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…

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24 thoughts on “Social Media is not a Social Life…

  1. Hi Greg!

    “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.”

    See you at ReTechSouth and the RETS dinner this Thursday in Georgia where we can share a familiar handshake, a genuine smile, a big bear hug 🙂 , and share a toast to life.

    Cheers my friend…….

    Rudy
    Social Media Guru at Trulia

  2. Greg,
    I couldn’t agree with you more. We all live such busy lives and it’s easy to loose site of our priorities. We appreciate all of the work you do for Prudential Utah Real Estate. Keep it up!

  3. Sometimes I get downright disturbed at the amount of time the kids want to spend on the Internet. I truly appreciate your childhood memories of “social networking.” I grew up on Reed Avenue in Salt Lake City. The street was narrow and we knew EVERYONE on the block. I have lived in my current home for three months and still haven’t formally met my neighbors . . . maybe I should try to find them on AIM . . .

  4. Personal contact is overrated. The future is in digital eyeballs, handshakes and sex. We used to concern ourselves with the After Life, now it’s our Second Life. Why concern ourselves with living life when we can have a streaming life?

    Dude, you are becoming quite the philosopher!

  5. I understand about not having a social life, it’s lonely out there. But, I am an advocate of the arm chair traveler. Checking out videos of China online before planning an extended trip saves money, avoids costly mistakes and allows one to see “what will be coming next.” Why not live vicariously through others? I’ll never climb Mt. Everest, but I love watching someone else in real time make that sacrifice.

  6. John- Good to hear from you… we cannot stop the future and I like technology so it’s fun to see it coming.

    Mr Mogul- Good points. I use technology for those same reasons, but it’s good to have a balance of real human interaction 🙂

  7. I couldn’t agree with you more. Many seem to pull into their computers, smart phones and are not paying attention to everything else. I think there are good parts yes, but this drive to be in the electric social media space is wild. As far as business goes, I research and view sites which I think I will gain something from intellectually. I feel trying to build a business on facebook is a waste. You would be better off blogging about what you do and get it seo friendly. This would get the public to be able to find you or work on a web site to get the world to find you with your wares.
    Socially it can help people to keep in touch and create an online relationship maybe. But in person it is all different.
    There is no interface or screen. In person you are what you are. Wonderful!

  8. My wife hears about my day through Facebook, so there isn’t much to catch up on over dinner.

    Either way, it will be interesting to watch how this conversation evolves over the next 10 years. I have a feeling that my 3 year-old daughter will eventually be teaching me about technology while I teach her about communication.

    Great post.

  9. Mark,

    That’s such a great example- “My wife hears about my day through Facebook, so there isn’t much to catch up on over dinner.”

    Social networking is really changing human interaction, not just in the real estate and mortgage industries, but for everyone who uses them.

    Very interesting… thank you for sharing.

  10. I totally agree with your article. In the current technological trends of our nation I feel personal communication and relationships are becoming strained. I am a Realtor in Riverside, CA and I can say that I have received much more positive influence with my clients when I am able to meet with them face to face. All of this technology nowadays just eliminates the “human” aspect, probably one of the biggest parts of communication.

  11. I totally agree with this post. Social media is not a social life. It’s just a great way to connect and build relationships over the web in addition to connecting with family and friends long distance. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Unfortunately, my generation (I’m 27) is probably the last that remembers those times, pre-mainstream-tech, when socializing was more symbiotic. Life was more adventurous.

    Indeed you had to (got to) get up off your butt, ride your bike to your friend’s house and knock on the door, and while it might be disappointing if they couldn’t come out and play, you didn’t think like an adult “Oh what a waste of time riding over here…”, you were on to the next thing or the next friend’s house.

    Nowadays, a kid doesn’t have to get up from sitting on the couch or lying on their bed at all, they need only to send a text, and even if they did get a reply that the person was available, they haven’t put in any energy, the proper motivation may simply be gone, they may just decide “Meh, why don’t you come over here?” and maybe they both just decide to stay home, continue eating junk food, watching TV and just texting instead.

    It’s all tied together, the more technology (convenience) we have, the bigger the decline in intelligence and health we have, younger and younger. And that doesn’t exclude me, I’ve gotten pretty dumb and lazy on this laptop as apposed to the days of digging ditches, I was pretty healthy and sharp then, perhaps even happy? But, our monetary system doesn’t reward hard work, it rewards “smart” work, always has.

    The saddest part is that kids today don’t have a chance to experience life organically, kids are practically born with a cell phone in their hands fired up to their pre-registered Facebook accounts, so they’ll never know the difference. And us trying to tell them “When I was kid…” will be no different than when our parents told us the same thing and we just rolled our eyes at them.

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