Category Archives: Social Media Q&A

Q&A Governance issue – digital development and my digital leadership role

Dear Sofie,

I need your help. I work as the digital director in a large global organisation. As with everywhere that has a global presence there is a lot to work on and coordinate.

I’ve been in my job now for two years. I know lots of people and through my network it’s easy to know who knows what. This is the good side of my work.

Now to the problem. I’m the digital leader. I have the authority to approve new digital projects and I should encourage digital initiatives. There is often little transparency around why a certain decision was made and who actually decided that a certain investment should be made.

There are some IT people who’ve been working in the organisation for well over ten years. They are all in senior positions. If I compared my ranking in the hierarchy I have more power than them, but just because they are glued together from projects and memories from years ago they are not too keen to be helpful to many of my newer colleagues.

This would not be a problem if they were in a department that doesn’t influence my work at all, but it does all the time, every day.

Digital development is about the future, thinking ahead and organising so that as many people as possible can benefit from the work you do. The group I’m talking about is the opposite. They are too connected to the past, only think about their next boozy night out together, and would never like to think of themselves as a team serving the organisation.

It all got really absurd six months ago when they were all working against one of my projects, trying their best to make me look dumb. I challenged two of them in a large meeting asking why they were holding information back from me and my team.

Their reaction was hilarious, both were in total denial of their behaviour.

There’s obviously something weird going on and their team culture is not open to any kind of collaboration.

After this I took action and started an informal investigation with some of my allies tracking all of the activities of the team from years back. Not surprisingly they have been giving each other awards such as promotions and other company perks. Their whole existence in the organisation is based on promises made to each other.

From what I know it feels like corruption to me and they are preventing a lot of work from moving forward and are making up excuses for why something is not possible. It was okay to struggle with them for a while, but there has been no improvement and the organisation is not doing what is possible.

My efforts are not working at all and the next logical step is to resign, but at the same time I could try to talk to people in the organisation.

What’s your thoughts?

Hannah

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Dear Hannah,

This sounds like a tough situation to be in and I can only imagine the frustration you feel. If you reveal your findings to the CEO and their team you become a whistle-blower, which puts you in an uncomfortable position. But by leaving you are not standing up for the kind of leadership and management you stand for.

It’s very hard to drive a digital change project in any organisation that is built on ‘friendship relationships’ where people owe each other favours. These kinds of incentives end up as factors that destroy motivation and honesty.

When too many people in an organisation are there because someone owes them a favour the whole energy is broken and people are not looking at the future with any kind of similar outlook.

At the same time, it’s normal to stay in an organisation waiting for a better job or promotion, but in the situation you are describing it looks like this is leading to inaction.

One option is to talk to a risk manager in your organisation, they should be better equipped to deal with this kind of issue. It may take some time and, depending on how patient you are, you have to decide how much time you will give it.

A lot of organisations have relapses where ethics go downwards on a regular basis, even those who should walk the talk relapse, so that this is happening is not surprising.

The management board need to ask themselves if they believe in what they are doing and their strategy and if they have the courage to stick to the strategy every single day.

I met a quality director in a diary company once who said that they have to meet the minimum standard of production even on their worst day. That’s why they are always aiming for a higher standard. When you start slacking and accepting lower standards, you are risking your quality and work ethics.

Leaders who value good ethics are aware of how these factors connect.

Sofie

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Q&A: Facebook deleted my personal account after I shared what I thought about Brexit

Question

Dear Sofie,

I used my personal Facebook account to share my thoughts about Brexit in the UK. For a few days now I haven’t been able to access my account at all.

Is there a risk that my comments were reported to Facebook and Facebook deleted my account because of them?

I was not the one sharing the worst comments out of my Facebook friends, some of my acquaintances were much ruder. It feels unfair that my account is gone and my acquaintances still have access.

I have years of memories saved on Facebook and it’s my address book as well, now it’s all gone. I was pretty proud of some of my comments and I was planning to collect them and put them into my blog, but hey, they are all gone now. 🙁

The thing that upsets me most is that I can’t access my messages. I had some messages there that were from my brother who is no longer with us, now I can’t go back and read them.

