How to explain social media to your spouse

I loved Amber Naslund’s recent post about the always-on, world of digital media. As she correctly said, The New World of Work Includes Social Media.

But here’s the problem. That’s easy for ME to say.

It’s easy for Amber to say.

But is it easy for you to explain to your spouse?  How do you explain why you always need to be tethered to the Internet?

Before I get into the heart of the post, you have to promise me something.  Actually, three things:

  1. You are not a workaholic/addictive personality using social media as an excuse to avoid your family. This is not a post about time management. This is a post about sensitively handling a shift in a person’s lifestyle.
  2. You are not playing World of Warcraft or Farmville and explaining it to your spouse as social media research, and
  3. You are responsibly trying to have a balance with family life most of the time.  That’s important.

If you can agree to these things, I think you’re probably just a stressed marketing pro like the rest of us trying to hang on and stay afloat.  If that’s the case, here are some ideas to explain to your spouse why you don’t have a 9-5 job any more.

Prepare martinis. No, that’s really not the first thing to do. The real first step is to “listen.” But if I wrote “listen” you would skip over this paragraph and that would be a big mistake, so I tricked you. I know you, don’t I?

Seriously.  You need to just shut up. Don’t explain anything at first. If your spouse doesn’t understand why you spend so much time on the social web, let them express their feelings and frustrations FIRST. This doesn’t mean be quiet and prepare to speak, this means authentically connect and try to truly understand what is going on. Don’t rule out that they may be right. Maybe you ARE over-doing it. P.S. Don’t skip this step.

Empathize. This would be expressed in words like: “Wow. I can see how much this is impacting you. I would probably feel the same way.” Or, “I had no idea this was having this kind of an affect on you.”  It’s important that you acknowledge the feelings of the other person as being legitimate.

Lead with feelings. Yes guys, that means you too.  How does it make you FEEL to be immersed in social media marketing? Energized? Depressed? Excited? Renewed? Overwhelmed?  Leading with these kind of words will help set the stage so you can have a non-defensive discussion. You can’t really argue with feelings. They just are.

Don’t explain, show. Chances are you’ve tried to explain what is going on before. Doesn’t work, does it?  There is no way people can understand why social media is so time consuming unless they SEE it. Let them into your world.  And before you have your talk, do a little homework. Have this ready:

  1. Something to make an impression that the marketing world is changing relentlessly. The Qualman “shift” video is always good for something like this and I’m sure you can recommend others.
  2. Be able to demonstrate your typical routine on each social platform. Show how it is connected to your work, your income and your future. Explain why there are no shortcuts.
  3. Give examples of how quickly the technology is changing. Don’t make them read. Show graphs and videos where you can make quick, bold impressions demonstrating urgency and change. Mine Mashable for that stuff.

Be honest. Chances are, the time you spend on the social web is not going to lessen. Let’s face it. These productivity tools only pull us into new niches and corners and rabbit holes. The world is getting faster, not slower.

Tune in to priorities. Be prepared to make a concession to important needs. When are the times you absolutely, positively need to put the smartphone down? Dinner? Vacation? Playtime with the kids? Sunday mornings?  Listen intently, respond compassionately, keep your promises.

Follow-up. Check-in every other week or so and see how things are going on this issue. Are you keeping your promises?

OK.  Help fill in the gaps for me.  How are you handling the workload and explaining social media immersion to your family?

P.S. I have an urge to provide a little explanation here. Sometimes when I read “self help” oriented blog posts I think … “who are you to be giving advice?”  For the record, I do have a masters degree in applied behavioral sciences and spent a lot of time with conflict resolution. I don’t write about this stuff too often but I will probably be getting into those areas now and then because it is interesting to me.

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  • “Is that a smartphone in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?” I love that! I am using that line!

    I try to explain this to my son (who is eight) the best he comes up with is this “Mommy works on Twitter” which is sort of right.

    I do try to balance everything. Some days are more successful than others. I often find myself explaining Twitter to my friends over dinner. This has happened more than once. The best part of that is when they understand it after I have explained it to them.

    They say the best way to show understanding of anything is to explain it to someone else, so that is always fun for me. I have even shown my son my blog, and now he is starting to understand that Mommy does more than just Twitter for work, which is very cool.

    My boyfriend made me disconnect Sunday for extended periods of time, and it was a relief. He tells me he wants to take me backpacking where there will be no wi-fi. I will report on how I do there! That could be a blog post!

