“Where do we draw the line? At what point are we becoming too social and therefore non-productive?”
This question was posted today on my board in our internal social intranet, in a discussion on the level of social presence by people with an ambition to present themselves as social business consultants. I guess you've heard it before, or similar questions implying that social equals non-productive and can only be tolerated in limited doses. “Social media and social intranets are a waste of time”
Last time your talkative friend phoned you and talked with you for a little less than an hour about nothing, did you blame the phone? Or maybe your friend? Or maybe yourself for not being able to cut them short?
Or the last time the neighbour caught you just outside your door and kept you busy listening to their complaints about the other neighbour's pet?
Chatterboxes waste our time if we let them. Whatever the medium and context.
I use our social intranet to communicate:
- I ask and answer questions openly, to maximize the possibility of additional contributions as well as re-use of answers in the future by others with the same issue
- I share knowledge and experience so others can build on mine instead of starting from scratch
- I reuse knowledge and experience from others for the same reason
- I scan the flow of updates on boards, blogs, wikis, bookmarks, activities to maximize the potential of stumbling over inspiration or discovering knowledge I didn't even know I could benefit from
- I collaborate in communities and activities (task management) with efficiency and with the time zones, reducing the need for us to work off hours just because the people involved happen to be on another continent
Wasting time? Rather working efficiently and maybe investing some time for the good of both my colleagues and myself.