Who has time for social media? That’s what I wanted to know. Do bakers really spend their days tweeting: telling the world in 140 characters or less what they are "up to?" I think not. I know that if I had the time for such nonsense, who would really care? Do people have nothing better to do than be concerned with what celebrities or acquaintances around the country watched on TV or think about Michael Jackson conspiracy theories? I, like many in the "real" world, asked, "Who has time for such a seemingly self-serving activity?"

Yet millions around the world are into social sharing. And there actually was at least one valuable outreach recently when violence in Iran was documented on a video phone and sent to the world press via a Twitter account from an area within Iran that was restricted to media.

Closer to home, in a recent survey of Baking & Snack readers, we discovered 56% of respondents spend up to two hours online during business hours, and more than 75% spent most of that time reading industry-related news or doing research, not tweeting. It was gratifying to learn that nearly two-thirds included

www.BakingBusiness.com as their principal destination.

When asked about social media, 60% indicated they participate in some way, yet only 3% use Twitter. More than 20% network via LinkedIn, and although 25% socialize on Facebook, most of those accounts were personal. Nearly 60% of those using social networking sites said professional relationships and business were the primary purposes for joining the online community.

After additional investigation and discovery, the editorial staff at Baking & Snack jumped feet first into LinkedIn, with the intended purpose of creating a community of industry professionals to and from which we can interact on a more immediate basis than our monthly publication.

In early July, we started the Baking & Snack, Sosland Publishing Group on LinkedIn. It is intended as a vehicle not only to disseminate information but also to offer provocative opinions and to gather insight and responses from readers. We encourage open and useful discussions and can assist in linking job seekers to a targeted audience, and so much more.

We are, of course, only in the beginning stages but have already made an impact. With more participants there will be more interaction, and the more useful the group will become. So join the Baking & Snack group and participate in what we hope will be another tool in your workshop to improve your knowledge and your value to those around you.

Go to

www.linkedin.com and do a group search for Baking & Snack. We hope to see you there.



This article can also be found in the digital edition of Baking & Snack, August 1, 2009, starting on Page 10. Click

here to search that archive.