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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Is social networking bringing us closer together?


Jacob posted a great question on LinkedIn:

Social Networks, Bringing Us Together or Keeping Us Apart?
Here's what I offered:
Good question, Jacob!

I still believe that the telephone is one of the best social networking tools around, and, at least for me, there is a point when you want to take your online connections into the real world. Last year, I began creating opportunities to network away from the computer.

During the week, I meet with folks I've met through social media periodically for lunch. Last October I founded New Media Cincinnati, a meetup group for folks interested and passionate about new and social media to get together. We hold conversations in real life and online.

Social networks are the people; not the tools themselves. The tools exist just to facilitate the real-life connections.
What do you think? Are social networking tools bringing us together or keeping us apart?

[IMG] New Media Cincinnati - April Meetup by danieljohnsonjr.

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3 comments:

Andy Erickson said...

Dan, this is interesting. I wonder how often the person you start an online conversation with is quite a bit different than the person you meet face-to-face.

In a very good way, you and I have known each other for nearly 20 years, but I haven't had the opportunity to really learn about you until I stumbled across your blog(s)|twitter|podcasts|etc. Does the online social network augment the face-to-face as well?

Daniel said...

Andy, I think that social networking allows us to express more of ourselves than is often possible face-to-face. In a sense, through tools like blogs, podcasts, twitter, facebook, etc., we're able to communicate more richly than in-person perhaps. Then when we connect or re-connect in-person, we're able to continue the conversation in the real world.

That's what I think.

Matt said...

Dan and Andy, I agree that social media augments relationships. Technology is merely another tool in the equation and does not, of course, create the relationship.

Work, life, and all "stuff" happens with people, the living, breathing kind. Two of the greatest "tools" for relationship building are the telephone and the right hand (for handshaking).

Most of the people with whom I have a relationship are in the "real world" and have no on-line or social media presence. That means that my "social media" friends are fewer but the odd thing is... they do more to maintain their relationships than those that are off-line... strange how that works.

In the end, life is better with people and, to Dan's point, social media allows us to share more of ourselves.