Why do we tend to shorten experiences? Why… as a society… do we keep inventing new ways to make things faster, harder, stronger, and compiled. Information flying this way and that, overloading everyone from the iPOD Millennial to the AM Radio Baby Boomer (sorry stereotyping is a spiritual gift of mine). Technology has managed to help our society do more in less time. But (hat tip to Seth Godin on this one) the “do more in less time” philosophy has taken the personality out of the every day encounter. Seth makes a brilliant example in his post, Old Marketing with New Tools:

Cost and speed pressure means that when you get your car serviced, it’s unlikely you’ll be greeted by the mechanic himself, wiping his hands on a greasy rag, telling you exactly what he did to your car. Instead, you’ll get a difficult to decipher printout.

In some cases, new technology has taken out the face to face interaction with the business to the client. BUT we have seen an increase in social interaction (both online and off) in the realm of social media.

I overheard a gentleman talking about a social network (whether Facebook or LinkedIn it doesn’t matter). He was making reference to social networking on the Internet as impersonal and stupid. First off, I about flipped out of my chair and set him on fire. I understand that online social networking is not for everyone but the least someone can do is recognize the fact that it has VALUE. I turned around thinking I would be face-to-face with a twenty-something year old. Unfortunately (for him) he looked around 50 with his real age probably being closer to 35.

The simple fact that a gentleman/business owner was implying that social networking was impersonal is completely ridiculous. If you do it right.

The right way to make social networking work for you is two fold.

1. Join a social network (preferably a geographically local network). In order to know and be productive in the different social networks refer to my post: How To Be Productive in Social Media.

2. Use the social network to meet members of that specific network off-line.

Combine face-to-face networking with your online social networking experience. I try to meet new business owners/creative individuals in the Indianapolis community. This does not replace my off-line business networking with groups like Rainmakers but it does add value in meeting people who usually do not attend networking events.

The combination of off-line and online social networking is a powerful tool you can utilize for YOUR business. Try it out. Spend a few minutes on a local network and set up a meeting. If it doesn’t work. TRY AGAIN. If that doesn’t work. Third times s charm?

Also, if you ever hear anyone degrading social media, please call me. I’ll bring the blow torch. You bring the gasoline.