Is there anything I can do to get my Facebook account back?

Answer 

Plenty of accounts are deleted from Facebook all the time. If you have broken Facebook’s community guidelines your account may be deleted within 24 hours. If you commit a severe violation of the community guidelines your account will never be restored. In this case, it seems that it’s gone.

Hate speech that directly attacks people based on:

  • race,
  • ethnicity,
  • national origin,
  • religious affiliation,
  • sexual orientation,
  • sex, gender or gender identity, or
  • serious disabilities or diseases

is not allowed. If you make that kind of attack you may never have access to your account again.

Facebook relies on its users to report hate speech on their platform. If someone has done that with your account then its content will be reviewed by the Facebook team. In Europe, new legislation says that the major social media platforms have to deal with hate speech within 24 hours.

If you are not sure you can follow the guidelines, to protect your account you can log in and save your data here:

www.facebook.com/settings

Click on: ’Download a copy of your Facebook data’.

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Q&A: Facebook has blocked my Facebook page, and 4.5 years work is gone

Dear Sofie,

I’m Paulina – Poli to friends. I run Babski Londyn, an organisation supporting Polish creative women in London.

Recently my Facebook page for Babski Londyn was deleted from Facebook without any explanation; 4.5 years of work and 2,500 followers disappeared. The growth was all organic and now all my hard work is gone.

This was our URL, www.facebook.com/babskilondyn now it’s nothing there.

At the same time Facebook also deleted my Facebook group. I got my group back after my members asked Facebook where it was, it’s here: www.facebook.com/groups/babskilondyngrupa.

I’ve filled in the forms in Facebook’s help centre to try to get my Facebook page back but nothing happens.

The content on my Facebook page was mostly about art and culture. Due to the political situation in Poland I’ve made a decision to be more committed to supporting women in Poland and fighting the horrible new abortion law.

Polish people find feminism very provocative, so we had a lot of haters. But we still should be able to have our forum on Facebook.

There was a BIG legal case in Poland, a group rape, and the victim waited four years to be heard. The six men were found guilty but none of them went to jail. I posted about this on my page and group. I was calling for the Polish Minister of Justice to take a stand. We also prepared a petition to change Polish law. The next day both my Facebook group and Facebook page disappeared.

I guess it was a topic that was upsetting people who don’t believe in human rights and they reported the page and group to Facebook.

How do I get my Facebook page back? Do you have any suggestions?

Thank you, Poli

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Dear Poli,

This is a very sad and upsetting story about how big social media platforms can affect our lives, businesses, and passion.

Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. To then block your page directly goes against their mission.

Conversation on Facebook should be open and allow diversity and Facebook wants this to be the case. Still there is no perfect answer to how this should be done, and we need to continue to ask how these big questions about social media should be approached.

On Facebook there are plenty of report forms you can use to submit your questions. One tip I got from a lawyer was to use several of the forms when reporting an issue. There may be a kind individual working on the other side that helps you out.

www.facebook.com/help

You can also read Facebook’s community standards here to undestand more: www.facebook.com/communitystandards

You say that your page was deleted and gone after you shared political content on it. It is possible that people who disagreed with your view did this and the Facebook automatic back-end system removed your page because of the large number of reports. It’s most likely not a person at Facebook who made this decision, but back-end-technology.

Unfortunately, it is hard to get in touch with a human being at Facebook.

One suggestion is to search for people who work at Facebook on social media and then email them. Their email address is name@fb.com. Email Hunter can help out as well emailhunter.co.

I’ve emailed Mark Zuckerberg a while ago, and the email bounced back, you needed a fb.com email address to reach him.

If you need to get in touch with someone at Facebook you can also attend events that someone from Facebook is speaking at and ask them a question during the Q&A. It’s hard for them to ignore you if you ask the question out loud.

Report  missing page here:
www.facebook.com/help/contact/351451441588463

Facebook Page guideline: 
www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php

 

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Q&A: How do I turn off ‘memories’ on Facebook?

