree with the naysayers, twitter is for following the mundane tweets of what celebs had for breakfast, as if this minutia had value. Facebook is a gripe center for people you went to high school with, and linked in can’t keep their passwords straight worth a damn. I guess if you are already famous or want to glad hand some jackass in your industry with hollow accolades in the hopes of being a better sycophant, than by all means, go for it. As for it increasing business, it’s so far not measurable.

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