From time to time, I’ll come across someone who is still adamantly opposed to personally engaging in social media. “I just don’t get it,” is often the popular reply to my questioning of their lack of involvement. I used to be utterly confused by this response, especially in the PR realm where social media serves a core level of importance for strategy development and online tactical execution.
Granted, it may be that my entire mindset around the Web took a turn back in high school during the launch of the ICQ era and continued to flourish from there. However, professional use aside, I do have a new appreciation for anyone that still socially raises a hand in the face of anything under the social media umbrella.
In my mind, it’s kind of like music enthusiasts that refuse to adapt to the digital age (read iTunes) and insist on maintaining a purist appreciation by only listening to vinyl…and making sure you know they only listen to vinyl.
During a recent discussion, one friend noted that she refuses to join Facebook or any of that “stuff” because of the way that it now drives the motivations of her other friends whenever they hang out. For example, on any given night out, her friends spend the majority of the night taking pictures and texting others instead of actually engaging in meaningful conversation. Immediately after returning home, her friends insist on uploading their photos right away and tagging each other to let others know about their night out.
Oddly enough, this is all too common. We live blog or tweet at conferences, presentations or “tweet-ups.” We snap photos, we text, we tweet, we blog, we vlog, repeat, repeat, repeat. We constantly feel the need to keep our network updated on our status and fresh content. But, why?
Are we drifting farther and farther away from the value of long, personal in-depth conversations? Is our 140-character mindset serving as the new primary driver behind how we process and ultimately convey our thoughts to others?
I’m as guilty as the next social media enthusiast and I’ll be the first to admit that I love the way social media has allowed me to meet and connect with people across the world. We’re human. It’s natural to want to feel and experience a sense of community and social media facilitates that process. But, it’s interesting to think about how this shift is ultimately impacting the nature of our personal relationships.
Is hyperconnectivity and over-the-top content sharing ultimately enhancing or hurting the development of our relationships with others?