    Thanks for this post this morning Mark – I am working on this balance, and will happily share my progress on this one.

  • Thanks for sharing your personal expereince on thie one Nancy. I have a hunch it is a prevalent problem!  

  • Thanks for writing about this Mark. My colleague and I often talk about how social media is both the best and the worst thing that has ever happened to our relationships with friends and family.

    I’m always trying to give my friends and family who are psychologists a heads-up on this — it’s highly likely that they’ll be seeing clients in the future who are dealing with fall out from their online life/interaction. As a notorious non tech-savvy profession, people doing personal/couples/family therapy have a lot of learning to do in order to have a context for understanding the issue. Otherwise they’ll be stuck asking things like, “so wait…you talk to that person all the time, but you’ve never met them? Huh?”

  • This post makes me chuckle, because you’re so dead on, and we’re so dead — dead dog tired with the fatigue, excitement, curiosity, and overwhelmth that social media marketing has created, is producing and shows no sign of stopping.

    Last night at dinner with my kidlet, I heard the vibration and fought, fought I say, not to look at the crackberry to see if it was the email from a West Coast client saying he couldn’t speak at 9 p.m. ET.

    So, my first word of counsel, to complement yours, is to leave the smartphone in another room, in the purse, in the car when you’re with company and try to be a devoted LISTENER when in fact your brain is powering into a little screen and wondering what juice is waiting for you.

    P.S. Sounds like  you’re tipping peeps today from experience, eh, Mark? Ditto to Nancy “Is that a smartphone in your pocket…?” LOL

  •  I’m tempted to write, “How Our Spouses Describe Our Relationship with Social Media.”

    Empathy is key here, but also, I think there needs to be some pain, or the threat of pain, of the relationship suffering, else we get sucked into the Social Media world to the point we can’t back out. If we really listen to our SOs, then I think we’ll be surprised how much they are really hurt sometimes by what they perceive as us ‘ignoring them.’

  •  Thank you for this post, Mark. In a way, it’s comforting to know others are facing or at least, thinking about this. The world is changing, for sure. Those of us who have chosen to work on these front lines certainly have some things to figure out. I think we’ll see a lot more about the intersection of psychology and social media and I’m very pleased that you’re spending some time with posts like these. 

  • Kelloggsville

    So you’re not just writing this because your wife has moaned at you then?! It’s because you want to help me! Hubby and daughter told me off for tweeting at the dinner table the other night. Are you suggesting that my response ‘but it’s more interesting than your conversation’ isn’t the best way to deal with it?! Tip: I hold a few work related tweets in the bag so when asked what I am doing I don’t have to admit I’m discussing chocolate with strangers, I simply say ‘11.2.0.2 PSU has a mutex issue’ 🙂 works everytime. No sorry, you’re right, I will try harder to put it down occasionally.

  •  With flowers?

    Sorry seriously; I am so deep in this stuff and having worked online for over 10 years my family know my habits. I try to manage my workload by using the time they watch TV to do my stuff, get up early, work late so it doesn’t effect them.

    I get the kids to follow me online so they can get a feel for what I am doing, suggest ideas and pass comment. I encourage them to write and blog and get social, so they understand the power this stuff can have. I give them my time, take them out of the house to do practical things, swimming, canoeing, walking where I can’t get online even if I wanted to.

    Balance is hard and I have to work hard to maintain it, but on the days I get it right, I feel great, the family feel great and I produce some of best ideas.

  • I am glad I do not understand what this feels like, and I sympathize with all of you. My Fiance is also in social media/digital marketing world.  We both get it, the demands, the addiction, the constant quest to find the newest shiny tools! Thank god, i could not cohabit the same house with someone who didn’t get it!

  • Ahh so many of us have the same dynamics at home. To me this speaks to the opposites attract theory, one spouse is more social (and thusly into Social Media) and the other one less so (why are you on “the Twitter” again) I really loved your three prefacing promises, really good things to think about. Cheers!

  • What a useful and thought provoking post. It is a strange new world that is very difficult to explain to those who are not immersed in it. I shall be forwarding this post!

    Thank you.

  • I had to laugh at this post Mark.  My question is, “How do I get my wife off of Facebook?”  While I am the marketer of the family, she is the socializer.

