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I woke up this morning with my clients on my mind.  My first thought, as always, was “what more can I do for them today?” I’m always trying to figure out what else can I bring to the table for them that will move them toward the success they envision for themselves.

My main purpose as a VA is to aid my clients in their business and sometimes personal lives.  Whether they are the struggling writer or artist or the high-powered coach.  I am there as the path clearer because once the path is clear, the entire road becomes visible and they are now able to walk that road without a glitch, without stress, and not having to catch their breath.  The labor of the journey is gone.  They can finally only focus on what’s in front of them and not those time thieves and road blockers that are laying in wait because I’ve already handled them.  Because of that clear path they can once again focus on the beauty of the journey; something they may have forgotten all about.

So, I woke up in the morning thinking what can I clear for them today.  I am on the hunt for anything that is cluttering up their road or anything that poses the possibility of being a path blocker.   I get excited just thinking about it now. I   love love love helping my clients.  I love being the problem solver.  I love being that second set of eyes and ears for them.  And when my clients tell me I am a life saver, I am filled with joy.  All is right with the world.

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I was reading a Facebook post today from Stacy Brice.  She posed the question “…does it feel better to you to live a full, rich life where things happen at a soft, satisfying pace, or where there’s a constant push and pull?” I immediately responded that I preferred my life to be soft and satisfying.  I’ve had enough push and pull to last a lifetime and I’m looking forward to something different.

She then clarified her post and explained that she was in fact talking about our “Social Media ‘standard'” as it related to the role of valuable content in our Social Media experience.  The reality is that everyone in social media (including me) advises others that they must “consistently put out valuable content” and that is the way to build community and establish themselves as a thought leaders and thereby gain a customer base.  While that is true and I believe it in totality, if we are honest (okay, if I am honest) I’d have to admit finding and adding great content to share is  sometimes tiring and pressure packed.   There are times when I feel if I haven’t added anything of  ‘value’ for the people in my network that I am somehow not being an “upstanding citizen” in my Social Media neighborhood so to speak.  But when Stacy posed this question I realized I was not the only one who felt this way.

Now, I’m supposed to be a Social Media Specialist teaching others the value of SM, so how can I say that sometimes it’s stressful?  Well it is.  To have to find valuable content is not a bad thing at all and when I find something that I feel will help, I am really excited to share.   But when it becomes a requirement and I find yourself reading through mounds and mounds of information to find a jewel, the reading becomes laborious and the pressure is on.

The solution (or perhaps MY solution)?  Start having an organic social media relationship.  Don’t forget to bring who I am outside of  the business owner or thought leader.  I would say continue to be you.  I know I will. And I will continue to be more than willing to share any and all content I feel would benefit others.  But I will not be chained to the notion that each and every time I am in a Social Media network, I must be sharing content.

Sometimes just being me is value enough! 🙂

To be someone who can multitask is something we are all proud to say we are.  This is a quality most people look for in those they are thinking of doing business with whether as an employee or partner.  A person who masters this is a go-getter and highly productive.  I thrive on being able to do more than one thing at a time.  This is me:  I can type, boss my children around, be on the phone, and check my email on my Blackberry all at once.  I am super productive!  To me, simply checking email while talking on the phone is light stuff.  Please, I can do that with my eyes closed.  We all can, right? Anyone worth their grain of salt can do this.  If you can’t manage that you might as well pack up and go home.

Oh really?

I just finished reading a fascinating article by Joe Robinson in the March issue of Entrepreneur magazine.  This article said, among other things, that the distractions of email has a direct impact on our ability to get things done.  It challenged the notion of multitasking.  Because of the way our brain functions, Mr. Robinson states, the constant checking of email is not the behavior of an on point worker but rather is a “sign of a distracted employee who misguidedly believes he can do multiple tasks at one time.”  He goes further into the science behind this theory as it relates to voluntary and involuntary attention.  Here are some interesting points raised in the article:

  • Technology is an addiction.
  • Email, Blackberries, instant messaging, and cell phones are saboteurs disguised as productivity tools.
  • Each day employees check email 55 times and use Instant Messaging 77 times.
  • The more you check your messages the more you feel the need to.
  • It takes 15 minutes to refocus after an interruption.

I won’t write the article over because the job has already been done.  Read it and see if you recognize yourself as I did.  Are his points valid? Interesting? Silly?   I have to say, I found myself agreeing more than I disagreed and I began to wonder what impact our beloved Twitter, Facebook and other social networking activities have on our ability to pay attention.  I’d love to hear your opinion.

When I first heard about Facebook and Twitter I immediately discounted them.  I thought they were for my son and his college friends.  I had no interest or desire to be part of that “scene.”  I was an adult and professional for heaven’s sake!  I had a LinkedIn profile and that was as far as I planned to venture into the Social Media realm.

That was until I enrolled in AssistU and took part in their intensive 20 week Virtual Training Program and had to delve into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube as part of the training requirements.  I went kicking and screaming.  I simply wasn’t interested in knowing when someone was going shopping.  I didn’t want to know about the minutia of their day.   Twitter and Facebook bothered me. I was annoyed with what I considered so much inconsequential information.  Handling my life was enough.

When I thought of YouTube I immediately thought of cute little babies dancing to the latest songs, or gotcha! videos.  Neither of those described me or piqued my interest.  That just wasn’t me.

That was then.

Today I embrace Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and have used  my LinkedIn account more effectively.  Now, in keeping things honest and transparent, I haven’t uploaded any videos to YouTube but that’s simply because I haven’t developed what I consider good enough content to put on YouTube.

What I do know is Social Media and Social Networks are not just for kids.  At all. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and many of the geo-based social networks are about community:  building community and being part of a community.  And best of all, the community you create is of your own choosing.

If you are a Virtual Assistant as I am, Social Media is essential.  Actually, it is an essential part of any business.

Here are some quick facts:

Facebook:

  • Has more than 400,000,000 active users (that’s million!)
  • 50% (200,000,000) users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • Bypassed Google as the number 1 US site.

Twitter:

  • At the end of 2009, had over 75,000,000 users
  • 64% are between the ages of 26 and 54
  • Average user has 300 followers

YouTube:

  • 3.5 million visitors each day
  • 4th largest site on the Internet
  • 100,000,000 visitors each month

LinkedIn:

  • 60,000,000 users worldwide
  • Has one new user per second
  • World’s largest professional network

Don’t you want to reach out to even a part of that audience?  Imagine the possibilities!

I’d love to take you on my social media and social networking journey with me.  I’ll be looking at these networks as well as other niches networks.  We’ll go through the highs and lows; the joys and pains and learn.  Together.