How “Social” is Social Networking?

Social networking is somewhat of a misnomer, because in reality, there’s really not much “social” about it. Being “social” is about getting to know someone through conversation and establishing a connection over time—it’s not only about visiting a Facebook page. However, in our technology driven-world, it feels like computers or smart phones are the main interaction methods.Image

We use Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with everyone from grandparents to former classmates to our children. It makes things a lot easier, right? We have access to all these people at the click of a mouse or the touch of a screen whenever we feel like it.

But what is the true value? If there’s no effort put into finding and getting in touch with someone, does it show as much sincerity as if we actually picked up the phone and called? Worse yet, is it possible that substituting online social networking for real interpersonal relationships is harming our communication skills individually, and as a society?

In my opinion, it absolutely is.

Using social media to network and hunt for information on new clients or old friends is perfectly acceptable. The internet is an amazing resource for just about everything. However, relying on it too heavily for too many things can atrophy other skill sets. It can be especially bad to rely on social networking to develop relationships for us: there’s still an element of personal, face-to-face correspondence that’s critical to having a real relationship of any kind.

Taking the time to sit down and have a real conversation with someone tells that person you’re willing to take the time to listen to and get to know him or her. It sends a message that he or she is valuable to you.

Face-to-face interactions are still important in this tech-laden world, perhaps more than ever. We’re all so busy that it is easy to lose sight of what is truly important. Establishing any sort of relationship takes time and takes effort on both ends; it’s not as simple as a quick email or 140-character tweet.

At Curry, we pride ourselves on having established and maintained long-lasting personal relationships with our clients, associates, friends and family. It’s a good feeling to have a personal connection to the people that surround you, and that connection is what may actually set you apart. The connection is a big part of what keeps people coming back.

The convenience of social networking should not be overused at the expense of our ability to interact with other live human beings in the real world—our people skills are what make us unique. The way one acts in social situations reflects who one is better than any Facebook or Twitter profile; keeping that individuality alive can be a key to success.

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