Stressed out business owners are struggling these days to cope with the modern commercial world. A report published this month on stress, shows that the recession is having a clear impact on the levels of stress. And the Internet is making it all worse.
Every day online, business leaders are faced with an ever-increasing toll on their activities. Not only is there simply more to read, such as a rising amount of customer email, but there is more to do, such as add to Facebook, Tweet away on Twitter and comment on blogs. Information overload is the order of the day and if that’s not enough, there are increasing numbers of online services to use and monitor. Quite when we are all supposed to get our work done is a real issue.
Add to this source of stress, the pressures of the current business financial environment, an average individual debt of £30,500 and the threat of job losses looming large and you can begin to see why anxiety, stress and depression are becoming increasingly common. Daily life online is doing nothing to relieve the situation. Indeed a study conducted well before the Internet was as busy as it is nowadays suggests simply spending time online can cause stress.
There are several options available to us. We could simply give up and go and be the next Robinson Crusoe on some idilyic Pacific island. Oh drat, that job has been filled. Alternatively, we could ignore all the Internet has to offer, knuckle down and get on with some “real work”. Or we could embrace the Internet as a means of helping us find more business. But if we choose that option we’re back into the world of information overload and the need to be “ever present” on Facebook, Ecademy, Twitter and so on. It seems, therefore, there’s only one thing we can do to reduce our stress – ignore the Internet. After all, we managed fine without it once upon a time.
This is, of course, patent nonsense; businesses now depend upon the Internet and you simply would not survive without it. Remember the last time your broadband went down, or your email server crashed? It made the day really difficult didn’t it? So, your options are limited; you can’t give up much the Internet has to offer and you can rush off to that desert island. You simply have to accept you are stuck in the information age, where managing all the extra activities you need to do is an essential capability.
So, if you are not using Ping.fm, you are doing yourself a real disservice and, potentially, increasing your stress levels. As I explained a week or so ago, Ping.fm is a brilliant service that allows you to update all of your different social networks at the same time – without duplication. When you want to update a social network, or add a small note on Facebook, you need to visit the relevant service, log in, write your material and then do the same for another service, such as Twitter or Ecademy. That all takes time – and is one of the reasons why so few people actually update all their social networks.
A few people have worked out that you can use one service to update another. For instance, you can update FriendFeed and then send the information to Facebook. Or you can write a blog and send it to Twitter, using Twitterfeed. However, you only need to set another service to update something – such as sending a Twitter item to Facebook and before you know it you have a “loop” which is difficult to resolve. You end up writing a Tweet that appears on Facebook that then goes to FriendFeed that ends up back on Facebook and so on and so on.
With Ping.fm, you can forget all that. All you need is one account at Ping.fm and it can update all your social networks. Just make sure you have stopped any services that update, say, Facebook from FriendFeed, and let Ping.fm manage everything. That way, all you need to do is log in to Ping.fm every morning and update everything in one go. For those of you who would rather use a Twitter application, such as Tweetdeck or Seesmic Desktop, simply set up a feed for your Twitter updates at Twitterfeed and post that to Ping.fm. That way you can use Twitter the way you want and then use Ping.fm to update everything for you.
The RSS feed you need is on your Twitter profile page, at the bottom of the right hand column. Twitterfeed can then use that RSS feed to update Ping.fm, which will then post your Tweets to all of your other social networks automatically.
Whatever you do, though, make it a priority to sort out how you update all your social networks and contribute to them so that you minimise your effort. That way you’ll reduce the chances of stress-induced anxiety – and you’ll free up time to get on with your business, or dreaming about that desert island.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+