Who has time for social media?

July 7, 2008 at 10:53 am 1 comment

I was scanning LinkedIN Answers the other day and noticed one too many gratuitous questions (like, “What’s your favorite color?”) and answers (like, “aquamarine”). Often, the answers were coming from the people who are listed as This Week’s Top Experts.

LinkedIN is a networking site for “professionals.” You’d think that professionals would want to put their best foot forward, make a good impression, start new relationships, enhance old ones.

I could understand making the effort to build one’s personal brand by helping some people out, making a good impression. I couldn’t understand what positive ROI would come from being silly in a networking context. And where do professionals get the time? So I asked a question: What do you think about people who have nothing to do but answer LinkedIN questions?

Some of the answers were interesting, especially one. It was a private message sent by a friend and former colleague. She gets no credit in the linkedIN community as an expert for sending a private message, but I value her thoughtful response.

Barri Carian, owner of Carian Consulting and CEO group chair for Vistage International said, “My view shifted once I listened to this….” and she included a link to a video of Clay Shirkey’s presentation at the Web 2.0 Expo SF 2008.

His thesis is a bit over the top, but he offers a reasonable answer to the question about finding the time. He says, essentially, that it’s the time earlier generations spent watching sitcoms to dull the pain of urban work and suburban living in the post WWII era. It makes sense. What’s left is the question about personal branding: Are these “experts” helping or hurting themselves?

Time will tell, but I suspect that it depends on the quality of their answers. Those who truly aim to help others solve business or career-related problems will enhance their brands and benefit in turn. Those who answer silly questions with silly answers will not.


Entry filed under: marketing, social media. Tags: .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. tomob  |  July 7, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Hi Ken:

    I answer some Linkedin questions – but not as many as some of my peers! I also tweet, blog and comment a fair bit.

    I use the time I used to spend watching TV and surfing the web to network and learn.




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