Lately, I’ve been hearing too many people talk about what people must do. If you start a blog, you must post three or four times every week. Your company must engage in conversations on . Everyone must have a newsletter.

Lately, I’ve been hearing too many people talk in absolutes about what people or companies must do. If you start a blog, you must post three or four times every week. Your task list list must have pop-up notifications or alerts. Your company must engage in conversations on <insert favorite social media web site here>. Everyone must have an email newsletter.

OK, you get the idea. I like a more pragmatic approach. No one response or solution is going to be right for every situation, every person or every organization, and any “expert” who uses this type of absolutist thinking is probably not be someone you should rely on for advice.

Yes, I provide quite a bit of advice on blogs and for clients, but I try to show how my approach has worked for me or for my clients while giving people the flexibility to come up with a solution that works best for their needs. Many of these tips work for some people, but not for others. For example, my recent inbox zero post prompted this tweet from fellow WebWorkerDaily author, Doriano: “Inbox zero is just like the Loch Ness monster, bigfoot and honest politicians… don’t fall for it folks.” Obviously, he’s not a fan of inbox zero, but he probably has a system for managing and processing email that works just as well for him.

I like to try out a variety of approaches and see what sticks over the long term. When I switched from a PC where I used Outlook for email and tasks to a Mac, I had to find a new task management system. I probably tried a dozen different applications before finally settling on Hiveminder, which is working well for me, but I still continue to make slight tweaks to my system to become even more efficient at managing my to-do list. Plenty of friends made suggestions, and I read many online reviews of various task systems, but ultimately, I had to pick the one that was right for me and for my situation.

This is true in social media, too. No one approach will work for everyone, and people or companies shouldn’t be pressured into joining too many social web sites, especially if they aren’t prepared to spend the time required to maintain their presence. Businesses and people don’t have infinite amounts of time or money, so we need to carefully choose how we allocate our resources. The exact mix will probably be different for your business than for mine.

Don’t let consultants, experts, bloggers or friends bully you into a particular solution. Think about what you want and pick an approach that works for you.

How do you decide what works best for you?

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. Doriano “Paisano” Carta Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    Excellent piece Dawn and I’m not just saying that because you mentioned me. :) Honestly… I agree with your point here totally. Too many gurus and pundits and experts are trying to dictate how things should be done. While we all share our thoughts and opinions on how things “could” be done, that’s a far cry from telling folks that they’re doing it wrong. Oy Vey.

    As for inbox zero, yes I am guilty as charged for that statement (tweet) you shared. It was during a frustrating moment when I wasn’t on speaking terms with inbox zero. I have to confess that I still attempt to accomplish inbox zero from time to time. There, I said it. When I let it get out of control I pretend to be against it. I’m back on the band wagon… for now.

    I like hiveminder and use it for Dadomatic tasks which is great for groups. For my own personal task management I love google tasks because I can get to it so many different ways…from my iPhone, the web, and even a desktop app. I prefer the sidebar method because it can stay open as you surf.

    Again, as you said, to each his own. That’s what I love about all this stuff. One size does not fit all and nor should it. This is the modular web where we can pick and choose what we want or need and plug it into our system.

    Good food for thought.


  2. Since I started blogging in 2000, I’ve always said to people that blogging isn’t for everyone. And if you do blog, figure out your audience and what works for you.

    Twitter has no rules. Some people think it’s OK to thank for every tweet while others don’t. Who can say which side is right?

    Granted, there are general rules that can make a difference. I think many people agree that talking about yourself too much can be a turn off. People who blog once a month won’t likely have the same kind of traffic as those who blog once a week. But there are exceptions to every rule.

    So you’re absolutely right, Dawn. We need to think for ourselves. It’s one thing to read advice from gurus, but it’s another to follow them blindly without questioning.

  3. A good consultant won’t mandate from on high, but develop goals together and within.

    But it’s like anything. There’s basic “best” or “good” practices, and then what you or your organization can do; where the realistic intersection of time, money, and value occur (which many tend to forget). And following some “blog x per week” or “tweet x” mandates doesn’t get there.

  4. When writing posts, always tend that they are in some way “your” notes,

    i.e: not only usable by others

  5. I use trial and error then blog about it. I think for anyone to try to make money online they have to be a little fearless and be willing to learn from their mistakes. As cheesy at it sounds “Mistakes are opportunities to learn” it is also very true.

    So trial and error I think is the best way to go :)

Comments have been disabled for this post