Dear Sofie,

I wonder how I can turn off all the memories that are popping up every day in my Facebook feed. Some of the reminders are totally stressful for me; posts from painful life experiences. It’s not good for my mind to see them all over again.

Please, can you help me?

Answer:
I agree with you, I find many of the memory reminders painful as well. I didn’t want them in my feed every day and turned them off.

To read the full help article on Facebook you got here:
https://www.facebook.com/help/439014052921484

Open a new window with Facebook, look for Apps in the left column and ‘On this day’ www.facebook.com/onthisday

how to remove Facebook memories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To turn off notifications:

  1. Go to facebook.com/onthisday
  2. Click Notifications and select Off

You can also click on ‘Preferences’ in the right-hand corner and adjust dates and people you don’t want to see. This is a function that I had no idea was there, even if I’m pretty Facebook savvy.

how to manage Facebook memories

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Q&A: Could you be addicted to social media?

Dear Sofie,

I wonder if you can be addicted to social media? Many say they are addicted, but I’m not sure they mean it. Some people are constantly begging for confirmation from their followers and friends. What is it all about? I’m not a big user of social media, so I’m definitely not addicted.

Answer

It’s a relevant question, and the answer depends on what school of thoughts you subscribe to. Addiction can be divided into two categories:

1) You can be addicted to:

  • alcohol
  • drugs
  • smoking
  • sugar, and many other things.

2) Or you can do something you know is not good for you, but you do it anyway:

  • constantly gaming
  • staying in destructive relationships, aka codependency
  • too much physical exercise
  • spending all your time watching porn online
  • shopping too much
  • always asking for more attention.

All are expressions of addiction.

It’s common that you stop with one addiction, and replace it with a new one. An addict seldom has enough. They want more and more and more. Addiction behaviors lead to excess dopamine in the brain.

Some people have described how their news feeds on Facebook were becoming an addiction.

Other social media users have admitted they got addicted to the attention and likes they got on social media, and that was driving them to do share stories and photos that would get enough attention. In the end, it was not sustainable. Being seen and heard online gives you short-term satisfaction, and for some people it can damage their self-esteem, and making them beg for even more attention.

The social media networks have designed their products to become habit-forming. The more time you spend in their networks, the better for them, they sell more advertisement. They know a lot about human behaviour, and how we act online, and they use this knowledge to make us stay longer and check in more often. They are like the food industry, which have been adding sugar into their products, plus amazing scents, and making the food crunch in a way so we cannot resist eating more. The social media networks are ‘smart’.

We want to belong to the group, and if we are away from our group for a long time we may be forgotten. Social media has that effect on us. To stay connected is a crucial human need, as is eating.

I would say that you can become addicted to social media and other online activities.  

What’s next and how to prevent it then? It’s hard to answer; I will leave this question here, and see if I can get an addiction expert to share their view.

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I read this on Everyday health

Internet Addiction Symptoms

Like other addictions, Internet addiction isn’t based on just an interest or hobby that someone enjoys.

If it’s an actual addiction, it may cause one or more of the following:

  • Negative effects on your school or job performance
  • Reduced involvement with your family or friends
  • Loss of interest in other hobbies or pursuits
  • Feelings of anxiety or depression when you’re away from your computer
  • When not on your computer, you spend most of your time thinking about getting back to it
  • Angry or defensive reaction when someone comments on your behavior
  • Taking steps to hide the extent of your computer/Internet use

 

Sofie Sandell

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Q&A: Workplace gossip, backstabbing, HR and social media

Dear Sofie,

A colleague has done something awful to me. I suffer from a medical condition that sometimes makes me feel dizzy and fatigued. I feel okay eight days out of ten. For a long time I’ve avoided posting anything about it on social media. Then I felt I had to share how I was feeling with my friends and I wrote a long post on my Facebook page and shared it privately. I know all the people I’m connected to on Facebook quite well and it was important to get it out.