    I also wanted to share a funny story related to your point about playing World of Warcraft and saying it is for social media research.  At my old law firm, we represented a MMORPG video game company.  Several of us young associates would play online video games with the execs at that company.  Then, we would put all of that time on our time sheet (non-billable of course).  But the partners thought we were awesome spending so much time with the clients.  World of Warcraft was the new golf course.

  • This is a great article and may help people to try to explain what they are doing (or at least make them cognizant that there are people around them who are cut from a different cloth).

    But let’s be real here…

    If they didn’t get it before, they won’t get it after.
    It was the same way ten years ago if you were just in the Internet biz (‘you’re always on the computer!’ but now it’s ‘but every time I look over all I see is you on twitter or Facebook or linkedin’).

    Let’s look at this in a non computer context:
    If you are an exec who does deals on the golf course, the spouse won’t understand or care why you are spending time improving your game (‘all you do is spend time at the golf course goofing off’ – or at least that’s their perception. And unfortunately no amount of explaining or showing will ever convince them unless they have experienced that type of work environment themselves).

    Same for the guys involved with women who are competitive bakers/cooks or fashion designers (‘you spend all your time in the kitchen or at the loft with your fabrics!’).

    Even on a hobby level- think of all the fitness buffs. Like the marathon runners who train constantly for the races they have planned/committed to (their spouses say ‘but you spend all your time at the gym!’).

    So I guessim saying the bottom line is not trying to explain or convince them to understand (cuz they never will) but to try to help them find a way to accept it that this is how it is

  • This is a great article and may help people to try to explain what they are doing (or at least make them cognizant that there are people around them who are cut from a different cloth).

    But let’s be real here…

    If they didn’t get it before, they won’t get it after.
    It was the same way ten years ago if you were just in the Internet biz (‘you’re always on the computer!’ but now it’s ‘but every time I look over all I see is you on twitter or Facebook or linkedin’).

    Let’s look at this in a non computer context:
    If you are an exec who does deals on the golf course, the spouse won’t understand or care why you are spending time improving your game (‘all you do is spend time at the golf course goofing off’ – or at least that’s their perception. And unfortunately no amount of explaining or showing will ever convince them unless they have experienced that type of work environment themselves).

    Same for the guys involved with women who are competitive bakers/cooks or fashion designers (‘you spend all your time in the kitchen or at the loft with your fabrics!’).

    Even on a hobby level- think of all the fitness buffs. Like the marathon runners who train constantly for the races they have planned/committed to (their spouses say ‘but you spend all your time at the gym!’).

    So I guessim saying the bottom line is not trying to explain or convince them to understand (cuz they never will) but to try to help them find a way to accept it that this is how it is

  • Lucky me, I don’t have to explain social media to my VSO (very significant other) because he’s just as into as I am!

    Your “prepare martinis” point made me think of how I title all of my blog posts “Free Beer” to get me going.

  • There is the reality and there is the perception.

    I realised that my other half’s perception was that I was always on Twitter, checking my blog reader, etc… which is not true. Yes, I do reach out for my smartphone regularly, but often I am checking the time (since I don’t wear a wristwatch), or my diary, or adding something to my to do list, or checking the weather, etc… So, I make a point of saying when I am NOT using Social Media, too. It helps puts things into perspective.

  • This is fantastic, Mark! You definitely bring up some great points as it is interesting explaining social media to friends and family who give you that “I have no idea what you’re talking about look” as soon as you utter the term “hashtag”. There’s also the situation where your significant other/friends/family sort of get what you do but don’t necessarily care to learn about it. I think it is important on our ends to be somewhat proactive with your suggestions of actually showing them. There’s something to be said for knowing your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend both knows what you do and respects what you do.

  • Reed Jeff

    Instead of one caption, how about “thought balloons”?  Her thought caption could be: “I wonder if he has already hired a social media consultant”?  His thought could be: “I hope she has a Facebook page and will accept my friend request.  Maybe we could go to a Meet Up together.” 
     
    Since I am not a marketing professional and only “went social” 3 months and 700 Tweets ago I invoked rules of engagement that I felt would be acceptable on the home front.  I’ve been married to a wonderful, type A, healthcare professional that has judiciously separated work from home for the past 27 years.  I honor that by selecting “silent” on my smart phone at dinner.  I limit my keyboard time in the evening to a minimum, focusing my web time to early morning and strategic points during the work day.  It may hurt my Klout score but 27 years ago I agreed to that line “for better or worse” uttered by the minister ( I know.  What was I thinking?)  I discuss info from Tweets by saying ” I read an interesting article, note etc. today about …”  The source isn’t as important as our conversation about the subject.   
     
