But I’m too busy for social media…

trenchhrThis is a tribute to the TrenchHR LinkedIn group created by my friend Charlie Judy. Recently I joined and asked a question about how to respond to people who say they are too busy to use social media tools. In less than 48 hours I had a great number of responses from people who practice HR every day and have combated this issue in their own lives. Read on for some great ideas and a lively discussion on the value of social media in the life of an HR/recruiting professional!

“But I’m too busy already…”

So, when I’m pushing HR people to join LinkedIn, start reading blogs, etc., the first response is usually “but I’m too busy already” or “I don’t have time for something else.” Looking for some good responses to those comments. I can say, “Look at me!” But that really doesn’t help my case. :-) These people think they want to start doing this stuff, but they are talking themselves out of it before they even start. Suggestions?

Ben Eubanks

  • Charlie Judy, SPHR, CPA • “Your loss.”
  • Richard Sherman, SPHR • When I hear the wee voice in my head saying the same thing, I work on making the time for one thing each day. Read one blog, check one group on LinkedIn, read one article in the business section…just one thing. Folks need to see these things are helpful to them, and not really very time consuming if they are looked at as moments, not that they must become a social media guru (or do the gah-jillion things you manage to do each day, Ben). And, I would bet most of the people who say they don’t have time are doing at least 2 things right now they shouldn’t be. Someone else could do them, or they are not valuable tasks to their day. Change out one of those things to take the time to get connected. Or you can always say “your loss” – Charlie’s got that right!
  • Bonita Martin • I would recommend starting with Linkedin first. My comment to potential connections is that it is a “professional Rolodex”, a way to keep in touch with past and present professional connections. That usually gets them to at least check it out. Sharing content from groups or “liking” postings about content should get others interested, maybe even those who are too busy.
  • Dave Ryan, SPHR • So let’s assume that someone’s plate is full… is there one or two things a day that you are doing right now that you could stop doing? Are you perfoming some job ritual or other repetitive task or job that could just go away. My guess is yes. There now take that time and use it for some new media activities. Then you won’t be too busy like Ben!
  • Crystal Peterson • I’m with Bonita. Tell them to try LinkedIn first. I think it’s the most professional site and the easiest to get acclimated to. And then have them start joining groups like this and engaging in conversations, checking out the blog links, etc. I’ve found that when I start talking blogs and Twitter, their eyes glaze over. It’s like one more thing to add to an ever-growing to-do list. So I don’t do that anymore. :-). Start slow. One thing at a time. Get ’em hooked. :-)
  • William Gould, CEBS, SPHR • So is everyone here suggesting that you have plenty of time? Don’t answer that question, I already know the answer. To me, it’s not a question of time, but rather a value proposition/priority. That point at which the perceived value exceeds the little time it takes to connect with peers all over the world is when anyone will become curious enough to figure this SM thing out. To answer your question Ben, I’ve told people that I didn’t think I had the time or inclination to get engaged for quite some time. But I am sure glad that I did. This has often lead to their follow up question of, “why are you glad?”
  • Caryn Sarvich, SPHR • I like the idea of starting with LinkedIn and have found it an easier sell to colleagues as well. I’ve shared tips and shown people how easy it is to link accounts to combat “I don’t have time to check a variety of places for content” and suggested use of an RSS feeder to have favorite blog content delivered to a home page for quick review when moments pop up. I schedule time to read and digest content – before work and a few minutes at lunch. It’s professional development and it’s way less expensive than most conferences. ps- My admiration and respect for those who are consistently delivering great content!
  • Charlie Judy, SPHR, CPA • Do you all keep your social media outlets up in the background of your computers (and do you check in from time to time/participate from time to time) during normal working hours or do you get caught up only when you’re off the clock? I for one keep it up and jump in and out throughout the day – I see it as part of my job and my professional duty (not quite sure my boss would agree, but I think it’s too important not to). What do you do? Don’t worry, your boss isn’t part of this group.
  • Richard Sherman, SPHR • I don’t leave mine running in the background, but I jump in and out during most workdays, just to keep the pulse. I have Grand Plans to get really in-depth when I get home…but that often falls aside when faced with food and silly tv. But I agree, Charlie, that it’s part of our work – and a much needed connection for me as a soloist.
  • Crystal Peterson • I keep mine up and running in the background and try to jump on and check it throughout the day. I don’t always have time to chat but I try to click through links to open them so I can get back to reading them at some point and RTing them out. Doesn’t always work but that’s my goal. :-) I also see it as part of my job and professional duty. I’ve learned so much from my social media peeps and have gotten some great ideas from the blogs, the chats, and the off-line conversations. It is worth the time and the effort!
  • William Gould, CEBS, SPHR • It depends. If I am doing super exciting work at my desk – like building compensation and budget files (I apologize to those who actually like numbers) – then I will keep things open for an occasional and welcome distraction. Most of the time I will check in during the day from my iPhone. I decided a long time ago that I was not going to play the clock watching, hours counting game. I get paid to deliver results, which almost always includes work from home and on my days off. So, I don’t see a need to apologize to anyone for checking Twitter during the day, or reading my favorite blogs while I eat a sandwich. But, I also have a great boss who doesn’t worry about that kind of thing.
  • Etienne Besson • To get back to the initial question, I noticed lately that more and more people start showing an interest in social media. Their mean concerns are indeed “I don’t have time for this”, but also “what’s it good for?”. One colleague who wouldn’t dream of using Twitter or Facebook was very impressed when he realized how easy it is to reconnect to former co-workers via LinkedIn. The other thing I usually try to “sell” is that a LinkedIn profile with more than just your name and current job is a great mix between public CV and business card. This is becoming important since more and more candidates and potential business partners get used to checking you out online before the first meeting. Like Ben said, “look at me” isn’t the best strategy, so at first I don’t recommend joining Twitter or following blogs, although I’m always itching to ;-)
  • Stephanie Kempa • Especially for those “in the trench”, we are busy. Too busy for social media, too busy for exercise, too busy to breathe some days. So the best advice is do what you can, even if it’s only a little. The rationale I give is that social media is emerging fast, and it will be part of the workplace. As HR professionals, you have to engage in it now, so you can understand it well enough to work with it, to leverage it, or to prevent it from causing issues in the workplace. And I ignore advice that says if you can’t blog (or tweet) often, don’t bother. I have plenty to read in the meantime if my favorite bloggers aren’t posting and tweeting. Charlie, on your second question I keep the work-related stuff running in the background and check on occasion as a mini-break from what I’m doing. Like William, I’m in a more results-oriented work environment.

Click here to follow the discussion or to add your own thoughts (must join the group to contribute). (Disclaimer: you have to be an “in the trenches” HR pro to join the group. Charlie is upholding the purity of the concept and has the backing of his audience on that!)

Do you have a reason of your own for not using the available social tools? I’d love to discuss!

2 thoughts on “But I’m too busy for social media…

  1. Tim Gardner

    I’ve mostly dabbled for over a year now, but find that if I commit to at least 30 minutes in the evening, I can get a pulse on what’s going on, comment on at least a blog or two, and get a few ideas for my occasional blogging.
    I may check a couple of blogs at lunch of I am eating at my desk, then it’s back to the trenches.

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