Seemed appropriate to re-release this, just as a reminder to exponents of social media. First published at Perspectives, on 10 March 2011
Social media really is the future. I mean, I know it’s here now, but it’s development across our society is not going to diminish, but continue to broaden and advance at exponential pace. It’s not easy to keep up with, as everyday somebody seems to come up with a new way to use even the more established online tools.
Those involved with social media, either through personal interest, work or both, have managed to create overlapping networks that have created a social space without geographic boundary (not withstanding those living in some rural parts of the country/world) . I find it difficult to get my head around how all this works and fits together, this virtual entity technology has allowed us to create.
The only way I can describe it, or make sense of it, is thinking of it as one huge living library. And I like that concept. A library, where all the books are online, mostly biographies, all telling their own story as time progresses; sometimes directly, other times indirectly just through your own reading; interactive imaginations that you link to, a virtual social world, that can even influence your own story. It’s getting away from me, this little concept…
Despite the social nature of those who sign up to these things, whether Twitter or Facebook, etc, for me there is still missing that real human element, whether that is through a face to face meeting, or a phone call.
A number of months ago I had a telephone conversation with somebody on a topic of personal importance to me. By today’s standards of communication, what was actually said could have been done using one of the aforementioned social media tools, more than adequately.
More recently, just the other week actually, I have had two separate lunch appointments with colleagues/friends. Did we need to? No, not really. Were there topics we could have discussed privately online? Yes, of course.
The point is, the phone call, the lunch meetings, meant a whole lot more. Each of us in someway had to make a bit of an effort; maybe brush our hair or something; walk somewhere; spend a few pounds. It was a real commitment, rather than it being all a bit #lazyweb.
Human contact, a handshake, sounds, expressions, laughs have a warmth about them that cannot easily (if at all) be truly expressed via words in social media. I took something from each of those ‘traditional’ communications I wouldn’t have been able to get elsewhere…and have used the wisdom of my opposite in each of those meetings since (whether they were aware of their wisdom, is really not the point).
Use social media, use it well, expand your knowledge and your range, break down the geographic boundaries; but where you get reasonable chance or opportunity, phone somebody or go out for lunch.
That is all.