    However when tornados ravaged the southeast 3 weeks ago,  my wife saw first hand the power of social media.  My town was hit hard.  The TV weather folks were doing their best to keep everyone informed but I was getting better, more timely info on Twitter.  She is learning about ‘social” slowly and since I am a 3 month “veteran” I’m not inclined to speed it up.  She will catch on eventually.  She is very bright (She did marry me after all)
     

  • There is the reality and there is perception. Sometimes, the latter is worse than the former. For instance, my other half used to think that I was always on Twitter, checking my blog reader, etc… And while I do reach out for my smartphone regularly, I do use it for other purposes like checking the time (as I do not wear a wristwatch), add something to my to do list, check my diary or the weather, etc…

    So, for a while, I did make a point of saying when I was NOT using social media. That is, if we are going to do any of the things you suggest (and I do agree with them), then we might as well deal with the reality rather than with unhelpful perceptions. 

  • Oops. Sorry – I did not realise the other comment had been posted, already.

  • Very interesting perspective Jen. It would be interesting to see research on how many relationships have been destroyed by Facebook alone. The mental health professional aspect is fascinating. Thanks!

  • Actually my wife has been prett good about the whole thing. I work hard to strike a balance and we spend a lot of quality time — “sacred time” – that is Internet free. Thanks for such an entertaining comment Jayme!

  • OK Mark, I read the entire post in explicit detail, carefully thinking through each step you outline and then reviewing the comments. To handle this situation correctly one really needs to follow your first step “Prepare Martinis”…handle it that way and steps 2-7 should be both effortless and effective.

  • That would actually be an extremely interesting post! Good thought. Tanks for commenting today Jeff.

  • Thanks for HR validation Kary, in some ways the human and psychological aspects of social media is the most interesting part to me! S much to think about. Where will it all lead? Are we going to to mostly human or mostly machine or will we even know the difference?

  • Oh that is TOO funny!! What a great comment. Thanks for adding to the dialogue.

  • Nice perspective Sean. I appreciate your honesty and your helpful point of view. Sounds like thane the kids in the game!

  • Wow. That must be an interesting dynamic. But not unusual I suppose as more and more people “get it.”. Think about this — about 40%of Americans are not on the Internet. Don’t you think this digital divide is just going to escalate? Maybe the new generation will demand to close it?

  • Greta. Glad it made sense to you Peggy. I felt like I took a hit of a risk with this one so it’s rewarding to get some positive feedback. Thanks for taking the time to tell me. Much appreciated!

  • Cool. Thanks for the feedback.

  • Fred, that is the quote of the year. I love that. WoW is the new golf course. Man you have my head spinning with that one. I can’t tell you how many business associates have asked me if I play. It’s almost part of the interview process. Amazing comment!

  • Right on. I think that is probably the best we can hope for. However, I believe this is not so intuitive as golf : ). Thanks Bruce!

  • Very interesting dynamic, actually, it makes for a very happy and peaceful home, and has opened some opportunities for us to do some projects together (check out http://apalehorsenameddeath.com we built the site and manage the digital marketing for them) that has actually brought us closer. And its nice that we don’t need to apologize for our work or our passion.

    As for that divide, it will certainly not escalate. The baby boomer generation is the majority of that 40%, and there are two things going on with them: They are getting older and nearing the end of their lives, and they also happen to be one of the fastest growing demographics on social media. That being said, that 40% will become smaller over time. Also the growing use of smartphones will make getting on the web easier for all people.

    Of course you have the younger generation that is pushing things to be more and more digital. And as part of that generation ( I recently learned that I am the very very beginning of the Millennials, who knew! I thought I was gen X!) I think going digital is a great thing, it enhanced the global community, actually has been bringing people closer rather than farther apart, and well clearly i just love it!
     

  • Any post that starts the advice list with “Listen” (even if it is cleverly disguised by a martini feint) is a winner in my book.  The fact that you followed that up with “Empathize” closed the deal for me.  So many of our interpersonal challenges could be better navigated if we started with those two steps.  🙂

  •  We can’t go with C because its not true. We all [email protected]:twitter def owns a tux. 

