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Social Media Addict

Do you ever log onto to Twitter “for five minutes” only to find that two hours later, you’re still browsing your news feed?

Or do you find yourself constantly checking for Facebook updates on your smartphone?

Don’t panic – you’re not alone. Research shows that social media is incredibly addictive. One study has found that staying away from Twitter is harder than quitting smoking. Incredible, hey?

What Makes Social Media so Addictive?

The key to social media addiction is dopamine.

You’ve probably heard of dopamine as the pleasure hormone. This isn’t strictly true.

What dopamine actually does is encourage us to look for stuff.

As the folks at Team W explain:

From an evolutionary stand-point this is critical. The dopamine seeking system keeps us motivated to move through our world, learn, and survive. It’s not just about physical needs such as food, or sex, but also about abstract concepts. Dopamine makes us curious about ideas and fuels our searching for information.

Do you see where this is going? Dopamine makes us what to look for new stuff. Twitter and Facebook are veritable goldmines of new stuff. Your brain on Twitter is like Scrooge McDuck diving into his money vault. Everywhere you turn, your brain thinks happy days.

Well, almost. There’s one more trick that Twitter has up its sleeve, which makes it even more powerful: unpredictability. Sometimes you’ll go on Twitter and Facebook, and your mind is blown. Boom! Sometimes you’ll have a ton of notifications. Again, this sends a flood of dopamine to your brain.

Other times, it’s a slow day (or a slow five minutes). Nothing much interesting. No notifications.

This unpredictability stimulates dopamine.

And there’s one more thing… dopamine loves chasing down rabbit holes. If you have incomplete information (e.g. a 140 character tweet), you won’t feel satisfied. You’ll need more. So you’ll keep looking. Hence, you stay on Twitter for hours.

Here’s One Approach You Can Use to Break Social Media Addiction

Social media isn’t going away. For most of us, it’s integral to our lives – if not to our work, then at least to our social lives. And your brain isn’t going to stop producing dopamine anytime soon.

As the folks at Harvard Health explain, your best bet is to find other ways of making your brain happy, and fulfilling your desire for new things:

It is not enough to “just say no”—as the 1980s slogan suggested. Instead, you can protect (and heal) yourself from addiction by saying “yes” to other things. Cultivate diverse interests that provide meaning to your life.

That could mean:

  • Getting out into the real world and meeting new people.
  • Finding a job that’s meaningful and purposeful (that doesn’t necessarily mean quitting your current job – it can just mean subtle changes, or a new attitude)
  • Reading books – especially those outside your main field of interest.
  • Trying a new sport.
  • Cooking a different meal.

All these take more investment than checking social media, and so are more likely to give more long term rewards.

Over to You

What do you do to find meaning and purpose in life? If you’ve recovered from social media addiction, what helped you?

Let us know in the comments section, below.

Facebook Networking

We all know that LinkedIn is the social network for professionals. It’s the place to be if you want to connect with like-minded professionals looking to get ahead in their careers.

Yet increasingly, business related groups are appearing on Facebook – and people are putting them to good use. These days, I’m finding that a lot of my business networking happens on Facebook. I’ve used Facebook to connect with my peers around the world, and to discover potential clients.

We’d still recommend LinkedIn as the top business networking tool (and Twitter is especially powerful if you need to make connections fast). But Facebook has a lot going for it, and it’s certainly something you should consider.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of Facebook networking. Once we’ve done that, we’ll take a look at how you can use Facebook to connect with other professionals in your field.

Why Facebook Makes a GREAT Business Networking Tool

Most of us use Facebook as a personal tool, to stay in touch with friends and family. But that doesn’t mean we should automatically write it off as a business networking tool.

In fact, Facebook makes a GREAT business networking tool, for several reasons.

You already spend time on Facebook. American Facebook users spend an average of 40 minutes per day on the network. That’s close to ten times as much time as the average American spends exercising every day. And it’s more than we spend on any other social network.

As you’re already spending so much time on Facebook, why not use it to help achieve your business or career goals?

Facebook is built on trust. Why did Facebook succeed where other social networks failed? One reason is that they placed (and still place) a high premium on trust. You can only use your real name on Facebook. And to begin with, Facebook only let users sign up with a college email address. Every user was verified.

Also, think about what you share on Facebook. Chances are, you reveal more of yourself on Facebook compared to other social networks.

All this has created a social network with a culture of trust. And trust is a fantastic foundation for business networking.

