Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Is Social Media Anti-Social?

A portion of my day is spent reading blogs, as many of you do. Social media is the key topic of many blogs and rightly so, as it's a key economic driver for many industries, not just web companies. The current axiom is "you're nobody, unless you're on a social network." This is not restricted to people, but companies of all types. No one is immune to this phenomenon.

But the question I raise, from my readings and experience, is the title of this blog. Is social media anti-social? I've spoken to MBA students who supported my research and the answer is "it can be." Friends text and use the social networks to communicate, many post the trivial details of their lives. This appears to be social, but in most cases there is no emotional engagement. I think of it in the same vein as the when email communications began (admit you remember when there was no email). People became frustrated and even mad, because they could not determine the author's tone. Jokes became offensive, until the icon vernacular developed, i.e. smiley faces, lol, etc.

Redefine social networking is "posting" not "sharing".

One blog exchange I read displayed the reader clearly could not understand a company's reason for sending a physical "Thank you" gift, or even a phone call thank you, for a large order they received from a customer. They believed a email was sufficient. Which do you believe is the better approach for relationship building and retaining?

The most prevalent environment, supporting this subject, is in a restaurant. I challenge you to look around and survey how many people are engaged in verbal communications, looking up at each other (as opposed to looking down using their smart phones), or heaven forbid, PDA-physical connection.

Social networking is an incredible communication channel and I love having found and connected with lost friends, from around the world. When I'm in another city, I try to arrange a physical visit and engage a verbal conversation or share an event with them. Heck, sometimes, I call them on the phone, spontaneously. Voice is an amazing sound with inflections, laughter, tears … emotions felt, received, responded with heartfelt reactions.

Keep networking, but don't forget and/or learn how to communicate, using your other God given senses.

Just image a physical hug. How does that make you feel?

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