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?