There is no substitute for human interaction. If there is one pet peeve I have, it is that we allow technology to substitute for real, interpersonal communication.
- I can’t hear your voice in an email.
- I can’t feel your passion in a text.
- I can’t assess your body language in a tweet or status update.
It may sound strange for a guy who is a techno-geek that loves learning about and using different digital communication tools and dreaming about new ways technology allows us to interact, share information, and influence others. But I’m old fashioned when it comes to people. I think sitting across the table, looking eyeball to eyeball, is the reason social networking exists.
It’s not about Klout scores. It’s not about the number of friends, updates, messages, tweets, replies, direct messages, etc. It’s about how we can leverage technology to keep pace with each other consistently enough that we find those moments where our paths intersect and conversation begins.
One person I know who does this exceptionally well is Justin Lathrop. He is a professional connector of people. Justin has been a catalyst for so many, including me. Even though Justin and I stumbled onto each other via social networking, it was the personal interactions we had with each other offline that have shaped our common experience. And I’m not the only one that has seen Justin “in action.”
I used to call myself (and admittedly still do at times) the “Chief Broker of Opportunity.” That title captures what I try to do for others. I want to understand their needs and passions and connect those things with the right people and opportunities, much like Justin and so many others have done for me. But that NEVER happens in 140 characters.
Social networking makes it easy to stay connected and even expand your network. But if you’re not meeting new people as a result of your efforts, something has gone horribly wrong. Maybe it’s time to readjust your expectations and demand more from your time online…and offline.
Are you satisfied with participating in social networking, or are you committed to leveraging digital communication channels that drive human interaction?
Ben Stroup is a content activist in a post-paragraph world. He is chief broker of opportunity at Ben Stroup Enterprises. Connect with Ben via email, Twitter, and Google+. Subscribe via email to learn how to use content to move people to action.