Leaders and Information Overload
In today’s world of work, we have to
- keep up with an overwhelming amount of information
- scan trends and forecasts and
- incorporate the needs of multiple stakeholders into workable solutions.
Our job is to make sense out of it all in order to make work life easier for those we lead. Since the world changes fast, we have to learn just as fast… and share it fast with our employees…and then adapt to what we’ve learned. Social media has become the fastest information media available, tackling emerging issues long before mainstream publications do.
Five Important Reasons to Engage in Social Media
1. Not Embracing Social Media is a Risk
In today’s world that is connected at light speed, refusing to adapt to new communication channels means choosing to be out of the loop. I am able to say this with confidence because I almost missed the social media information wave. Two and a half years ago I said out loud (quite confidently) “I’ll never go on Twitter.” My patient technology and learning advisor Allison, said “Didn’t you say you were blogging?” I confirmed that yes, I was blogging. What she said next changed my understanding of social media and information. She said “People are organizing and accessing their blog subscriptions on Twitter using their smart phones. How will they find you?”
2. Social Media Helps Us Adapt
While some people still think that social media is one more thing to add to their to-do list that they don’t have time for, I now know that social media is a great tool for keeping up with changes in the world, changes in my customer’s needs, changes in the emerging knowledge across disciplines, and changes in how we define leadership and learning.
Social media is much more than “one more thing to do” – it’s how we do what we do in an information-connected society – and it’s an efficient filter for finding relevant information.
Searching social media platforms using multiple search terms, we can quickly access the intersection of any two, three or more fields. Learning something completely new at that intersection helps us expand our thinking, makes our work better, helps us serve our customers better, and helps our work be more relevant in today’s business context.
3. The Newest Information is Freely Shared There First
A lot of people are trying to make sense out of the sea of information.
They are sharing what they’ve learned so that we don’t have to re-invent the wheel.
They are sharing so that we can solve global problems together.
I am a social media convert who is enjoying getting insights about new research and feedback on my work from people around the globe. Social media channels shorten my research time, help me be better at what I do, and keep me in close touch with my customers, clients and readers.
4. It’s a Learning Connection to the “Global Brain”
We can even think about social media as a conduit to the “global brain.” Dean Pomerleau, a researcher at Intel labs Pittsburgh links Twitter to brain research on his blog ‘Thoughtful Cog” in a post called “Twitter and the Global Brain.”
Imagine a Twitter user as a neuron. He/she makes the equivalent of a synapse with each of his/her followers. When a Twitter user sends out a tweet, it is the equivalent of a neuron firing. Followers who receive the tweet decide whether to propagate the activity by retweeting the message, in a sense by deciding whether they too should fire in response to the tweet…
On a macro scale, this will represent the equivalent of thoughts emerging in the Global Brain, in the form of rapid, coordinated firing of millions of these virtual neurons. These thoughts will propagate and potentially trigger other thoughts in the network.
5. It’s a Hub Connecting You to the Meaningful Information You Need
Social media is really a hub that connects you to the information you need, not in a random sense, but in a way that has meaning. Whatever topic has piqued your curiosity is likely being studied by somebody else somewhere in the world. Other people who are curious about what you’re curious about have already researched it and are recommending the next article or book or blogger that you can learn from.
Social media is more than just noise, and doesn’t have to add to information overload. Its connections and knowledge-sharing help us cut through the ocean of information out there so that we can learn and grow. Those connections help us understand this global community that we find ourselves a part of.
Have you jumped into the social media information wave yet?
For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner About 7 Lenses Info@LeadinginContext.com @leadingincontxt @7Lenses © 2011 Leading in Context LLC
Thanks for this post Linda. I think you’re spot-on about just how important social media is. That is, if people see the need to change. If they don’t, many will see their businesses losing profits, and professional growth suffers too.
At Lead Creation, our work is so satisfying because we get to facilitate the growth of leadership within companies that know they need to change – and want an effective way to do it.
For your question Justin, “What is social media leadership?” – that’s what we’re up to. Leadership is as it always was, but it has intensified. A good leader needs to be flexible, and on top of their game. Show them how it’s done, and help them do the same:
*Lead by example: model innovation and creativity in social media (and show your clients how to do that!) –thus:
*Help your customers become leaders: empower them through social media with more specific choices for their specific needs.
These days there are even more opportunities for growth and that growth is more and more rapid. Which is why we see companies falling by the wayside – and why we’ve been so excited to help them out of it.
Thanks again for a great post, I’ve really enjoyed the insights.
Thanks so much for your comment Justin. It is challenging to adapt to social media and lead people through it successfully at the same time. I think your point is timely. I’ll start gathering resources for a blog post about social media leadership!
Great article. Lately I’ve been asking the question, what is social media leadership? It’s all still very wide open, I think.
A very clear, concise and helpful article. Enjoyed and will be sharing it, thanks.