On my Facebook I have five current work colleagues; it felt good to add them there; they are people I would eat lunch with at work and would ask for advice. Two days after I posted the update my manager called, she wanted a quick meeting. She showed me my post from Facebook printed out on paper and said that someone had left it for her on her desk.

My condition is not a big secret but I’m not keen to be treated differently at work because of it. I manage it in my way and if I’m feeling woozy I keep on doing my job as well as I can.

In the meeting my manager told me that our human resources (HR) team had also been sent a copy. It was posted in the internal mail. Now HR has told my manager they need to set up a formal meeting.

When I heard this I didn’t know what to say, the pain I felt inside me was huge. I’d been betrayed by one of my ‘friends’.

What I share on Facebook is my private business, it has nothing to do with my work and should not be shared with the whole world.

In the Facebook post I was also exaggerating slightly to demonstrate how I felt when I was unwell. It’s difficult to show and tell people how you are feeling when you suffer from an ongoing chronic condition and most people don’t get it at all.

If I find out who left the note for my manager and HR I will do something inappropriate. Right now I’m furious and have a lot of anger inside me.

What do you think I should do? Can HR call a meeting because of a post on Facebook? Where is my right to privacy in this matter?

Thank you, Laura.

Answer

Dear Laura,

I don’t know where you live in the world, so I will give an open answer and not refer to the law of a particular country. Also, I’m not an HR specialist or a lawyer as you know, but more of a social media philosopher. My answer will reflect on the problem itself.

Social media and sharing your personal experiences online is a phenomenon that on a larger scale has been around for a bit over ten years, but we are still not clear how to relate to it. Some workplaces have social media policies and in them it is described what is private and what is not and how to handle certain situations. This situation is pretty unique.

The meeting with HR can either be one in which they try to help you or it may be one where they try to find your soft spot. It depends on how ‘people-friendly’ they are in your organisation.
Many countries state in law that you are not allowed to discriminate against anyone who has a disability. If you are disabled, your employer should help you to do your work, not make you feel like a nuisance.

First of all, you need to ask what the meeting is about. If you are a member of a union, you can call your rep for support and they can also attend the meeting. If you’re not a member of a union, you can ask a colleague or a friend to join you. They can also help to take notes for you. Before the meeting, learn about your rights and the law where you live.

How we look at privacy depends on the culture and country we live in. In some countries, people are very open about their private details, and in others they hold them back. This is then directly reflected on social media.

Your community in your social media networks would be a meaningless collection of names if you weren’t able to share what makes you sad, worried, happy and joyful. Life is not a robot that we can programme, it is confusing and complicated.

It is no wonder people are sharing less personal updates on Facebook now. Many may have had similar experiences to you and we tend to share more intimate details on WhatsApp and similar messaging services with a limited group of friends.

I know people who limp when they walk, but I don’t have to know their whole story. If they want to share, they will share.

Some people suffer from cancer and don’t tell anyone about it. They try to keep living their lives as normally as possible during treatment and may talk about it later. How we deal with pain, medical issues and health is an individual choice.

It’s not uncommon for people who are perfectly healthy to be apathetic at work and do nothing to create a good working environment. We all have a personal responsibility in what we do, say and how we treat other people. Then there are those who are ill or feel poorly due to an ongoing condition and they still work and contribute with their energy, skills and knowledge.

Showing no concern about your work at all and not making any contribution at all is far worse than having a medical condition that may slow you down sometimes.

We can never trust for sure what a person says on social media. The post may be exaggerated to sound either better or worse.

Here are two different statuses on social media:

1) ‘I feel shit today, haven’t had a good night’s sleep for over a week 🙁 🙁 Plus on top of this, I have severe pain. It feels like I’ll never get anything done today.’

It can mean:

2) ‘Even though I suffer from insomnia at night I’m trying my best. I will keep going even though my pain is there all the time. I hope all the things on my list will get done.’

Which update will get most likes and empathy? Probably the first one. What people share on social media may be a fantasy and not real life and a serious company should never make a judgement based on a social media post only.

Another aspect of this is the health lottery. Some people are healthy all their lives and some are not. If you happen to belong to the part of the population that suffers from an illness, you should be treated with respect wherever you live in the world, whatever age you are and whatever your condition does to you.