    Did my gf talk you into writing this post? I dont appreciate you taking her side on this one lol

    When we get a divorce, she can keep you in her custody. But the joke is on you, she doesnt read, share or comment on blogs. Know your audience, man…know your audience lol

  •  When social media provides you with tickets and games the family becomes far more understanding. It is not a complete picture of why I am involved nor does it clear all of my responsibilities and challenges with time management, but it helps.

  • I love a)!

    No need to explain social immersion in my family: it’s an accepted fact of life here.  My spouse (38 years together) is used to my immersion in so many things: sports, volunteer work, my business consulting/coaching, that social immersion is just another in a long line of loves.  I get unequivocal support for them all: I’m blessed.  Cheers!  Kaarina

  •  How did you know it was time for this post???? Seriously, this is an issue I struggle with in my household because unlike @johnfalchetto [email protected]:twitter who are BOTH online for a chunk of their day and see it as tied to their professional development, my husband is not that way. He hops on FB to catch up with friends, but rarely reads one of my blog posts, and very much does not GET why I’m online so much.  I’ve tried to explain it, but will absolutely say your suggestions are way better than my attempts!  Thank you!  Will try them out!  Thanks!

  • Well, after 30+ years it seems like we run out of conversation  some times, & (my) Twitter & (her) Facebook obsessions don’t seem to be much of an issue!!!

  • Anonymous

     I like a), too, and beyond the spousal relationship, I think it works for families, too. I did the “show” thing with my mother, and it worked well. Now when I have Tweetdeck up, giggling about obscure English desserts with colleagues halfway across the country, nobody asks me why I’m not getting the baby ready for bed! The guilt is there, but… well, it’s not as interesting as the humorous Tumblr links I’ve saved. 

  •  I’ve really been feeling the “lack of balance” thing recently. A few weeks ago I told my husband he needed to get me off the computer when he came home from work (I work from home). He looked at me and said, “But that’s what you do.” I said, “Yes, but it’s not healthy for me to be always on.” He said, “But that’s what you DO. That’s how you get work.” Can you imagine my face… here I was, telling my dearly beloved to get me OFF SM, and he was telling me to stay on?!

    So it’s almost like he explained it to me. I still don’t think it’s good for me to be “on” all the time, though. And he did tell me, a few days ago, when we were talking about his birthday & our anniversary (a week apart from each other), that as his birthday present, he doesn’t want to see my iPhone or Kindle. I said OK. :p

  •  I loved reading this….My husband is now @roundhouseguy as of this week and I am almost at year #2 of Twitter.  It is about the balance and making sure you are tuned in…though of course women are better at multi-tasking 😉

  • Anonymous

    Your husband’s response is amazing, Shonali. I know what my own face would look like, lol. 

  • A)…that’s usually the one I get! LOL…. 

  • Yes I believe I am on to something. Trick racers with provocative headlines. My next post is entitled, sex-ravaged bloggers from planet X.

  • Very, very good point Ana. I use my smartphne for everything, so it would appear I am on it all the time. Of course there is the opportunity for legitimate abuse. You see there is thing called Angry Birds ..

  • You know the biggest obstacle to a serious business conversation about social media? The name Twitter. How can you even begin to take it seriously. Ay time somebody introduces me as Mr. Twitter I want to crawl in a hole. My my life must amount to something more than that!! Why couldn’t they have called it “aliens with blasters” or something?

    Thanks for your comment Rachel!

  • Jeff what a superb, wise and heart-warming comment. And yes, I originally started using thought balloons (my usual mode of mangling pictures) but when I started brain-storing ideas I couldn’t decide so I used them all. Just tried something different! Thanks again. This is great!

  •  B! I choose B!

    I’m very, very lucky in that Mr. D doesn’t get it, but really doesn’t care. Perhaps it’s because I am responsible and balance my time (though he hates it when I tag him on FB because he gets a bunch of email alerts, which I’ve tried to show him how to turn off, but he’s stubborn) or because he sees the money from our work in this area, but he NEVER complains. It’s great!

  • Harvey

     This is good advice.  Although I can’t explain it to my wife yet, I will brag that I’m disciplined about family time, she isn’t feeling neglected, just confused and skeptical.  My first problem really is understanding it myself, the Internet is changing so fast!  

