Social media is here to stay. Call it the “new normal,” it’s really not been “new” for quite some time. What matters today is how we as leaders incorporate it into our lives and leadership. Notice… we incorporate it into our lives, not the other way around. With the ease of access and the lure of having the world at our fingertips, how do we manage our use of social media? Here are 3 suggestions…
1) Plan for it. Like anything else of priority, plan on some strategic time slots for writing posts, reading up (blogs, articles, news, etc) and even for your more social side of social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc). Be sure to include a specific time limit (10-11pm or 6-7am, etc). Otherwise, you may end up caught in the “surf” of the cyber world and realize you have wasted 2+ hours that could and should have been spent living and leading with real people in the real world.
2) Go for it. If you are going to be in the social media stream, then do it right. Write that blog article, share that inspirational post, send that picture that captures just the right family moment. Congratulate, well-wish, emoji to your heart’s content. Please, stay above the fray of all the personal “TMI” and worse, the vicious name-calling, side-taking, and the drama of it all… personal, political or otherwise. Invest your social media time in constructive, thoughtful and productive ways, especially when using your platform to address relevant issues of the day. Michael Hyatt has a wealth of instruction on how to create and manage your social media platform.
I think the Apostle Paul’s instruction to the Christ followers in Ephesus applies well here… “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)
3) Turn it off. You don’t have to socially document every waking moment. One professional platform guru I follow ( Jon Acuff) just unplugged for a week and probably only ended up increasing his following for it. People were just waiting for him to get back in the stream and even share a little about what he and his family did while on vacation. Other social media giants never seem to do this when, in reality, they have people they pay to keep up their presence 24/7. You probably don’t have “people” for this and you shouldn’t hold yourself as a leader to their standard. That’s a trap and only creates unrealistic expectations. Find your social media pace and stick to it… posting 1-2 times a week, checking social media 1-2 times a day, etc.
Whatever you do, unplug from the social media world and just take a walk with your spouse, play with your kids, or spend some time in God’s Word and prayer. Resist the temptation to narrate your life and the organization you lead and just live and lead in the reality of the moment. Trust that you have planned for your social media “fix” and just relax and enjoy life in the here-and-now.
You can live and lead in increasingly productive ways and have a strong and consistent social media presence. Manage it well and never let it take over your life and leadership. Live, lead, love, and laugh in the real world with real people. Speaking of the real world…