Having access to social networks at work makes me more productive, not less. Even though it might seem like I’m only chatting with people online and watching silly videos I’m maintaining a network that helps me rock out when it matters most. Here’s how:
1. I don’t try to reinvent the wheel
Forgive the cliche, but so many people think they have to take every problem that comes their way head on. They return to their desk, make mind maps and start from scratch.
Twitter helped me realize there are no new problems and there is great value in the ability to reach out to a lot of people quickly.
Google is still great when it comes to searching for answers, but the solutions people serve up on Twitter are pre-vetted.
Sure, the answers are not all amazing, but if my employer were to cut off access to my network, I would spend a lot more time researching solutions and less time putting them into action.
I have people.
2. I don’t need “contacts” to make contact
If someone is following me, I can send them a direct message aka a private message that doesn’t post publicly.
I’ve made appointments this way, gathered support for promoting something I needed help promoting, straightened out misunderstandings, passed along and received valuable information, put out requests for a proposal, received requests for a proposal all on Twitter’s back channel without having to track down a single email address or phone number.
Oh, and it didn’t matter whether I did this on my phone or at my computer.
3. I benefit from information asymmetry
Awhile ago Chris Penn wrote a great post about how understanding World of Warcraft can make you a better marketer.
Sure, you can play World of Warcraft like most people, but downloading add-on software gives players an advantage through what Chris describes as information asymmetry. In other words, the software gives him access to more information that he uses to play the game better.
Participating in social networks like Twitter is like having add-on software for professional life.
By paying attention to this constant stream of information, I can play the professional game better. Yes, I still actively seek out plenty of information, but there’s so much I would miss if I wasn’t tapped into Twitter while simultaneously carrying out other tasks.
I’m not alone
Don’t just take my word for it – a recent scientific study from the University of Melbourne in Australia shows that workers are actually more productive when given access to social networks, not less.
For those about to rock…
I’m always looking for new ways to explain how these things benefit me so others can benefit in the same way.
How do you use Twitter, or other social networks, to rock out?
How does working for a company that blocks access hinder your ability to get the job done?
Photo by Devo(lutio)n
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