  • First, may I say that it is so nice to see you back in the comment section!  I don’t know why I used martinis.  I think because it is fun to say. I usually go for single malt Scotch or gin and tonic : )  

  • I am big on listening. I think 99% of our problems could be solved by listening better. In the entitlement culture, we too often think we have an entitlement to “win” too.  Thanks for the nice comment Ann!

  • No. Brian rents. I have that on good authority : )

    Actually Dino … I have a confession to make. your girl friend DOES read my blog. We’ve been meaning to tell you but the time has never seemed quite right. She has even … commented. In fact, she has had multiple comments. Please don’t over-react. I’m sure we can work like this out like adults. 

  • Hey love that!  Where do I sign up?  Thanks Jack. 

  • Love that, Shonali and can totally relate.  Out of balance.  I think I [email protected]:disqus say once that achieving balance is impossible and that we’re almost always off balance and that’s ok.  I agree, but also want to make sure I’m not sooo off balance that I stop paying attention to the people around me.

    My husband hates to see my blackberry and Kindle as well…esp if we’re out to eat (the phone, not the Kindle). 🙂

  • What a wonderful comment. Thank you. Hey, you keep them happy with meatloaf. They SHOULD cut you a break!  

  • My daughter occassionally reads my blog but she is the only family member who “gets it.” My parents have no idea what a blog is.  I did send them a copy of my book and my mother’s advice was that it needed to be bigger : )   So I go on my merry away in my social media silo. Oh well. As long as it supports the family, who’s to complain? Thanks Erica. Hang in there! 

  • Congratulations on that.  Seriously, that’s wonderful. Thanks for commenting Bruce!  

  • Awww… cool. I actually seek out my wife and tell her “It time for you to make me stop.”

    Literally, this could go on forever.  So much learning, so much opportunity.  Thanks for this awesome story Shonali!  

  • “A” seems to be winning : )

    Well said. Glad the mum is on board!  I’m humbled that you took the time to comment Shakirah. Thank you!

  • So he is joining the crowd huh?  Do you find Twitter more addictive than FB?  For some reason I’m a Twitter guy … when I;m not blogging! : )  

  • I think that is clearly in the lead! 

  • Yes, I am lucky that way too. Mrs. S kind of gets it but more important, sees the results and trusts me that I am doing the right thing.  You know being an entrepreneur has ALWAYS been hard work .. social media or not!  You would know about that too, wouldn’t you?  Thanks Gini!  

  • Boy I feel your pain on that one!  I’m glad you’re here Harvey so we can learn together. I’m a student too.  

  • I was thinking more multi-national implications. Let’s say countries that are behind … maybe a generation behind … will they ever catch up. I’m not sure. I know the conventional wisdom is that technology is the great equalizer. I don’t know. Opportunity and education is the real equalizer. Plus ACCESS to the tech in the first place.  

  • Send me $19.95 and I’ll send you a copy of my soon to be released ebook PT Barnum was Right. 😉 

  • Ah, Angry Birds… There should be a study about its (beneficial?) effects on stress levels at work, public transport, etc…

  • I’ll toss in that this is not just a spousal thing. Anyone who is not involved in Social Media has I think a terribly difficult time understanding how those of us who spend a lot of time here can find so much to do. It’s literally something you have to live in order to explain properly.

    Of course, the other lesson to be noted from this post – it’s awfully hard just to “dip your toe in” to Social Media. Says the woman who dipped her pinky toe in more than a year ago now =D

  • Welcome to my world Mark, well done!

    In response to your final questions…
    “Handling the workload” by experiencing and staying in the moment.  I’ve stopped explaining time on and with social media since learning about it’s merits is done and found at one’s own pace, space and time.

  • Great advice, Mark. I think a LOT of people need this post. Myself included. Thankfully,[email protected]:twitter is pretty understanding even though he doesn’t “get” Twitter. (Though, maybe if everyone wanted to go pester him he might be persuaded to get into it).

    Anyway, I think boundaries are important. Garth has chided me for whipping out my smart phone during dinner or when we’re watching TV together. Since I’m always connected, I try to be very intentional about the times when I’m not. So, I don’t checking Twitter during dinner or when we’re out doing things together. Saturdays are our days together, so I don’t typically hop online too much on those days – at least not as much as I normally do.

