Over a decade since we all became engrossed in the online and digital world of social media.
Do you feel like you are better connected? I don't mean by the ease at which you can superficially be connected to many people, but instead, do you feel closer to the people in your life?
Are there more people you consider close friends? Do you have more intimate connections to business colleagues? Are you more fulfilled with your social life? Is there a stronger feeling of camaraderie with clients, co-workers, vendors, etc?
Some will day yes. But many say no. Social media seemed like it was going to enhance our lives (and it has), but are we really experiencing the benefits of stronger connections?
I argue we are not suddenly more engaged with people than we were a decade ago. Maybe it is the same, but it appears for some we are worse off. Yes, we know when strangers ate a burrito for lunch, but while in restaurants I often see people not talking to the people at their table while they stare at their phones.
For ten years people have talked about how social media was made up of amazing tools, and that is true. But I have talked to audiences for the past decade about how to get back to the basics of human engagement. Early on the "social media gurus" mocked my position of not linking to everyone with a pulse as my being old fashion. Now those same "experts" are teaching people how to purge their social media contacts to eliminate those with whom they have no reason to be connected.
One of many things I have taught is the "Coffee, Meal, or Beer Rule". It simply states that you do not need to connect on LinkedIn or Facebook to people you have not had a real conversation with (and by real, I mean approximately 30 minutes or more). Granted, there are exceptions and reasons to link with some people you have not really met, but for the most part strangers just fill your feeds with crap. I argued with "experts" on how you should build up your numbers, only to now see them disrupting their own teachings to veer back to a more realistic approach for connecting online and in-person.
Don't get me wrong, I love social media and have used it as a valuable tool since it arrived on the scene. But do not think it has magic powers, or that giving Facebook $10 to boost your posts will have much of an impact. The key word is "social". If you can use these tools to engage people hand enhance conversations, then do it. But if you think likes, links, shares, and follows have any value by themselves, then you are lost.
I enjoy seeing the "gurus" of ten years ago adopt ideas that are in line with my "Coffee, Meal, or Beer Rule". as a lot of time and money has been wasted in this whole ideas that social media will sell things for the average person. The average person cannot look to a Kardashian business model, as that is simply not how the real world works.
When I began my career as a speaker ten years ago, I was warned that I could not make a living talking about "networking" from a traditional perspective. I was advised to jump on the social bandwagon as it was the "hot topic". Today my long-standing ideas are not only gaining ground, but they are what is working for people in a variety of industries.
We can embrace social media tools while at the same time disrupting the hype. If you want to be more successful and uncover unlimited opportunities, you need a "Choose People - Not Screens" mentality.
All opportunities come from people. There are no real shortcuts.
Have A Great Day