We all love Social media, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Blogs, forums etc, and if you are like me, I am sure you are an active user.
While social media is great and allows you to connect with many people not restricted by geography, some would say it has caused a loss of some basic human interaction and ‘social’ skills. Remember when we would talk to each other, meet with people, or know people in different place?
Now we may ‘know’ lots of people, but do we really know them? We may have hundreds or thousands of ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ or ‘likers’ and can recognise the thought leaders in various social media channels, but do we really know them, and is this really a barrier to potentially building business relationships longer term with them?
I ask all these questions rhetorically, but it has made me think about it, and prompted me to share a little first hand experience.
Last year I started a LinkedIn business group and sat on it for a while, then decided to become proactive and start discussions and topics and share the site to my network. From the early days it has now grown to a fairly active group with over 150 members (not massive I know, but a nice size) and there is regular discussion topics (and the good thing is not all are started by me). It has taken on its own form of evolution and is continuing to grow.
Now I am not sharing this to blow my own trumpet, but to highlight the next stage in this groups transformation which occurred last night.
We decided to have an ‘offline’ catch up drink with anyone who wanted to come along and we had a great night with a small selection of the groups members getting together to meet up face to face. This was great to witness – to see the evolution of new connections online coming together offline, and truly getting to know each other. Real discussions were held, laughs were had and a general good time (hopefully) had by all.
My point is this; it is sometimes great to make random anonymous posts on social networking forums, but I still believe we can’t beat the real social network of meeting people face to face. From last night I am sure new friendships have commenced and who knows, maybe some business relationships as well?
There will be more such events from this little group in the future.