Anyone can become seriously ill or start suffering from some weird syndrome; we have no idea what life will bring. Medical and mental health can also take many forms and we don’t have the same pain threshold, so who on the outside can judge a condition from a Facebook post?

You don’t describe the company culture, but that also plays a significant role here. The non-outspoken rules about how to treat each other matter. What your colleague did is malicious behaviour and backstabbing never leads to better work morale.

We should, of course, aim to treat each other with respect every day. However, some people are unfortunately ‘morally disabled’ in their brain and soul and they like to gossip and backstab others. They thrive on drama and conflict. The person who did this to you thought they would get something out of it. Maybe higher status or more power?

For your sanity, it can be good to write down the story and how you feel about what happened. You may or may not find out who printed out your Facebook status and for a long time you’ll have no trust in any of your colleagues. Some social media users who have had similar experiences have since removed all their work colleagues from their social media network. It was important for them to be able to continue sharing about their health issues and to allow them to be able to do this their networks became smaller. You can change your settings and only share a Facebook update with a pre-chosen group.

When you have calmed down, one alternative is to sit down with your colleagues on a one-to-one basis for a chat and ask them if it was they who did it. You may be able to read from their reactions if they are the guilty party. Then you will know who your frenemy is, the enemy who pretended to be your friend.

Hopefully the HR meeting will lead to something good. It may be the case that they are legally obliged to help you if you are unwell.

To calm your mind, I recommend you update your CV and online CV. That can give you some confidence as well. If this turns into a nasty situation, there will be a new and better opportunity for you around the corner.

Good luck and stay strong!

Sofie

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Sofie Sandell

 

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Q&A: I regret removing friends from Facebook during a random Facebook cleanse

Dear Sofie,

I did an online detox of Facebook in October 2015. I removed over 50 of my 450 connections. Now I feel s*it about it. The thing is that I met one of the contacts I removed at a work event and we said we would stay connected on Facebook to discuss a potential work project that would be great for me to be involved in.

At that moment I could not tell her that I’d removed her from my network. When I removed some of my friends I did it randomly and there was no real reason behind it, I just never see them or connect with them online. I felt I had too many friends and I thought it would be easier to manage my Facebook account if my network was smaller and included mostly people who care about me and who I also care about.

I really would like to connect with my ex-friend again so I can get involved in the project.

Now I also totally fear going to events where I might meet the people I’ve removed. Some of them work in the same industry as me, and I feel awful about my ridiculous Facebook cleanse.

Help!

Answer:
As long as there have been ways to connect and stay connected online friendships have both started and ended online. Digital breakups can be painful, confusing and really bad for friendships, networking and your career.

In your case you have put yourself in an awkward position. You can be honest and tell your friend that you’ve cleansed your Facebook network and would like to continue the work project over email, or you can pretend that it was all a mistake and connect again on Facebook, you just have to hide your shame and see what happens.

We live in a connected world and part of that involves staying connected. If there is no real reason to remove someone it’s probably better to keep connections than remove them. Many friendships lie idle for 20 years and then suddenly flourish again, you just can’t tell.

If you belong to the same community and group of friends it is complicated removing friends from Facebook or similar networks. The real power of your friendships and network come from friends of friends. Introducing a friend to a friend is one of the most generous things we can do. Many new meetings don’t lead to anything exceptional, but some meetings do. Maybe your networking and connecting skills will lead to new partnerships, marriage and other collaborations. If you remove people from your online network you are reducing the opportunities for these kinds of meetings to happen. We remember people by who knows who, and your Facebook network is a big phone book

In the past some friends on my Facebook network were removed, and I spoke to them about it (in these cases there was no reason whatsoever to disconnect). It turned out that none of us had actively removed each other; so it must have been either an accidental click or a flaw in Facebook’s infrastructure that caused us to be removed from each other’s networks. In your case, if you like acting, you can blame a new Facebook bug and cover it up in technical language so your friend won’t understand.