    Like most things, it’s about balance. I think my futile attempts to get Garth to understand Twitter is not the answer. It’s really about paying more attention to him than my smart phone. 😉

  • I see, your first comment  you said American, but if you want to talk globally, i think the same principles apply. Do I think everyone in the world will be attached to a smart phone tweeting and posting facebook comments by next year, of course not. But will the gap close of people who are not using these technologies close, of course it will. Over time the technology will get better and smaller and less expensive, and will become more widely available.

    You also cant ignore what has gone on in the middle east and countries where technology and social media has played a part in overthrowing tyrannical governments. Also, when i look at analytics for different projects i works on, i see websites and social media platforms getting hits from all over the world, ad unlikely places.

    I cant speak to how fast the gap will close, but it will certainly close.

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  • Al Smith

    Great stuff Mark.  LISTENING is the key. Learn to Listen, Listen to Learn.  Now that I am cranking up computer time and starting my business, the wife is always asking “Why and What am I doing”.  She just doesn’t get it.  Did you say LISTEN ? oh yeah.  Great post.  I will try to put these suggestions to use.

  •  Springbank, Glen Scotia, Oban, Caol Ila?…

  • Digital or not, it takes a LOT of work to start a business! Hang in there!

  • Great points. Thanks. Part of where I am coming from — I work with this little boy from the inner city. He doesn’t have much access to digital communication. His peers in the suburbs are getting immersed with smart phones, computers, apps, games, texting … At what point is my little boy going to be permanently behind? There will come a time when the other kids have an insurmountable advantage. The gap may not always close.

  •  Lafroig, Glengoyne, Lagavullan ….

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  • And speaking of chocolate.. there’s a great page on Facebook called Chocolate for Breakfast lol! http://www.facebook.com/chocolateforbreakfast

  • Oh, they *are* catching up, though I can’t say how fast.. I lived in a third world country in the 80’s, apart from roads or even two way radio communication. Our connection to the outside world was a grass airstrip and Voice of America on the short wave radio. Now the younger set and some of the older ones are finding me on Facebook.. Ya gotta love it..! They’re in a new day (literally and metaphorically) while I’m up late chatting over the ethers…!

  • Actually, the future is now, Jennifer.. I’m a marriage and family therapist seeing these things with my clients for some time now. A lot of us in the field can tend to be less techie than others, but plenty enough therapists are pretty much in the real world, being kept up to date in more ways than you can imagine lol!

  • Just like TV and movies don’t destroy or define the person, so too social media can’t single handedly destroy relationships.. People have always been able to manage their relationship or cause it to deconstruct itself by active choices they make..!

  •  A couple of years ago when my granddaughter was more like 3 years old, I told her “Just a minute when I get off the phone.” She replied.. “You’re not on the phone, you’re texting,” which gave us a real hoot..! The little ones can be very discriminating..!

  • I too have asked hubby to help get me off the computer in general when I’m “working” late (being self-employed and all).. But he’s so respectful of not telling me what to do though lol!

  • And I have the most awesome friends online that I’ve never met in person.. for sure..!

  • Before the internet, I could be just as hard to get through to while immersed in a (plain ole, good ole paper) good book..!

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  • Hi Mark

    this is an important issue you raised. Thanks again for  helpfull advise.

    Good to be here

    Kind regards from Germany

    Hansjörg

  •  I was in knee deep with a blog and active engagement before I finally had the ‘talk’ with my wife as to why I was spending so much time on the internet.  Right now my time has been for pleasure but trying to find the blend to corporate.

    At first my wife was VERY skeptical because it was the week Ari Herzog had done a feature on me and she wondered who all these people were and how was that going to benefit us. Then she had a chance to read my blog posts to make sure I wan’t revealing too much info as I’m prone to talk. She was somewhat comforted, but more than anything, now she knows.

    Ultimately however, it was good to let her know exactly what was going on and what I hope to do with it. Fortunately we are empty nesters now so I have the time at night. She still wants to see how I can blend it w/ my corporate gig and I’m working on it; but I’m pleased with the progress I have made.

    Good post and apologize for being negligent in stopping by but I somehow got real busy, real quick with this. I’m still enjoying the journey though………..

    Good to see you.

  • My wife finally read mine, but no comments…………………………..:) 

  • Mark

    Well done Bill and I’m glad to have you back on {grow}! Great comment!

  • Mark

    Always a pleasure to hear from you Hansjörg!

  • Mark

    I do think there is some carry-over! : ) Thanks Sheryl.

