THE BLOG
04/03/2014 03:41 pm ET Updated Jun 03, 2014

Is Your Voice Worth Elevating?

In all the social media that you follow, how many messages do you see that are actually worth your time? For that matter, how much value is there in what you are posting? There are very different kinds of value that can be derived from all things social. Maybe it's time to differentiate the value and values being shared!

Sure, it's fun to see someone's mom eating her Sunday's Sundae (OK, I did post this pic of my own mom on my FB account -- it's really fun watching her devour these huge sundaes and equally fun sharing with my friends and family!) Clearly, nothing can be more valuable than Mom, and one aspect of being social is the opportunity to share these kinds of intimate moments that might otherwise be lost.

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However, there are equally meaningful opportunities that being social presents today. Surely you have noticed all the advertising that is swamping the social media world today. For good reason, economically anyway. FastCompany tells us: "Social media has overtaken porn as the number one activity on the web."

FastCompany goes on to report, along with digital marketing site, DMR, that 80 percent of Twitter and Facebook users say they are more likely to purchase from brands that they follow or connect with on social media. Said differently, social media has become its own center of influence. So, of course advertisers are all over these SM sites.

Don't Raise Your Voice -- Elevate Instead!

What about you? What about me? What can we learn from the impact of social media on influencing other people?

The simple fact is that social media gives each of us the opportunity to raise our voice. The trolls of the Web have been raising their voices for quite some time now. But I'm not talking about raising your voice to give others grief or sow discord with inflammatory postings. Rather, I'm suggesting that social media now gives each of us the opportunity to elevate our voice, to rise above the ordinary, to make a difference worth making.

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If you have a subject that you care about passionately, maybe it's time to use your social media accounts as a way to share your insights, to engage others in the conversation, and to build a community of people who believe as you do. It's more than garnering Likes and Shares. It's about contributing something of value to those who care as you do.

But Social Media Is Still a #TimeVampire, Right?

We all know social media can be a tremendous #TimeVampire, sucking endless amounts of time with very little apparent return on time invested. However, a new generation of "social media ecosystems" are providing each of us with a deeper understanding of social media coupled with revolutionary simplicity yielding tremendous value while avoiding unseen risks.

The problem is clearly not new and the market is beginning to take notice. Desktop or dashboard-like tools are rapidly coming to market to help cut down the time it takes to manage your social media accounts. Klout will suggest a few articles for you based on key word associations and then help Tweet or post your comments directly. HootSuite is optimized for Twitter, but will also let you monitor your feeds from LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook. It also allows you to search for trending stories, manage your pages from the HootSuite dashboard and can schedule posts automatically for you. New platforms are on the way, combining even more robust research tools with auto-posting to help you find important blogs, articles and postings that match who you are and what you care about.

These and other emerging tools are all steps in the right direction. Some make it easier to find interesting stories to comment on, to manage one or more aspects of your social accounts, and most take at least some of the pain out of the actual posting process, automating the process in the background.

The great promise of these rapidly emerging tools is the ability to help each of us create interesting content, elevate our voices, and contribute to building communities of consequence. In the next few weeks, we'll be taking a look at how social media can impact a range of things you care about from helping you find your next career move to how you can influence conversations of consequence locally, nationally and even globally.

I'd love to hear from you. What do you think about social media as a platform to elevate conversations, to connect people across communities of consequence, to make a meaningful difference to yourself and others? Please do leave a comment here or drop me an email at Russell (at) russellbishop.com.

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If you want more information on how you can apply this kind of reframing to your life and to your job, about a few simple steps that may wind up transforming your life, please download a free chapter from my book, Workarounds That Work. You'll be glad you did.

You can buy Workarounds That Work here.

Russell Bishop is an educational psychologist, author, executive coach and management consultant based in Santa Barbara, Calif. You can learn more about my work by visiting my website at www.RussellBishop.com. You can contact me by e-mail at Russell (at) russellbishop.com.