More people use Facebook. Facebook has close to 1.5 billion active users. That compares to LinkedIn’s user count of 300 million. More people mean more opportunities for networking.

Facebook business groups are often private. This also helps to create an environment of trust, because you need an invite to join a group.

Those are the advantages of Facebook, but that doesn’t mean that everything is rosy. Here are a few of the downsides of using Facebook as a business networking tool.

Work-life balance. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is vital if you’re to perform at your best. We all need time to rest and recuperate. Having clear dividing lines between work and leisure can help you maintain this balance. Using Facebook as a networking tool can disturb this balance – because you’ll receive notifications on business groups even when you’re home for the weekend, or on vacation.

A work-time distraction. Using Facebook as part of your work may sound like fun, but unless you’re careful with how you use it, you’ll find that hours can disappear down the Facebook black hole.

Facebook business groups are often private. We previously listed this as an advantage, which it is. But it’s also a disadvantage, because it means good business groups can be hard to find.

Now you know the pros and cons of Facebook networking, how can you get started?

How to Network with Business Professionals on Facebook

When it comes to networking on Facebook, you’ve got a couple of options:

  1. Networking using your Facebook page. This is ideal for getting the attention of influencers. We cover it in depth here.
  2. Networking using Facebook groups. I’ve found this is the best way to connect with other professionals and uncover opportunities. This is what we’ll look at in this article.

Where can you find these groups to network in?

Facebook search. Using Facebook’s search tool, you can find public and open groups. It’s the perfect way to dip your toes in the water of Facebook networking.

How can you find groups? Search for “business networking”, and Facebook will direct you straight to the top business networking group. That’s good for getting started, but what if you want to find more?

Type this into the search bar:

Find all groups named “business networking”

Then, you’ll get a list of hundreds of business networking groups – some general, some specific to a country or city, and some industry-specific. You’ll even see groups where your friends are already members.

When you’re looking for groups to join, check them out before you sign up. Look for active groups where members share useful information and advice.

Subscribe to email lists of business professionals you like. I’ve found this to be the most fruitful way of discovering hidden gems. Increasingly, small business owners and bloggers are offering access to a mastermind Facebook group if you join their email list. Some are great, some less so. It’s worth checking out as many as you can to find the gems.

Ask your friends and business contacts. The people you already know in business can help you find great Facebook groups. Ask around to see if any of your business contacts are part of a private Facebook group. Knowing someone in a group can be a way of getting yourself invited to the group.

Over to You

Do you use Facebook for networking? What do you like about Facebook as a networking tool? What have you found is the best way for uncovering Facebook groups?

Social Media Online Video 2015

Four years ago, Cisco predicted that by 2015, over 90% of web traffic would be from Internet video.

2015 is here. Has Cicso’s prediction come to pass? Not quite. In mid-2014, 78% of web traffic was from video. Cisco now predicts that will rise to 84% by 2018.

Video hasn’t been quite as big a hit as Cisco expected. Other content types continue to be popular.

But video is still big. In fact, we expect 2015 to be the year of video. Here are three reasons why…

1. The Stats are on Video’s Side

Over 100 million people watch online video every day. Some 90% of online consumers say they find video helpful in making purchasing decisions. And according to Forbes, three quarters of executives watch at least one work-related video per week (Stats here).

Video is fast rising up the ranks of social marketing – so other content forms had better watch out.

2. SlideShare Has Embraced Video

Back in 2014, SlideShare allowed LinkedIn influencers to start sharing videos on the network.

This year, SlideShare will extend video publishing to all their users.

Dave Kerpen – who has already made several SlideShare videos expects that SlideShare will become the business version of YouTube.

He writes:

Instagram is to Facebook as SlideShare is to LinkedIn. In other words, look for SlideShare to emerge as the key social network for business professionals to find and share bite-sized pieces of content while on the go in 2015.

3. YouTube is So 2005

Okay, we’re kidding a bit here. We expect YouTube to continue doing really well in 2015. But it should take care to protect its place as video’s monarch.

YouTube’s problem? Young upstarts are contending the king of video’s throne. Or they’re setting up their own kingdoms, and ignoring YouTube altogether.

What’s happening, in real terms?

In August 2014, Facebook surpassed YouTube for desktop video views.

What’s more, Facebook and Twitter are giving priority to videos published on their own networks. Other social platforms are likely to follow this course.

YouTube is here to stay. But it can’t afford to get too comfortable.

Your Call

Do you agree that 2015 will be the year of video? What are your social predictions for the year ahead? Let us know in the comments section, below.