Some final tips:

Many people un-friend their ex-partners and their ex’s friends. For some this works well and it gives them time and space to recover from broken relationships.

If someone has hurt you and been totally rude to you in real life or online there might be reason to remove them. For your own sanity it’s good to wait until you’ve calmed down if you are considering removing someone online. Taking decisions with anger in your blood and mind can lead to devastating outcomes, so calm down first. Leave it for a week or two and then remove the person if that is what you want.

If you don’t want to see a friend’s updates on Facebook there is a way to hide their updates by ‘unfollowing’ them. Just click on their status and you can hide their updates, and in that way you are still connected.

how to unfollow on Facebook. Sofie Sandell's Social media Q&A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If for any reason you don’t want someone to be able to find you on Facebook you can block them.

how to block someone from Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some people have very high standards about who they let into their online network and others are more open. For me who I accept and let into my life changes. Some weeks I accept everyone who sends me a friend request, then for a while I’m more restrictive and don’t accept people I’ve not met. There are some requests that I always decline and those are from people who don’t have any real profile pictures, e.g. they use a picture of a cat, and people who set up a company page as a friend page.

Many people are uber-connected online and have almost reached the friends limit on Facebook, which is currently 5,000. Some of my connections have turned their personal profile into a Facebook Page to be able to have more friends, and then sets up a new profile, and for me that’s equal to removing me as a friend. To do this smoothly you have to warn your network at least one month beforehand on a regular basis that you are moving away from your old profile and give people the opportunity to connect to your new personal Facebook profile. When you’ve done that you can convert your old profile on Facebook to an open page.

One final thought, you can choose to deactivate your Facebook account for a while or forever. If you are considering doing this then it is a good idea to warn your network a while beforehand. It’s socially disturbing to find out that someone has moved away from Facebook when you want to reach out to him or her again. Make sure you give people other options for connecting with you.

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Q&A: Starting Out And Planning The Digital Strategy For a Small Business

Question: Dear Sofie,

Can I pick your brain?

I work for a company that provides business loans to SMEs in the funding sector.

I’m responsible for developing our digital strategy and I’m also part of our sales team. I really want to get my team curious and enthusiastic so that we can try out new ways of connecting with our customers.

I can see the benefit of posting ads using Facebook and Twitter. Do you think Instagram will be equally effective?

The owner of the company wants to control every message sent out on social media. I find this very frustrating! Right now that is stopping us from getting anything done.

What do you think we should do?

Answer: Where you share your messages on social media all depends on who your customers are and where they are online. Are they on Instagram?

Social media is not a magic bullet in marketing if it’s not used the right way. I would like to start by asking about your brand message, is it clear and does your team and the owner of the company agree on what it is? If not, you need to work on it. A brand message is not something personal to a member of the marketing and sales team, it’s something that has been discussed and agreed upon by everyone working within the business.

Every brand has a brand story that makes it unique. Is it easy for your customers to read or listen to your story? People want to know why you do what you do, and if your purpose matches their own values they might choose to work with you.

I would also like to ask you what you currently do to measure the effectiveness of your online activities. Do you track them on a weekly basis and have comparative data from a few years back? When you have enough data you can see trends showing which messages worked on different social media platforms.

Examples of relevant data are number of website visitors and referral sites, total followers on social media and growth of follower numbers and new enquiries over phone and email. One of the most important things to measure is the number of active members you have in your online community. You need to figure out what key performance indicators (KPIs) you need to measure, and remember that some KPIs are harder to measure, i.e. brand awareness and true reach.

When we surf online we want our experience to be smooth and easy. If the landing pages you are directing people to are not easy to use and understand you are turning potential customers/collaborators away.

The owner of the business has every right to be worried about the messages that are being sent out on social media, who wouldn’t be? If he or she is not familiar with social media and content marketing then you need to educate them about it. Fear can stop you from doing what you want to do.

Industries that are controlled by other bodies must have a procedure in place to make sure the message works and that they won’t be sued. One example is healthcare companies whose message must be compliant with what they can say and claim.

