Last year, a friend offered her company’s social media services. She volunteered to help me follow amazing people on Twitter, clean up my Facebook profiles, and manage my LinkedIn account.
If I liked her services, I only needed to recommend her company to other busy professionals who use social media platforms.
I first noticed something was wrong when I started seeing tweets from elementary school teachers and dentists in my feed. That didn’t seem right. I looked at my Twitter account and realized that I had begun to follow spouses, boyfriends, children, colleagues, and service providers who are connected to colleagues in the HR blogging community.
Yikes. Instead of spending my newly-minted free time at the spa, I had to do some research and find out why I looked like an online predator.
“We mapped out people you follow and proactively followed the people who influence them,” my friend told me.
Like my former colleague’s mom?
“Yes, apparently so. Sorry about that.”
Yeah, okay, nobody died. I wasn’t furious. But it was a good reminder that important tasks in life require ownership. If you want something done right, you should do it yourself.
Many of us are obsessed with becoming more efficient. We want four-hour work weeks and more time with our loved ones. We outsource our “non-essential tasks” to cheap and undocumented workers. I have learned that the tedious and seemingly non-essential tasks in my life — like keeping a clean house, answering email, managing my Twitter account — are essential to others. When I give up control, the quality of those interactions decline.
Nobody is asking you to cut your own hair or diagnose your own medical conditions, but I would like you to consider something I’ve learned: the rote and tedious challenges of life have meaning for others. If something is worth doing in the first place, it’s worth doing well. And only you can do it.