“Facebook and social media actually makes you more productive”(1)

funny-facebookHmmm.  That was a very provocative statement to make to those of us always looking for an excuse to be on social media of one sort or another!  It is also probably the first time I have ever heard the words “social media” and “productive” in the same sentence.  In either case, while the author may be stretching it, it does not hurt to look at how social media can make you more productive.  The grocery store example on pages 4-5 of Socailnomics might be a little on the over exaggerated side but there have definitely been times when I have put out a request for help on Facebook and have gotten quick and great responses – especially when looking for help when something goes wrong with my house, car, computer, etc.  Referrals from friends for services are some of the best out there, especially when you know and respect the person the information is coming from.  While shopping for a prom dress for my daughter last year, she would have me take pictures of her in it.  Then she would sit there and goof around on her phone, or so I thought.  Little did I know that all her friends were on Twitter commenting on which dress she should pick.  I guess a mom’s opinion just doesn’t count anymore!  Needless to say, the responses were within a minute of posting so it really did not take any time at all for her to make her decision – a HUGE time saver for me!

I also loved the comment “We no longer search for the news – it finds us” (Qualman, 2009, p. 9).  This is how I look at Twitter these days.  I am following companies or news sources that I find interesting.  As long as I have my feed open, I will get the news as soon as it is posted.  If the post sounds interesting, I will click on the link to read the full story.  While some might find it distracting, I have learned to filter out what I really don’t want to look at, or I can tune it out altogether when I am focusing on other things.  At the same time, when I am able to glance at it, I can easily pick the stories I want to read more about and ignore the rest.  When I search through regular websites, I most definitely spend a lot more time trying to find the news I really want to read.  I will take the hand picked twitter feeds any day.


If there is anything we can learn from our readings this week it is that the world has been and always will be a changing, dynamic place.  I am eternally grateful for any and all forms of technology that have come along in recent years.  If a company, or a career/technical field cannot keep up with the changes, then evolution has done its job. Survival of the fittest at its best!

(1)  Qualman, E. (2009). Socialnomics. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, NJ.

Posted on September 30, 2013, in Literacy, mobile, Social Media. Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Hi Jen,
    I know, isn’t it amazing that we could actually consider social media productive? Probably not when it first erupted on the scene, but now that we are more familiar with it, it has some great uses other than wasting time. Your example of your daughter shopping for a prom dress and getting feedback via Twitter is a great example and I bet if we’re starting asking around, others would have similar examples. I am no exception, if you’d like to hear about it…

    Recently, my washing machine went kaput. More accurately, it went ka-splash! I have a front loader and when I opened the door, water came gushing out. I ran the drain cycle and tried again. More gushing water. When my husband got home from work, we took the laptop into the laundry room and found a YouTube video showing how to remove the front panel and clean the filter which is the typical cause for improper draining. The video showed the exact same model that we had and we followed the directions to the tee. Sure enough, the filter was clogged with lint, cat hair (courtesy of three cats) and enough money to buy a cup of joe at Starbucks. That little four-minute YouTube video saved us at least $75 from a service repairman!

  2. I too find that one of the most productive ways I use social media, especially Facebook, is asking for recommendations for services, restaurants, or events and for troubleshooting methods for technology or device issues. It’s amazing how many responses I can get in just a few minutes, and some of them come from people I would never have thought to ask.

    I love your example of the news coming to you. It sounds like the fact that you’ve put in the time to follow the companies and topics that interest you is increasing the productivity factor of social media for you.

    I am really impressed that you can tune out the non relevant tweets and posts and also ignore Twitter altogether when working on something else. Whenever I have social media up on my computer screen, I find it hard to focus on anything else and I feel compelled to multitask, which generally means more attention to Facebook and less attention to what I should be concentrating on.

  3. Hi Jennifer,

    I am glad you discussed the issue of news “finding” us nowadays. I watch CNN for at least a few minutes everyday to make sure I am current on the “important stuff,” but rely on my friends (who are typically stay-at-home moms with more free time than me) to share the “interesting stuff” on Facebook. So, as a result, news articles “find” quite regularly. For instance, a friend of mine recently shared an article about the grocery store chain Aldi having horse meat in some of its products. A different friend, just today, shared an article about a new STD, a “super HIV” virus, that originated in Portland, OR. I would have never read/heard of either of these news stories without having a Facebook!

    Thanks for your post!

    • Now that you mention it, I think I use CNN and Facebook for the same type of news you do. Especially with a couple friends who seems to be on FB all day long – they actually post some interesting stuff news wise (usually, but not always!).

  4. Hi, Jennifer,
    I enjoyed your title and the fact that you made me think about the provotative nature of it. It is hard for many to see a productive nature in Facebook and/or other forms of social media, but your comments this week really allowed me to consider this point. For instance, I, too, was captured by the idea Qualman provided to us about the news finding us. Strange as it sounds in these days, I still find I get my news in mostly the traditional formats: print, television, and radio. But news does find me on the Internet. I still use my AOL account for email, and when I access that email account, I always encounter news first. The running news stories get my attention during my first point of contact with AOL, and I find I am pulled into the news streaming in via the AOL NOW! and Latest Headlines on the homepage.

