Brave New Social Media World

By Rachael M. Sedlacek posted 01-03-2017 09:35


One of my goals in the coming year is to improve my professional social media presence. (Please help me do that!) It was spawned rather childishly by noticing that an acquaintance was killing it with his LinkedIn and Web presence. I’ve also known for a while that I am deficient in how I use social media. I primarily use Facebook, I barely manage LinkedIn, and I don’t have a Twitter account (one more reason I am, at best, a quasi millennial).

Shortly after setting my goal of beating my former friend in LinkedIn connections, I had the following pop up in my Facebook feed: Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It. The author’s central thesis is that social media is ruining our ability to concentrate. We’ve developed a “Pavlovian” need for a fix “at the slightest hint of boredom.” That hit home. The lure of cat videos or baby announcements or enviable vacation photos is especially strong when faced with wading through the Michigan Register for regs I need to update. And while I can resist that urge, I’ve noticed that my mind darts around a lot more than it used to.

But isn’t social media crucial to our professional existence? Another commentator argues yes. Employers are increasingly expecting a digital presence, and a lack thereof will give them pause. Moreover, social media doesn’t need to be all about rabid content production. There is value in “lurking” – i.e., passively consuming content. That has certainly come in handy for me. I first learned on Facebook that SCOTUS had reached a decision in the landmark Obergefell case. (Cut me a little slack—I was rocking a newborn baby at the time.)

So how do you balance these two competing needs? I don’t know yet. But I think I’m going to start treating social media as any other habit. Healthy in moderation.




01-12-2017 13:53

Another thing I would recommend to Mr. Beggs is to put some effort into connecting with Millennials.  Whether anybody likes it or not, Millennials are in the workspace and they tend to be more social media/Internet prone than other generations.  Learning how to work with them is key.  Not doing so can be detrimental to business in the long run.  

01-04-2017 10:44

Thanks for your comment, Paul.  If your former associate happens to be reading this post and comments, he might benefit from this long but good read on smartphone addictions.

The article includes some tips on rearranging phone apps to reduce impulsive checking.

01-03-2017 13:55

I hired a young millennial to assist in a robust law practice.  I would have trained him well and opened the door to a thriving career.  Through entirely legal, though sometimes clandestine efforts, I learned just exactly how much time he was on his smart phone and desk top perusing social media, perhaps looking at your cat videos, or reminding himself how to dance Psy Gangnam style.  I no longer have a young millennial to assist in a robust law practice.