Look around you. When you are out at a restaurant, how many folks do you see typing away on their iPhone or BlackBerry, and ignoring their family or friends? When you are at your kid’s soccer game, how many parents do you see paying more attention to their phone than to what their child is doing on the field? The same question can be posed for business meetings, movies, concerts, parties, sporting events… and the list goes on and on.
When you wake up each morning, is checking your Twitter or Facebook account one of the first things that you do? Do you go home from work and immediately get on your computer or your phone? Have you ever sent a tweet from the dinner table? Have you ever sat in a business meeting with your laptop and found yourself on a social-networking site? Do you have friends on Facebook whom you haven’t spoken with in 20 years who know more about what’s going on in your life than your parents do?
We think we are being social on these gadgets, but are we really?
Don’t get me wrong. I love technology, and I do my fair share of social networking, but it has become increasingly interesting to me how social media has made it easier for people to connect… in much less meaningful and rich ways. Sure, we’re connected, but are we really connecting? Do we truly understand and communicate with each other?
And what is suffering? In my opinion… time, focus, and productivity.
- Time: Quality face-to-face time with family, important business contacts and close friends, or time to read a good book, partake in a meaningful hobby, or do whatever it is you enjoyed doing prior to the social media explosion.
- Focus: Multitasking just doesn’t work. Are you really focused on your family or work (or driving a car) if you keep bouncing back and forth between them and your texts, tweets, or status updates?
- Productivity: This one is pretty obvious… and not just for the workplace.
Social media definitely helps me stay connected to the activities and opinions of my friends and family. I think it is great for that. But should I really be taking the time to care about what some guy from my high school whom I haven’t talked to in more than 20 years has to say about his dream from last night?
Here’s a scary statistic. A September poll by Harris Interactive said that among 18-34-year-olds, just 27 percent said they would rather see friends in person than communicate through social media. Where are we headed? Is human interaction actually at risk?
Regardless, social media cannot continue to be about having lots of friends and followers. It needs to be about expanding your network and making connections with individuals and businesses that might add value to your life in some way. And just to be clear, I really don’t care if you just woke up and think that it is gonna be a wonderful day, or if you just checked in at the OK Café, or if you need one more cow to complete your farm.
— Stephen Weinstein, Director of Account Management