Social Media is not a Social Life…

Social Media is Still Media


It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity

Albert Einstein


I remember riding around the neighborhood as a kid, stopping at friends houses until I found someone who could play. I usually didn’t even call first. I just got on my bike and rode.  I would see kids I wasn’t even going to see and we’d hang out and go see other friends together.

The neighborhood was our meeting place. The park, the school, the church lawn, or just riding around until we found each other.

When I was in high school we would meet after school and decide where to go or talk during the day and decide. In the summer there were so many friends around that we always knew what everyone was doing the next day.

Now I spend most of my free time with my family or having a drink with friends.

Certainly Facebook , Twitter and Blogging have become a part of my life and have value for me, but they are not my social life. Many people have began to live their lives through “social media” and I think it is important to remember that social media is still media. It is computers and phones and technology and it helps us keep connections, but there is a difference between social media and a social life.

I email and text message my friends all the time and I am certainly wired into technology. I own a technology company, get my business from the internet,  and I am on my iPhone all throughout the day, but not as a replacement for the real world.

Social, to me, means human interaction. Real touch and connection and dialogue with inflection and emotion. Laughing out loud- not LOL. Social is about feeling each other’s energy and being in the same space together.

At the coffee shop the other day I heard a girl tell the guy behind the counter that she had over 1000 MySpace friends and a few minutes later told someone on the phone that she “had no social life”. But the irony reached its peak when she was leaving and the guy told he would look her up online to chat. He didn’t even ask her email address- he would look her up.

Socia Media is Not a Social Life

I flew to the east coast last month to give a presentation that could have easily been done online with Gotomeeting but never could have resulted in me feeling like I knew the client like I do. Monday I am giving a presentation that could be very big for my company and when they asked me to put together a powerpoint I set up a time when I could show it to them in person.

You can tell a lot about someone by their handshake or the way they smile. The energy of being at a ballgame cannot be reproduced by video. And Twittering four hundred times a day or spending hours on Facebook cannot take the place of simply raising a glass with friends to toast life.

Offline…

What if Twitter Got Serious?

what-if-twitter-got-serious

I enjoy seeing new technology and I love change. And I like to see new apps and ideas change how business is done. These are exciting things for me. But Twitter, with all of its potential, is just not very useful.

Using Twitter is like slamming my head into a wall and then eating some delicious ice cream, and then slamming my head into a wall again- It’s really great and really painful.

I understand certain applications for it and how they are valuable (sharing experiences about a convention or family trip, feeding your updates to a website, audience participation during a speech or discussion group, sharing quick thoughts and insights), but on a day to day basis it is frustrating to sort through hundreds and thousands of conversation pieces for the precious few tidbits of information I actually want.

What’s really frustrating is how easy it would be for Twitter to make the thing very useful.

If Twitter had a simple category or tagging system or channels where I could look at “business” tweets or tweets tagged with “real estate” or something- that would be very valuable to me.

I use a Twitter feed on BlueRoof now but I had to create a new account where I would only post items relevant to the website audience. If there were channels I could simply use that one channel from my same account to feed to my website.

With dozens of employees I have no idea what Twitter programmers do all day. They obviously are not creating a good search function or a way for people to get better use out of the product.

I am hopeful that one day Twitter will make some investment into the usability of the product, or that someone else will launch of much-better product of their own.

As a side note- all the ridiculous “Tweet” and “Twit” names are just freaking annoying- Tweets, Twits, Tweetle Dee, Twitterooza, Twit’n Tweeters Tweedling Twadoozles… enough already!!!