I’m sat here at 2am in a rather warm Taipei just after Chinese new year unable to sleep because I have a blocked nose and my youngest daughter is also feeling a bit rough.

by gfpeck
by gfpeck (cc)

So while I was sat in the easy chair holding her as she slept I started thinking about what people had asked me about bringing her here for the first time. “Is it the first time that her grandparents have seen her?”

Well it is, sort of.  Of course they have seen pictures of her on flickr, Photobox, had video chats on Skype, seen me talk about her on Facebook. I can’t remember when we sent an email or picked up a normal phone to talk – so  they really knew her before she arrived in Taiwan. Of course we have also been able to see how her 4 cousins have grown – not forgetting our own eldest daughter who loves more than anyone to chat on Skype and debate the ways of the world with her grandma and show her what she is wearing. Talking of which my wife was using a site called Babyhome (in Chinese) to share pictures and a diary when she had our first – we know most of our friends in London through this site – well before Facebook was making news.

When I get back to England I have said I’ll do some panel thing at work with managers from around the business – and I’m being touted as a social media communications expert (I am fully aware of what an expert is and it all depends on who is in the room) – within communications I’m probably not doing too bad though. So I was thinking, what the hell am I going to say to these peoplen if I get asked a question, I keep meaning to come up with some line and appear to be organised but it never happens. I usually come up with it on the spot. I was also thinking about something that came up in my review about measuring what I do more or how others can measure it themselves (that is measuring the benefit of social media).

So first off, the way we live and where we live determine what techniques we use to keep in touch. They are not an alternative to seeing my in-laws, they are an addition.  We aren’t going to stop coming here every year because we have Skype or Facebook – which is often where business gets it wrong. They think this will replace a face-to-face. Someone said to me, “I don’t like social media, I prefer to see my friends in the flesh.” Well, duh! Only because you like watching DVDs, does that mean you can never go to the cinema? No.

Funny that someone as anti-social as me is into social media and it has actually made me more social as the number one benefit I get is being prepared for meeting someone I have never met before and can instantly start chatting about topics we both know we like or have in common. Meeting a stranger rarely happens these days. I know most of them before meeting and not just from a phone call.. that is usually the last method of communication.  At work I may see pictures on their Beehive or Facebook profile, chat on Twitter with them or read their blog. And you know what, meetings get going quicker and things get done faster because trust and familiarity  is already established.

I feel how I keep in touch with people outside work is no different from in work. And I don’t sit there once a month looking at stats on how well I’m doing with the in-laws, how many comments I got from friends on Facebook, the number of instant messages on MSN. So why would I do that at work?

To measure the way that you are doing a job is ridiculous. To measure what you produce or achieve isn’t.  Judge me on the overall results of my work not on how I get there. What social media “experts” are saying is that these are techniques that will help you individually, at home, at work and throughout your life. Families come together from different parts of the world, business is the same. Find what works and if you don’t think it is helping YOU.. then try something else.

You won’t need to measure it because you will know, you’ll be talking to yourself.

This was all so much clearer in my head when I was sat in the chair earlier with Zoe. So I still need to invent that machine which takes thoughts directly out of my head and puts them on a screen.. but when I do, that won’t stop me talking to people, it just might mean that this blog was much much shorter.

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