I’ve been thinking about the topic of this blog post for a while. It’s lately becoming more and more evident to me that social media is seductive- both in a business sense, and a personal one. On a business level, social media is seductive because it represents a way to create new relationships and fill our business pipeline. Done right, social media can be the last lead generation strategy you’ll ever need. (Not that I’d recommend this, it’s always wise to have multiple marketing channels to best stabilize your business.)
The personal element is the one I want to focus on in this blog post, because it’s this element that isn’t talked about very much. Social media is seductive- and it’s easy to be seduced. What this means is that you can be pretty much anyone you want to be within the social media space- and you can present yourself as more outgoing, charming, vivacious, or even attractive than you are in real life (especially if you use a picture of someone who is much hotter than you.)
We all have a desire to be liked and admired and respected, and social media gives us a way to do this. In some ways, everyone wants to be a social media rockstar, to benefit from the accolades, recognition and adulation that comes from everyone loving you. (Or at least seeming to.)
The problem with this, as with any kind of online (and potentially one-sided) relationship is that no matter how scintillating or fantastic you are within social media, you are, at the end of the day, still a real person with real assets and real liabilities.
Social media connections and online relationships have a place in your life, but should never substitute for real life/offline connections with people who have a chance to spend time with you, know you, and hang out with you- not just worship an image of you.
The other challenge in terms of balancing social media with real life relationships is that in social media, you can always find someone to talk to on Twitter, and you’ll be able to find people who agree with everything you say. Your personal popularity can be at an all time high online, but this doesn’t automatically translate into a golden life offline.
In fact, your real life relationships may suffer from too much social media popularity. I was speaking with a client earlier today who has recently joined Twitter. She has been spending a lot of time learning the system and has been tweeting very often. She has made some powerful connections and constantly feels drawn to tweet multiple times per day- even when she has agreed to spend time with her husband. Any lull in their conversation sees her picking up her Iphone and updating her Twitter status. It’s lately been causing some strain in her marriage because technology is, at times, more powerful and more consuming than her real life relationships.
With the constant stimulation and 24/7/365 access we can have to social media networks, it becomes more important that we create some kind of balance in our use of the social media sites. The psychology of social media is such that we do desire connections. We just need to make sure that the lure of our online connections doesn’t overshadow our interest in our offline ones.