public relations intelligence

Maintaining focus amidst social media clutter

July 2015: Social media usage amongst millennials is a given, if you don’t embrace it you fall behind – fast! It is also becoming a very necessary marketing option for South African business to wish to engage with their market and build their brand in the digital space. However, the plethora of social media platforms has made it very easy for individuals to become overwhelmed and distracted quickly swiping to the next post no matter if they are at home or at work.

Paying attention in a frazzled world
Social media is a great communication tool enabling business to have greater access to a wider audience 24/7. However, audiences that are engaging with social media around the clock, even during work hours, are productivity failures.”

Hennie Vorster, Executive and Business Coach at people development company Align Solutions adds that it has become difficult to maintain focus in the digital era. “With numerous work and life pressures, coupled with a vast array of digital distractions on a daily basis, it is easy for one to experience cognitive overload and a feeling of being frazzled. Everyone is a multi-tasker these days without realising it, and it can be hard to direct attention effectively.

“The bottom line is that attention is limited, the more distractions, the lower your ability to concentrate and the less you get done,” says Vorster.

Social media pros and cons
On a positive note, social media has reduced communication barriers, allowing people to conveniently connect with others all over the world at any time while having instant access to information. This can make individuals feel in touch and empowered. On the down side, social media can also lead to addiction, lack of productivity and isolation as a result of a reduced level of face-to-face interaction.

Tactics for balancing social media with workplace productivity
From a business perspective, organisations can block certain social media sites, however, this doesn’t stop employees from using their mobile devices instead. This approach can also make staff feel isolated and resentful so it’s a better idea to have a social media policy in place which stipulates usage – i.e. allowing usage before and after working hours or during set lunch break times.

Employees are the eyes and ears of the organisation, By encouraging them to make productive use of social media, organisations can also use their staff to alert them to industry issues they pick up in their social circles that may have a direct impact on the organisation.

Another useful tactic for social media management in the business space is to implement performance reviews and time sheets. This can be an effective method of keeping employees on track during working hours, making them accountable for their outputs and work.

In your personal capacity, to prevent overload and mental angst, Vorster advises that you be conscious of your social media usage and set boundaries for yourself. “Being more mindful of when, where and how you use social media will enable you to remain connected with the world, yet allow you to know when to break away from overuse and mental overload. This will help you to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships with family, friends and work colleagues and ultimately allow you to get more done with your time.”

Side box:
Tools to focus in the digital world
• Intentionality = CHOOSE
• AWARENESS instead of cruising on autopilot
• Give your BRAIN a break and manage your energy
• Engage in IMMERSIVE experiences
• Revisit TIME management principles and apply them everyday
• DESTRESS – start moving and eating for optimum energy

To learn more about how to maintain your focus in a digital world, Black Snow Digital and Align Solutions will be hosting free workshops on the topic. Get a deeper understanding of the social media realm, what it entails, the pros and cons and learn tactics to maintain focus and positive mental health in today’s digital era.

The workshops will be held on Wednesday, 12 August and Wednesday 26 August from 09:00 – 13:00 at Black Snow Digital, Meadowbrook Business Estate, Jacaranda Avenue, Olivedale.

About Black Snow Digital:

For further information about Black Snow Digital, visit www.blacksnowdigital.co.za or for more information about the Black Snow Group, visit the group website www.blacksnowgroup.co.za to RSVP contact Schane Venter on tel: 086 011 0063

About Align Solutions:
For further information about Align Solutions, visit www.alignsolutions.co.za