On Friday, I sat down with someone I work with who made a prediction that someday soon there will be a backlash from all the time spent using twitter. His argument was that he doesn’t see the value of these interactions during office hours and that it seems like a distraction from the work at hand. During our conversation I defended social media, especially twitter, but I have been thinking about it ever since.
I believe that interacting with people in your field is very helpful to accomplish daily goals related to work. I also believe that interacting with people outside of your field can help give perspective to the same goals. Here is where I am having trouble: is a constant stream of interactions from both groups at the same time helpful? Especially when they are trying to feed you new articles and videos and enticing things to view. Personally, I follow all the “cool” tweeple like @MackCollier and @guykawasaki, but I am not in PR and am not a full time entrepreneur. I follow tech superstars too, but is my colleague right? Is all of this just a distraction from my day job?
With my MBTI training and my post on extroverts vs. introverts still fresh in mind, today I will defend social media as an outlet an extrovert needs to be successful at all times. I am an extrovert and sitting in an office by myself or working at home can seem draining. I need to know there are people out there talking. I may tune them out. I may listen in here or there, but that chatter keeps my mind revved. The little tweet notifications from TweetDeck don’t always drive me to see what’s going on, but it reminds me that I am not the only one connected. I feed off of the 140 character bites that my friends give me and use that energy to deliver good work.
Of course there are situations where I already have a lot of going on around me and my focus is being tested. In those cases, I turn off TweetDeck and disconnect from the social media world, but I have a feeling I am not the only one to do this.
So, is social media a distraction? You tell me. Do you find social media takes away your focus from work or do you feed off the buzz like I do? Is your MBTI type preference for introversion or extroversion? Do you think it makes a difference?