Technology Overkill

I’ve been flaunting around Twitter this week with the hashtag #techNOlogy along with little proverbs on how freeing yourself from this technology-invested world can actually do great wonders. In fact, I’ve deleted so many distracting and relatively-useless apps that it’s given me back what little sanity I used to have.

So how does technology overkill affect you and your business?

Instead of using bullet-points or fancy numerals, I figured I’d approach this post with a more relaxing flow. This post shouldn’t be advice you instantly jot down or chant like a monk’s mantra throughout the day. This is meant to form your professional philosophy.

I’m sure you’ve seen it – the C-suite exec’s walking and talking on their fancy Blackberry devices, numbed to the outside world. It’s fascinating as much as it is tragic. We all at some point in our lives, strive to become these impressive, powerful and influential individuals – emailing away to high-profile clients in Europe or that major supplier from Tokyo. While there’s nothing wrong with this desire, it’s the imbalance which affects us most.

Facebook, Twitter, Email, iMessage, Facetime, Texting, Messengers…

The constant emailing, Tweeting, updating, texting, mobile obsession we’ve all succumbed to. That’s the technology overkill I’m talking about. And it’s ruining our culture, or more importantly, your business. And here’s how.

Frequent use of social media and interactive professional services (such as LinkedIn or email) are a great asset to anyone’s professional life. The enabling features of these services allow you to expand your brand in incredible ways. But they can also disrupt the quality or perception of your brand in the public eye, not to mention its disruption of your own personal life.

When we text, Tweet, message, Facebook, email, connect, etc.. there is always good use and overuse. The good use of these tools is evident: they help scale and improve business. In the realm of overuse, instead of using these tools, we become used by the tools. They overtake our lives and consume our time.

They make us zombies.

Cue The Walking Dead‘s dramatic intro. But it’s true – the amount of technology we have today has developed us from a productive culture into a counter-productive one. Sure, we get that report to that person for that project by that deadline, and we remind friends what time to come over, but have you noticed how much of our personal life has been consumed by technology? It’s almost as if our lives are dictated based upon whether someone RSVP’s to that event on Facebook or if that Tweet gets favorited.

Because the condition of our personal life affects the way we conduct business in our professional life. And to have that constant obsession – or rather, worry – hanging above your head can be scary. To wonder when someone will respond to your email or text message, or if that friend of yours will accept your third Facetime request, can really have a negative impact. Let’s be blunt.

Social media makes us anxious.

And anxiety is not something you wake up in the morning and greet with a smile. It, like I just mentioned, affects the way we conduct ourselves both personally and professionally. What we need to do is take a step back from technology – not to allow ourselves to become so engrossed in the digital world. Businesses are built by the people who run them, and not by the technology which runs the people.

It is true that many businesses take advantage of the plethora of tools made possible to them, and it is great that they do so. But when the workplace or home life becomes far too enamored with excessive emails, Tweets, or messages, it draws away from the real connection we’re meant to make as people.

And as people, we’re supposed to be happy, right? Well this study by the University of Michigan reports that Facebook has shown to lead to a decline in overall happiness. It’s no wonder that in a world of instant-gratification and technology overkill we see this type of issue present.

So what about your business, your brand?

The good news is that, if you’re reading this, your business and your brand aren’t in much trouble. This has been meant as more of a warning – a wake up call – for you to realize the potential impact technology has on zombifying you and your work.

Try to make little changes in your daily routine, whether that be through turning your phone off or allowing yourself a quick 15 minute no-tech timeout. I personally use part of my post-workout routine to relax and meditate without my phone or iPod as I stretch. I find that this does tremendous help to get me through the day, feeling refueled and refreshed.

 

Best of luck in timing yourself out from the digital world!

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Expanding Your LinkedIn Profile

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The goal of this post is to get you ranking within the top 25% of your connections. If you already have an All-Star level profile, follow several companies related to your area of expertise, and rank within the top 25% of your connections, then you need not worry about this. Although I do recommend you look over the main points and give your profile a brushing up.