  • Mark

    I know but we just have to put that relationship first!

  • Anonymous

     “WoW is the new golf course” – oh my yes, true dat at my office. Or at least among the services/tech folks. Sales is still on the golf course. 😉

  • Very true. I striggled with the headline as usual — significant other? Family members? At some point you just have to go for it, but of course you’re correct! Thanks!  

  • Hand him the Tao of Twitter. He’ll have a revelation : )  It’s our secret weapon! : )  

  • Good point. There is definitely carry-over! : )  

  • First, great to have you back Bill!  Second, thanks for sharing this personal insight. Very good addition to the dialogue. Thanks!  

  • Respectfully I disagree. I think there is a new dynamic that separates Facebook from TV and other platforms.  a) Young people are conditioned to disclose more and are being desensitized to disclosure in reward for advertising benefits. b) There is an evidence trail we did not have before and c) people can see stuff not meant for them. Lots of ways a relationship can be crushed … and not just boyfriend-girlfriend. 

  • Anonymous

    And here’s the challenge…the 24/7 energy of social media (and social media marketing) puts me right in the middle of that old Firesign Theater riff, “How can you be two places at once when you’re not anywhere at all?” http://bit.ly/16ShMp

    For example, just this past week I took a couple of days out of the office. I needed some down time, and needed to spend time with an old friend and with my hubbie. Instead of being “in the moment,” I found myself thinking, “Dang, whassup with things on Twitter? Dang, I need to work on a new blog post!” And now that I’m taking a few minutes for social media and blogging, I think, “Sheesh, I should go outside and take a walk!”

    Alas, I think my work-life-socialmedia “balance” looks more like this – http://bit.ly/kqTR99 – than like this – http://bit.ly/a7pkyE

  • Sometimes, I take a different tack. Some people need a wider context.

    I talk about how the web is forcing us to evolve.

    Our success used to be a function of what we knew.

    Then it became a matter of what you could find.

    Now, in the age of Social Media, your success is determined by what *your friends* find for you, and push to you. It’s cultivating the network that makes you smarter, because it answers questions you didn’t even know to ask.

    http://ike4.me/o106

  • Beautifully said! Sounds like a blog post in the making Ike!

  •  Wow are we on the same page. I’m preparing for an extended vacation and am already concerned about what I’ll miss!  I don’t know if that is responsible or sick!

  • Not just spouses or significant others, for me it’s pretty much everyone, even those who play and post on FB  all the time (I’m more a Twitter person).. if the work/life does not dip into blogging and tweeting and ‘social’ I just get heavy eyerolls from those who think this ain’t work, don’t ‘get’ it, blah blah. Only way I can vote is A with an addition, because if the Internet was done folks would be offering more than just cocktails, probably oxygen and/or weaponry to make some heads roll, get it fixed already. 😉 FWIW.

  • Ha! Thanks for the great comment Davina!

  •  I love this one. I sometimes get all excited and try to explain to my husband what I am excited about and he looks at me all weird 🙂 He is extremely supportive but I don’t think I can really explain why am I “always” online. I think it takes a strong person to be with us bloggers, lol.

  • I actually saw her on my blog too but was scared to tell Dino, wasn’t sure how he would react… 

  • Do I even need to mention my poor hubby’s paypal e-mail getting picked up by spammers cause I was using it 🙂 And he gets all his e-mails to his BB phone and he is always in some serious stuff. So when he is expecting something serious and he gets an e-mail like “Get 1.000 FB likes in 5 minutes”, I kinda wish I was out walking the dog…

    LOL, he is cool actually but the e-mails part is true… 

  • Hard work? Me? No clue. 

  • LOL!!! 

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  • This anecdote isn’t about Twitter, but it is about social media…

    While having dinner with my boyfriend at one of our favorite taverns, I was alerted by Foursquare that one of our friend’s checked in to a nearby brewery.  We decided to cash out and walk over and surprise them there. My boyfriend then said to me, “Ok, but now stop playing with your phone!”  
    Not a minute later I was alerted again by Foursquare that another really good friend just checked in to the place we were at.  Turns out he and the first friend decided to come there instead.  We ended up spending the rest of evening with some good friends (that were seated in another section of the bar and we would have never seen them)  “See!” I told my boyfriend, “It’s a good thing my hand is glued to my phone 🙂

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