I’ve been hearing a lot of negative talk about social media lately. It seems people think a break from Twitter puts you back in the real world, that spending time on Facebook and LinkedIn is a just time waster where no real work gets done, that most of the interactions are frivolous. It gets tiresome defending social media. I did it before on my by Ron Miller blog in a post called Social Media Cynics in the Press Room. Social Networking on a computer is no more a waste of time than it is in person.
It’s About People
Social networking whether going to a Chamber of Commerce networking luncheon, a tweet up (where you meet people from Twitter in person) or exchanging information in Twitter, is a way of connecting with people. As Cheryl McKinnon wrote in a guest post here recently; Actually, Yes, I Do Care What You Had for Lunch, these exchanges can be mundane or they can be substantive, but they all have to do with relationship building. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn give you access to individuals in real time, some of whom you likely would never have met without the power of social networking.
Real World Examples
This blog stands as a tribute to social networking power because Julie and I forged our friendship and partnership on Twitter. We didn’t know each other before, but we started exchanging tweets, but before you knew it we were writing an eBook together. From there, we created this blog. It’s a real business relationship and a friendship (yet we’ve only met in person one time). I’ve formed several other connections including paying gigs through contacts I’ve made on Twitter, yet have never met in person, as has Julie.
So you can dismiss it as a time waster or a time sink or whatever you want to call it, but if you form strong bonds online, I’ve learned those relationships can be just as strong as any you form in person, and more importantly for many of our readers, it can result in tangible business benefits. The folks who are putting it down, clearly have not made a serious attempt at taking advantage of these tools.
Photo courtesy of hellobo on Flickr.