It feels like it was literally just a few days ago when I was in my office, running my PR firm. I would stick my head out into the hallway and scream "I’m expecting a fax, so when it comes in, please get it to me ASAP!”
We had about 40 employees, one fax machine, all landline phones and the biggest copier you ever saw! We had two huge copiers, actually, with one for color (we were fancy). Anyway, I would get a daily call sheet with easily 25 calls that I had to make on it, and each of those calls could’ve potentially lasted 30-45 minutes or more. And, if I was out of the office, I was visiting clients across the NY Metro area all of the time. Every single day was like that, year after year!
Those days were actually not that long ago, ten years, maybe a little more since I started the firm in the late 80’s. Fast forward to today and I’m on my second company. I don’t have a private office. I sit around a large conference room with my 8 employees at my start up, The News Funnel. There are no landlines, no copiers. Just the cellphones, iPads and Macbook Airs that everyone brings to work. We have our headphones in, typically listening to Pandora or something like that. We rarely talk and even will actually email or text each other when we’re sitting two feet from one another! It’s gotten to the point where, other than my wife calling to remind me of something that I forgot to do or did wrong, NO ONE CALLS ME and I CALL NO ONE EITHER.
But, at the same time, I’m "connecting" with people all day. More people than I ever have before. I’m on LinkedIn connecting. Social media connecting. Email connecting. Texting connecting. Contrary to the “popular” belief that social media makes you unproductive, I get so much shit done and am so much more productive now than I ever was. I rarely have meetings and rarely travel much either. I still work the same ridiculous hours, but I feel much more in control of my day and, with that, an incredible amount of creativity to strategize and actually think.
To be honest, I really don’t miss the social aspect of my job and all the time wasted. Sure, I miss some of the BS'ing with people but honestly, not much :) Now, I find myself getting annoyed when people call me and literally just want to BS. It makes me think, am I really being ridiculous and taking this whole social media to the extreme???
After some thought, I realized, NAAAA!!!! I actually like my new "antisocial social behavior,” because the upside is a day spent so much more efficiently and productively. During the times when I really want to be social, you know what I do? I go out and meet up with colleagues in a social setting! Shocker, I know.
I’m sure I am going to get a reaction from one of my friends who say that the art of calling and connecting with people is still critical in business. I agree. I just think that, in this day and age, there are more people like me who are realizing that you can touch a lot more people using social tools. And, even though they’re not as personal, I for one am good with that!