    You also mentioned how social media offers you the ability to save time. I found that quite interesting. We use social media these days to seek out information, and at the same time, information comes to us–saving time when we might not have expected it. Your example with your daughter made me laugh, and I wonder about the time my daughter is old enough to want to buy a prom dress; I suspect I might encounter the same experience (and I will long for the days when Mom’s opinion did matter.) That was such a great real-life example.

    Finally, your comment about evolution and survival of the fittest as it relates to companies to keep up with social media also struck home with me. Our college has a Facebook for students, faculty are using Twitter in the classrooms (along with blogs), and now Weebly has made its entrance as the next source of faculty webpages. Those are just some examples that fit the point you are making. Without adaptation, the company would be static.

    I enjoyed your post.

    • Please excuse the typo in line one: edit to “provocative”….I can’t see a place to edit my comment.

    • Not sure how old your daughter is but I can guarantee that unless she is buying one in the next two years, it will be something completely different than Twitter. Teenagers are VERY fickle with their choices and get bored easily. They always seem to be looking for the next best thing – probably to stay one step ahead of us!

  5. Twitter really is a great example of how the news “comes to us”. I follow nj.com (I’m in New Jersey) and I check Twitter before getting in the car because I know they post major traffic alerts. The news “comes to me” and I can avoid sitting in a traffic jam, which makes me more productive! I have a commute that takes me an hour on a good day, so I really want to avoid traffic jams if possible.

    I agree it does seem a little over the top to say social media makes us more productive, but when you look at the way we use it sometimes, it’s true. The example in my blog this week of YouTube showing me how to change filters in my car and the comment above that shows how YouTube helped fix a washing machine saving money are all ways social media makes us more productive. I’d like to see a comparison though of how much time is spent on YouTube browsing how-to videos versus the silly videos that make us laugh.

  6. Nice detail about your daughter turning to Twitter for advice about her prom dress! I’ve noticed many of my current freshman love Twitter & Instagram and are “over” Facebook. Some have even said it’s because their parents aren’t on the newer social networks, so there’s more freedom. Maybe take that as a warning? 🙂

    Great discussion in your post and already in these comments about Qualman’s point about the news finding us. While I still have cable, I primarily watch Netflix & ignore the 10pm news all together. I catch up with the latest headlines via Twitter or via my BBC News and Huffington Post apps. I could go on and on about the way web 2.0 tools have impacted the way we consume news, but I fear it would steer us off tech comm; however, I encourage you all to check out any of the reports Pew Internet publishes. Here’s the link to their News-specific ones http://pewinternet.org/Topics/Activities-and-Pursuits/News.aspx?typeFilter=5, but other “activities and pursuits” like Education, Health, Science, and Work might be helpful as we approach the final paper.

    • I had to laugh when you said the freshman like twitter and other newer social media because their parents aren’t on it. My daughter got caught saying something inappropriate on Twitter by a friend of mine and I had to have a talk with her. She then proceeded to make some other comment on Twitter about how parents are now invading “their” space again. I proceeded to prove to her that I have been on Twitter longer and have more followers than her! She got pretty quiet after that!

      • Good for you! Yes, when I brought up my Twitter page in class they seemed impressed with how many tweets and followers I had. I joined soon after my academic job search in 2008, so I’ve enjoyed it long before Ashton Kutcher and Oprah told people about it! 🙂

  7. evelynmartens13

    Yes, the news definitely finds me, which is good because I’ve tuned out all my previous ways of getting new – tv, radio, or hard copy newspapers. Yet, there it is, still, everyday when I open my Yahoo page. I often think that I should be more discriminating about what I read and to look for a different perpsective, but I just can’t seem to find the time — there’s that word again, time!

    That was a fun story about your daughter and Twitter. Do you know if she made a decision based on some consensus whe received via feedback?

    Based on the blogs this week, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to use Internet/FB better as a problem-solving resource. Lori’s GE-$75-saving video convinced me. We recently had a condensor part on our ac unit overflow and I, in vain, tried to find a manua to explain what we might do short of calling a repair person, but to no avail, so that sort of felt like a bust. But I will try again next time something comes up!

    Nice post.

    • She made the decision based on WHO replied. She didn’t agree with some of the opinions! At the end of the day, I think she knew which one she wanted but just needed to hear it from her friends! Typical girl! I was just glad it was the same one I wanted her to get – I really did not like her second choice!

  8. smitht09052013

    I definately let the news find me these days. I treat my Facebook feed the same way you treat Twitter. If a story pops up and looks interesting, I’ll read it. If I want to know more, I will seek out more information about the subject and do my own research.
    With working, going back to school, and having a child, I don’t have the time to keep up on current events like I used to. I need to be able to find out about things quickly, and I don’t always have time to dig through all the stories on a news site. Maybe letting my Facebook friends filter my news isn’t the best idea, but it still seems better than being completely uninformed about current events.
    Facebook lets me do some things more productively, but definately not everything more productively.

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