Warning: Social Media is Killing Real Communication (and Relationships)

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:

  1. Concurrent Communication  (Instant feedback)
  2. Deferred Communication (Focused, but delayed and distant)
  3. 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 not.

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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Invest in Relationships!

The world is going through growing pains and it’s leaving a lot of people very confused, hurting, and unemployed.

We’re in a new world of “on demand” information and entertainment, and many traditional companies are acting like deer in the headlights.

Not moving.  Not sure.

For them, familiar methods of bringing products and services to market are floundering and they aren’t hiring or growing domestically.  Some are waiting for things to return to “normal”, but we’re living in the new normal right now.

DVRs helps people skip commercials, the internet is replacing newspapers and magazines (I love Flipboard), and only 1 out of 10 people open corporate emails on average. As Gary Vaynerchuk said at a tweetup event last night in Milwaukee, “People aren’t looking at billboards…they aren’t even looking at the ****ing road!”

The same goes for nearly all marketing communications from unfamiliar faces or brands.  Everyone is too busy texing, tweeting, and “facebooking”  to pay attention.

Times are changing and we’re not going back.

We’re now in the Attention Age, and companies are going to have to find new ways to get our attention.  It won’t be easy.  Wives may think husbands are bad at listening, but the modern world is even worse when it comes to traditional advertising.

In one ear and out the other.

Another thing Gary said got my attention.  He said that everything in his latest book “The Thank You Economy” would be irrelevant in 5 years as marketers (like me) find ways to crawl into every successful way of getting our attention.  As they actively seek our eyes and ears, marketers always find a way to ruin what’s working (email, banner ads, etc.) and they’ll ruin social media too.

So what is a safe long term investment?


People are usually loyal to their friends, business partners, and favorite brands.  No matter what happens in the future, if you build real relationships and take care of your clients, friends, and followers, they will take care of you.

How?  If you don’t start using social media tools now, you may not figure it in time.  These tools are valuable for creating and strengthening relationships, but you need to get on it before it is ruined by marketers and the window of opportunity closes.

Seize the day!  Engage on social media.  Invest in relationships.  Do some business.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.” – Unknown

New tools, same rules.

Have a great night,



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Recipe for an 8pm Relationship

People like to criticize 8pm Warriors for working too hard, too much, too late.  When their relationships go down, they inevitably blame the breakup or divorce on the fact that he or she “worked too much.”  This is irritating.

Have you ever heard of a farmer’s wife leaving the farmer because he worked too much?

Probably not.

Even though most farmers are true 8pm Warriors (some have to milk cows at 8pm and 4am), you won’t hear these common phrases from the farmer’s spouse:

  • “He isn’t spending enough time with me”
  • “All he seems to do is work”
  • “He only cares about his business”

In fact,  it seems downright ludicrous…doesn’t it?

Why is that?

It’s because everyone knows the type of schedule a farmer has, including Mrs. Farmer (or future Mrs. Farmer).  Accurate expectations are set early.

Also Mrs. Farmer is included in the business operations and understands the impact of Mr. Farmer’s work.  She’s not just sitting at home wondering what Mr. Farmer is doing and why.

I believe that everyone needs to feel included (8pm Warrior spouses are no exception).  That’s why I wrote the “Picture Your Porch” piece on Christmas Eve.

As a group we seem to have relationship problems.

I’m no therapist, however I really believe that we can do a better job of setting expectations early in relationships so that we build a meaningful bond based on understanding and inclusion.  It’s important to include our loved ones in our business so that they understand WHY we do things, not just THAT we do them.

Otherwise you should picture an empty porch when you’re old and gray.

Have a family night,



Related thoughts about 8pm Families

The Value of Time

The value of time:
  • Is money
  • Is greatness
  • Is priceless

Whatever you think it’s worth, it is undeniably wasted when we use it on worthless projects, diversions, or people (if there is such a thing).

Now don’t get me wrong, I do think it’s a good thing to take some breaks and vacations or invest in relationships and hobbies (this is my hobby).  However, what you regularly do at 8pm when others are sitting on the couch watching TV, out on the town, or sleeping says a lot about how much you value your time.  It’s one of the reasons I don’t enjoy sleep.

It feels like a waste of something valuable.

NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Bobby Lane said:  “I never lost a game.  I just ran out of time”.

I think the same thing about life.  Don’t lose it.  Don’t run out of time.

Have a productive night,


PS.  Here’s another interesting blog post about time from 8pm Warrior Jordan Zimmerman:

Time is Your Only Enemy