I have oft been accused of always having my nose in my phone. I assure you, I can stop whenever I want. (I just don’t want to.)
In fact, just the other day, I went a good three hours between playing with electronic devices. (Granted, this was the first half of a cross-country flight at 6 a.m. and I promptly activated an iPad to watch a movie when I woke up.)
As mentioned in this week’s winecones, I spent this week in Orlando traveling for work. For “work” I manage my company’s social media program. So on the one-year anniversary at my new gig, I was shipped off to the other side of the country to inject some social pizazz into a tradeshow. You know – blogging, Facebooking, Twittering and the like.
I spent the other night at a cocktail party. Since I’ve already shared what a wild and crazy party person I am, you can imagine how well this went.
I’ll spell it out for you. At last week’s cocktail party I stood in a corner by myself and stared at my phone. On a few occasions, other people came and stood next to me while we stared at iOS devices in tandem.
The point of social media is to engage in conversation – connecting with others no matter where they are. And yet, the more we succumb to the charms of the interwebs, the more anti-social we become. Global social networks have eliminated the need for face-to-face communication.
Can’t talk. Tweeting.
A 1999 Newsweek article argues that email “saves time and wastes it, makes life simpler and more complicated, brings us together and pushes us apart.” Just think of the path we have continued down. The concept of networking was oh-so-very different those 13 years ago.
At that time, we were forced to go to cocktail parties and Talk. To. People. Phones would ring and we were expected to Answer. Them.
Hang on. I’ve got to go post that on Facebook.
But now, instead of talking with the unknown individual standing next to me, I’ll spend hours tweeting with an anonymous someone likely hundreds of miles away. But then again, that way I don’t have to shake someone’s germy hand.
(PSA: Costco sells hand sanitizer by the gallon. I am not making this up. Also, apologies to those of you who were shorted of Purell during the early days of the muppets’ arrival home. I needed the bulk quantities to hose down anyone who stepped foot in our house.)
And I can take my sweet time crafting a witty statement. There is a time delay when it comes to the written response. No panicky putting me on the spot moments. Admit it – if you social media-ize you’ve had an in-depth conversation via a chat program that never would have happened in-person. (Not to mention 140 characters prevents you from getting trapped in a never-ending conversation.)
My job is to engage potential prospects. And in order to do that, I tune out everyone in the physical realm around me. And I can’t even begin to imagine what the muppets social lives will look like.
So to sum things up: I’m not ignoring you; I’m being social.