I remember the good old days when people called friends on their birthdays or hung out.
Now they post a message on their wall, shoot them an email, or leave a voicemail if they have time. I’ve watched people text each other from across the room and once found out about my nephew’s baptism via Facebook pictures. It was 20 minutes away. No society should have families randomly discovering important family events.
If this keeps up, our society is in real trouble.
Social media is cheap communication.
The problem with communicating primarily through social media channels is that it’s primarily deferred communication (more here).
No one actually knows if it’s being seen, and increasingly, it’s not. People are overwhelmed with the number of emails, updates, tweets, pins, messages, videos and other stuff flying their way.
Yet, so many times I hear from friends (especially the younger generations) asking me if I saw their latest update on Facebook.
Nope. I didn’t.
Study after study I see shows that young people overwhelmingly prefer deferred communication to live conversation. It’s easier.
I believe there are three types of communication:
- Concurrent Communication (Instant feedback)
- Deferred Communication (Focused, but delayed and distant)
- Broadcast Communication (Maybe you’ll see or hear it)
How can you truly know someone or build a lasting bond without seeing their smile, hearing their tone changes, or getting instant feedback during your discussion?
The problem is that concurrent communication is so much harder than deferred or broadcast communication. It requires scheduling. Social media channels make it easy to feel like your communicating with others.
We’re faking it and it’s tearing apart traditional relationships. Especially among young people. As we get overwhelmed by deferred communication, stuff is missed. Divisions are formed.
When “friends” aren’t seeing our updates, people feel lonely. I’m seeing more suicides from very “social” people and the average number of close friends per person has fallen from four to two.
Something must change.
We need to develop real connections with our social media contacts. We need to invest in human relationships. It’s time we meet our fellow Warriors.
With that call to action in mind, I’m going to do something about my concerns. I may disconnect from immediate family members on Facebook so we actually have to talk. Communication between families and friends should be deeper. The same goes for clients and partners.
Also, in the coming months I’m going to host several free live events so we can all meetup.
I just got back from the East Coast, but hopefully you can meet me at one of these remaining events. It’s worth the investment of time.
For the good of our society and as an example to young people, let’s bring our online relationships offline and our family members and friends back where need to be: in front of us, talking, laughing, crying, or smiling.
Social media is only a start.
Let’s find a way to build or rebuild personal relationships tonight,
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