For those of you, who do not fulfill each requirement as mentioned above, continue reading for ways to improve and expand your profile.

 

Get your profile to All-Star level

There are a few steps which we need to take in order to get your LinkedIn profile to the All-Star level. I personally achieved this level within a year of starting a LinkedIn profile, due to the fact that I had accomplished a lot. I had plethora of content to fill my profile with, thus leading to the LinkedIn algorithm trusting my experience and elevating me to the All-Star level.

You may or may not have a great deal of experience – but that does not matter in the slightest. On the road to 500+ connections, we will walk through ways to take a small amount of content and spin it into a larger, fuller profile.

 

Use a professional photo

According to LinkedIn, having a professional photo published to your profile increases your odds of being found in searches by 700%. LinkedIn is all about growing your public image and your personal brand. Pictures build trust and act as your first impression.

Additionally, you’ll want to upload a background image to accompany the rest of your profile. This image should properly render on LinkedIn desktop and mobile, as well as should be large enough to avoid grainy pixilation.

 

Creative an informative headline

Your profile allows for a 120 character headline, so make the most of it. Use your headline to briefly describe who you are and what you do. The following two headlines are examples of what to do, and what not to do.

BAD: Hustlin’ every day in the big city ay

GOOD: Sales Engineer and Data Analyst

Complete your profile summary

This is your professional elevator pitch – what you must use to convince the multitude of your intellectual superiority and professional track record. But it’s also your own personal description of who you are. Don’t sound robotic like a resume objective, and don’t be too lackadaisical. Find the middle ground and use words such as:

  • Aim
  • Visionary
  • Achieved
  • Resourceful
  • Reliable
  • Strong

Add your current position and previous work history

Another LinkedIn report indicates that by listing your two most recent positions, you are 1200% more likely to be found in searches. If that doesn’t convince you, think about this as your online, social resume. You want others to view you as an accomplished individual and nothing less.

 

Add skills and expertise

This area of your LinkedIn profile gives you the opportunity to showcase your skills and abilities – ultimately what you want have endorsed. At a minimum, you should include 5 skills specific to your area of expertise.

For example, instead of adding “Microsoft Office”, if you are a talent recruiter, add “Microsoft Powerpoint” and “Microsoft Word”. If you are a project manager, add “Microsoft Excel” and “Microsoft Access”.

See how I was able to take one skill and turn it into two? Do that.

 

Include your education details

Adding your education details may be the most important point on here because it enables you to connect with more alumni, showcase your alma mater pride, and let others know your credentials.

The education section is not just for your college diploma! I highly encourage you to add in addition to your degrees, your specializations, certifications, awards, and anything else which would be relevant to your professional profile.

 

Grow your connections

In order to have a completed profile, LinkedIn requires you to have at least 50 primary connections. By linking your email account and inviting those in your contacts, you can easily achieve this number.

 

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Setup a LinkedIn URL

Once you have completed your profile and continue to add connections, the All-Star status should not be too far away. Growing your connections will always be difficult, but the work pays off in the end.

So by now you have a profile full of high school extracurricular activities and professional collegiate societies. Great! The next step is to create a LinkedIn URL.

Many profiles will come with one and these typically involve the following format: www.linkedin.com/in/YOUR_EMAIL_ADDRESS. You can edit the URL itself if you wish to change the extension by which people publically find your profile.

 

Follow relevant companies

As a final note this post on expanding your LinkedIn profile: follow companies that pertain to your field or industry. For myself, I am involved with insurance and entrepreneurship, so I follow the major players in each respective industry.

Following or joining groups related to your skills is also a huge plus to your LinkedIn profile. I personally following several groups related to actuarial science and predictive modeling for the insurance side of my work, and a few startup groups for the entrepreneurial side of my work.

 

Utilize these three main points and you will find yourself ranking within the top 25% of your connections by the end of the week.

 

Best of luck in expanding your LinkedIn profile!

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