Unless you’re a cave dweller who’s been off the grid for a decade or so, you’re probably familiar with the concept of social media. You’re also probably just as familiar with the mobile gaming sensation Angry Birds. They’ve both taken the world by storm over the past couple of years.

What else do these two things have in common? More than you probably thought. Whether you have an affinity for the former or the latter (or neither), understanding these social phenomena can have a positive impact on you as a professional and as an individual.

Here are some of the similarities between social media and Angry Birds, and what each can teach you about the other.

1. When You Start, You Won’t Be Very Good

When You First Start You Won't Be Any Good

5 Ways That Social Media Is Like Angry Birds

So, you’ve convinced yourself to check out social media. You’ll get the hang of it. But not at first. Anything new seems a little disorienting at the start. Ask 100 long-time Twitter users and 99 of them will tell you that their first tweets were each, “I don’t get it.” But check in on those same people a few months later and they’re excitedly talking about the latest Twitter chats they had or how Twitter is the most amazing referral engine they’ve ever experienced.

Similarly, when you first give Angry Birds a try, you’ll likely stumble at first. You may even drop the ball (or flub your bird). You’ll get frustrated and want to quit. Then, just as you’re about to put the game down for good, you achieve an unexpected victory, and you’re on to the next level. “Tweet, tweet” indeed!

2. Failures Provide Clues to Success

Pay Attention to What Doesn't Work

Once you’ve mastered the basics of social media, you’ll want to move on to strategy. There are a number of different ways you can get really good at optimizing your efforts, but perhaps the most effective way is learning from your mistakes. If you find that your updates are falling on deaf ears, take a different approach. If you can’t get any engagement on Google+, try spending some time on Pinterest instead.

Play a particularly difficult level on Angry Birds and it may seem like you’re just banging your head against a brick wall — literally! But what about if you could go over that wall and circle back on your objective?

There’s always a way around what seems to be an insurmountable obstacle. What’s that? The toucans can fly backwards like a boomerang? We’ll bet you never knew that trial and error could so much fun, or be so effective!

3. A Diversion May Be Just What You Need

Sometimes a Diversion Is What You Need

Social media doesn’t always need to be about ROI or KPIs. Sometimes it’s completely legit just to have a little fun. Post a link to a dancing cat video, tell a joke, or tweet about #bacon. Have a laugh, blow off a little steam and you’ll be refreshed and ready to get back to those advanced strategies we mentioned, above.

If your smartphone has evolved into your mobile office, that’s great. There are lots of productivity apps that can keep you in the loop even when you’re on the go. But every now and then, consider turning off your email notifications, log out of Google Docs, and log in to Angry Birds instead. Allow your clenched jaw to loosen into a smile when you score a direct hit on that box of TNT!

Pleasurable activities of all kinds release endorphins, which can reportedly aid in stress management and improve overall health. So the next time your spouse, boss, or employees tell you that you’re looking a little stressed, tweet them your latest Angry Birds highscore!

4. Sometimes You Should Be Do Something Else

Sometimes You Should Be Doing Something Else

Of course, social media is a valuable part of your overall marketing strategy. But it shouldn’t be the only part. For example, you can still probably benefit greatly from making some old-fashioned sales calls, and yes, these can be made from a smartphone. Every business owner has to do things like order supplies, balance the books, and perform countless other important tasks in the run of a day. Although perhaps not as fun or engaging as social media, these tasks still need to get done and they also deserve your attention.

Perhaps we should have warned you that Angry Birds can be addictive. But there is a time and a place for everything. So if you find yourself standing in the same place, for a very long time — playing Angry Birds — then it’s probably time to move on to something more productive. Take a deep breath, let the endorphins do their thing, and get back to the business at hand.

Do you have a passion for social media? How about Angry Birds? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

[Image credits: Jordan Owens, Melvin Schlubman, David Farrell, aroid, Marshall Astor]