Joy Magazine

It's not a fad

Thinking about business, technology and social media

Technology is not an obligation. We repeat: Technology is not an obligation. From your doorbell to the latest text on your mobile phone, these technological advances are for your convenience, not your obligation. You do not have to answer the door or the phone, respond to that e-mail or text or Facebook update or Tweet unless or until it is convenient for you. Turn off the Pavlovian response and do so only when it works for you.

Time Magazine's choice of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for 2010 Person of the Year was perfect. Chosen by impact on our world, the year's award went to the 26-year-old multibillionaire. Facebook is revolutionizing the Internet and the way we connect with each other.

There is a valuable takeaway from watching "The Social Network," the story of the creation of Facebook. When Facebook was in its infancy, Zuckerberg overheard a conversation at a party about who was single, who was taken, who was dating who. Yep, relationship status. Realizing this "relationship status" needed to be added to Facebook, here is what he did not do: He did not think, "Oh, what a great idea, I'll try to remember it later and use it." He did not write it down in a notebook with the intention of using it later. Here is what Zuckerberg did do: He dropped everything, ran across campus to his dorm room and implemented the idea. That sense of urgency and immediacy is what creates success.

Social media and social marketing are not fads. Crazy bands, the rubber bands in fun shapes that kids liked to wear, is a fad. Social-media marketing is a revolution in how we do business.

Connecting with people far away is a great personal use of social media. Through friends of friends, I've connected with people who have enriched my life.

Social media is a great way for a business to establish a brand and create loyal fans.

People say, "Yes, but my business is different." Sorry, not so. If you have a business card, you should be on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social marketing sites.

Two great things to think about, and instructive for all of us — consumer and small business owner alike — from the "60 Minutes" interview with Zuckerberg: "I've probably made every mistake that could be made" and "I got off my ass and built something."

While social media is great, it can consume all of your time if you let it. Set aside scheduled time for answering e-mail, getting on Facebook and Twitter. The real world is out there, not online. Pay more attention to the people inside your home than those online.

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