Vail Valley: Is social networking needed, or just noise? |

Vail Valley: Is social networking needed, or just noise?

“Did you ever notice people with nothing to do want to do it with you?”

” Zig Ziglar

Everyday people are debating social networking ” is it necessary or just too much noise? How are you feeling about it here in the Vail Valley?

Wikipedia defines social networks as a service that focuses on building online communities of people who share interests and/or activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most social network services are Web-based and provide a variety of ways for users to interact, such as e-mail and instant messaging.

Sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Iminta, Plaxo, Digg, Linked-In and others are considered by some absolutely necessary, a way to engage and stay in touch with important topics that are of interest to them and a way to stay connected to customers, friends and family in a fun, interactive environment. Others see these sites as just a drain on their time. I have had some folks even use the term ‘addicted’ when sharing that they “have” to be connected all day long. It is kind of like the drug trade in that there are consumers and users of important and senseless information and then there are the pushers of meaningful and relevant content, and in almost all cases the pusher is also a user. Easy to see how addiction can happen.

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The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

So, are they necessary or are they noise? I have been experimenting with social networking sites to see what value, if any, I can derive from participating. What I have found is that is just impossible to keep up with the extraordinary amount of information being pushed at me through these sites. I have settled on a couple of social networking sites where I do see value and I am still trying to determine how long I will remain a user.

Here are two of the definitions of noise by Webster: any sound that is undesired or interferes with one’s hearing of something; an unwanted signal or a disturbance.

There are ways to manage each social networking site to control or filter the amount of information being transmitted every second. But still, the information superhighway is now a traffic jam filled with congestion at every on-ramp and every exit. Managers throughout the country are wrestling with how to deal with employees who are losing productivity because of their addiction to such sites. Others claim they see the value, especially as it relates to connecting with customers and prospects.

How are you using social networking sites here in the alley? Do you find them to be productive and helpful, or distracting and an unwanted interference or disturbance with your daily schedule? Share your opinion with me at and I hope you make it a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker and is once again serving as the interim president of the Zig Ziglar Organization. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.

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