Social Media and E-Mail – your tools or your master?

April 17, 2010

It’s a beautiful, but cold, spring morning here in southwest Michigan.  Still kind of hard for a Southern boy to understand freezing temps in April.

I have become increasingly aware of how I often allow my e-mail and social media tools to actually become my “master”.  I find that too often I spend my day reacting to e-mail, Facebook messages, Tweets, and so on.  Often, before I realize it, large chunks of my day, usually the most creative chunks, have been spent in a totally reactive mode.  So now our leadership team is talking about how to deal with a “culture of interruption” and build in systems that allow us to be more creative and productive.  And to build other things into the rhythm of our lives, such as the Personal Retreat Day I blogged about, into our lives.

Two blog posts that might interest you are on this subject.  the first one is Seth Godin’s post this morning:  Incoming!

“Perhaps the biggest change in your worklife is one that snuck up on you.

Every morning, before you even take off your slippers, there’s a pile of incoming work. You might not think of it as work, because it doesn’t involve stuffing envelopes or making sales calls, but it’s part of your career and your job.

That email, Facebook and message queue is a lot longer than it used to be. For some people, it’s now a hundred or even a thousand distinct social electronic interactions a day. It’s as if a genie is whispering in your ear, “I have an envelope, and it might contain really good or really bad news. Want to open it?”

The relevant discussion here: are the incoming messages helping?

If you’re actually going to do the work, the real work, the work of producing and shipping the things that matter, I’m afraid you’re going to have to be brutally honest about whether this is merely a fun habit or actually a useful lever.”

Read the entire post – true to form Seth Godin packs a lot of punch into a few words.

The other post’s title from the Social Media Examiner blog, speaks for itself and is worth a read:  Study Highlights Growing Social Media Addiction

So, a question – are your e-mail and social media levers you use to make you more creative and productive or are they your “masters” determining what you do for the day as well as your mood?  Also, what disciplines have you developed to keep them tools and not masters?