The financial industry is also regulated and you need to make sure that your team is trained to share messages that work well with these regulations. The more complex a product, the more training your team will need.

You need to gain credibility when using social media. This is achieved over time by working on your messages and exploring new ways of sharing them.

I hope this gives you some food for thought.

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Social Media Doodle Concept

 

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Q&A: Personal online recommendation

Question: I’ve been looking at my colleagues’ LinkedIn profiles and it sounds as if they have accomplished so much. Some of them have recommendations from others that sound impressive, one of them has over 100 recommendations. Can I trust that the profiles and recommendations are true?

Answer: The answer to this is both yes and no.

I heard from a recruitment consultant that she doesn’t trust all online recommendation on a person’s professional profile online. She only trusts some of them. Many recommendations are too general to actually mean anything. A person can have ten recommendations that say that they are great and wonderful, but if they don’t give any examples then they aren’t worth much to her.

There will always be people who are pretending to someone they are not online. We need to develop our awareness about false and heavily boosted profiles online. Some people also have low confidence in how to describe themselves, and therefore they leave out most of their achievements. Others are exaggerating and sounds if they can save the world from all bad things.  It’s not easy to get it ‘right’.

The whole online recruitment process is broken and too focused on keywords. You should give more cred to people who are good at telling stories about their experiences and have a blog to share that in.

hand with words on them

 

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Q&A: Social media time management

Question: How can I spend less time online and on social media? I hardly dare to admit it, but I think I’m connected to a computer or mobile device for 14 hours per day. I work with a computer, I have a smartphone and I use my computer for a course I’m taking part-time at university. I feel like I live in a cage called the web.

Answer: Social media takes time. Lots of time. Everywhere people are looking down at their devices and are connecting somehow somewhere or just reading the news, or playing games. That it takes a lot of time to keep up to date with everything is one of the negative things about digital connectivity.

Depending on the age you are in you will have a different understanding of the social media norms. For a young person it might be normal to send 200 text messages per day and for another 200 text messages is what they send in one year.

I’ve been brave and tracked my usage of my computer and smartphone for a few months. I tracked which websites I used, which applications such as word and keynote. In total I spent about 40 hours per week in front my computer and I checked my iPhone between 30-60 times per day.

Was I surprised? Not really. The reason I wanted to check how many times I looked at my phone every day was that a speaker at an event said that research showed that people check their mobile phone 220 times per day. I thought it sounded a bit much so I had to check it myself.

There are plenty of Apps out there to check your mobile phone use and if you are close to 220 times per day. The problem is that if you are using your mobile all the time is just part of your daily life, and it’s hard to measure how often you are not aware of your phone. Often I don’t close my phone and just leave it on a table not far from me when I’m working. If I measured how many times I used it it would have been one, but if I measured how many times I thought about that it is just right there it would not have been possible to measure.

To understand more about my dependency of my mobile phone I removed all my Apps that I use daily on it for ten days. I only lasted for nine days but I learned quite a lot from it. I removed all my social media Apps such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. There were no news Apps on it, I tend to check the news when I’m waiting on the tube or train. I had to keep the email App on my iPhone, I don’t think you can remove it.

For the nine days that my experiment lasted I learned that I get a lot of messages over social media that are important and when I can’t do anything with them during that day when out and about I will feel stressed when back home in the evening. I found myself sitting replying and ‘action-ing’ messages late in the evening.

You can only partly decide how the information around you is flowing into your life, it’s the people you are communication with who have part of the power. If they are using Facebook as a way to connect with you, you have to reply back to them there.

To some extend you can train your friends and network how to connect with you, but as I found in my nine day trial people use the channel they feel closest to at the time and sent the message there.

To be connected all the time is not healthy for our brains. The nerve cells in our brains need to relax every now and then. The only person who can decide when it’s time for relax time is you. One question you have to ask yourself is: ‘Can I be mindful enough to not use my mobile device or computer for a few hours every day?’ Stress management experts all over the world would say that we need to get away from the information overflow for a while every day. Ask yourself if you are up for it and what you can do about it.

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