A friend of my daughter said this about her, and it's true. When something sparkly catches her eye, you might as well put a leash on the girl so she doesn't walk into the side of a building and hurt herself.


I was never like that myself (she said smugly). Until, I met my husband and got engaged. We went ring shopping and the "sparkle gene" kicked in. I've been walking into the side of buildings (and parked cars, and people) ever since.

It's also called "Shiny Object Syndrome - SOS" and the "BSO Effect." When it happens, your IQ runs out your left ear, you fixate on the desired object and proclaim, "Ohhhh! That's so incredible. Must have, must have!"

So, anyway, I called my daughter to ask permission to quote her in this article and she reminded me that I've always been distracted by bright shiny objects, the technological kind. "Mom! Have you ever seen yourself in a computer store??? Hmmmmm???" Which is a good point, and true, and brings me to MY point here:

Lately I've noticed that many of our clients are suffering from it as well, and it goes like this: "I'm gonna get a blog, and do that Twitter thing, join LinkedIn, and have a Facebook account with ALL my photos and images, and I heard how it's great marketing and . . ."

Gotta love those bright shiny objects.

But before you end up walking into the side of buildings, stop and spend some time doing a bit of thinking, and research. Do you really NEED it? Can it really do everything you think it can? Are you ready for the time and $$ commitment to really make it effective? Is it right for you and your business? And is it going to take you away (for more than a short time each week) from more productive marketing and business activities?

"Oh, but it doesn't cost anything!" you say. Think again.

Your time is worth a lot, and online social networking and online marketing can eat up a ton of time without being particularly effective (at increasing your income, although you may make a lot of new friends). An example: One of our clients has become heavily involved in one of the online social networking sites. She spends hours (and hours) of her time "working" by posting comments, talking about her work, she adds pictures of her family, recipes, and replies to other people's comments about her comments in reply to their comments about, er, someone's comment. Has it helped her business? No. In fact, it's kept her away from other more productive marketing activities and away from doing what she does for a living. That's a pretty steep opportunity cost. So unless you blog for a living (and if so I bow in reverence to your skill), think about it please.

Yes, online marketing and social networking can be very effective and good marketing tools IF you do them right. That means being selective and finding the right ones for you, learning what it takes to make it effective, budgeting in time to work on it, and keeping at it long enough. Otherwise, make it a hobby and acknowledge it for what it is: a bright shiny object that's fun (and that's okay) but not something that's going to help your business (at least not much).

Oh, and my 24-year-old-online-maven of a daughter (who has 23 years of computer experience, I'm not exaggerating) made a very good point and wants you to think about something she had to learn the hard way and doesn't want you to suffer the same:

If you put yourself out there, people WILL find ALL the online bits of you and judge you by it. So if you've got other personal online social networking accounts with less-than-flattering personal information and/or embarrassing photos and you think you can keep it separate or secret, well, chances are you won't be able to. What with search engines and all that groovy software that helps us find stuff on the web, it will find all of your stuff as well.

Okay, enough, you get the point. Gotta fly. I saw this FAB necklace the other day, so sparkly! Can't stop thinking about it. Ouch! Who put that wall there?

Stay shiny!

List of Articles
AuthorRobin Sagara
CategoriesWorking Smart