In a recent piece by Dr. Alexandra Samuel, published in The Wall Street Journal in early April of this year, she laid out a number of steps for executives to embrace social media rather than feel burdened by it and its inherent time stealing nature for those with busy schedules.
She suggests that it’s important for executives to not worry about the potential awkwardness the platform could bring, to not think of it as a burden, or to be reminded of past tech problems that went past schedule and over budget. Rather, she opines, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter, and blogging present an excellent opportunity for leadership quality strengthening.
The good doctor brings six suggestions to her piece. I’ve used her six points verbatim but will summarize or quite possibly go off on my own tangents.
Dr. Samuel is well aware of the time that is required for each and suggests that you begin with just one.
Build a Leadership Dashboard:
Subscribe to a range of blogs, columnists and news searches that offer insights into new leadership models, profiles of high-functioning executives, academic research on leadership and summaries of the latest business books. Dr. Samuel suggests that this is best done with an iPad aggregator like Flipboard or Google Reader. The doctor believes that using these tools on your evening commute is the best way to multitask. Dr. Samuel is not a medical doctor so she didn’t mention that the bathroom also provides an ideal time to multitask.
Dr. Samuel suggests using a diagram to prioritize your goals and specifically the mind mapping tools available at Mindmeister. For project collaboration tools she recommends Basecamp and OneTask. In what I can’t help but think of as completely contradictory piece of advice regarding staying focused, she touts Pinterest. She must be using a different Pinterest than most people.
“Set a Twitter account to follow all your direct reports, key clients and trusted colleagues (the ones who don’t abuse your time and attention).” Dr. Samuel believes that it is also best to tell the people that matter most to use Twitter Direct Messages. She opines that 140 characters is the best way to communicate. Dr. Samuel presumably doesn’t get invited to too many dinner parties.
Join a CEO-cial Network:
“Build a CEO-cial network: a set of five to 15 respected and trusted executives, leaders and advisers whose knowledge, insight and loyalty will have a meaningful impact on your own professional capacity and performance.”
Make this list of people the first thing you look at when you catch up on any of your social networks, so that you know what they are thinking about, reading, and dealing with in their own working lives.”
While that may seem a touch creepy, it isn’t the worst advice.
Build a Golf Course:
Not literally of course. Rather, Dr. Samuel believes that if you are using social media it is imperative that you stake out a place that is genuine downtime. Whether its Words With Friends or a blog where you detail how you prefer to abuse waiters and waitresses.
Amplify Your Voice:
If you’re constantly sending “read this!” emails to your inner circle or staff, start tweeting those links instead: The articles and posts you consider must-reads will be fascinating to your Twitter followers.
In an even grander display of narcissism, Dr. Samuel suggests recording all your speeches and posting them to YouTube. Not narcissistic enough? Try blogging excerpts of all your “job well done” emails you send each week.
Dr. Samuel is director of the Social and Interactive Media Centre at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].