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Social Media isn’t a band-aid for Communication Value

March 8, 2009

Blasphemy! Social Media is all kinds of awesome, I know.  On a professional scale, I can connect quicker, network just as well, and I have found so many valuable mentors on social media. I’m worried, though, on a personal level. 

I find myself emailing and texting a lot quicker than I will pick up the phone. I still meet up with my friends and have a lot of face to face contact; however, I have 1,000 rollover minutes as of today (from a year or so span.) I only have 450 minutes, plus 5,000 weekends on my monthly plan. I have unlimited texting and internet through the iPhone. Quasi-pathetic, in my book. I’m a pretty busy person, so sometimes it is easier to just text during the day instead of picking up the phone and having an actual conversation. I have friends all over the country, and many are international as well. Texting and SM has made it easier for me to communicate with those in different time zone.

However, I think by texting, and using social media tools exclusively, we are losing that core conversation component – hearing a person’s voice, hearing their emotion, hearing a laugh. I would much rather hear someone laugh than have them type to me “LOL.” Really? Are you really laughing out loud, or are you stroking my ego to make me think I am funny? I miss talking on the phone. Sometimes, when I call people it sounds like I am bothering them. So, I just text. I might phone you every once and awhile, but communication is a two-way street. Let me know what your means of communication is.

So, social media. I think it adds to communication, but if we don’t keep traditional means of communication around, it will take away from it. Social media isn’t a solution to communication problems, nor is it a substitute for picking up a phone. It reminds me of two different arguments: Writing a handwritten thank you note v. email; pitching a reporter by phone or relying solely on email. Which one wins out, or is better received? Sure, it depends on the person…. but just a thought. Social media, to me, adds to conversation value. We should still be picking up the phone and talking to each other. If we depend on social media as our only and main source of communication in our daily lives, we might all turn into robots and start driving around in hovercrafts with an iPhone glued to our thumbs. (Disclaimer: I think the hovercraft idea is awesome.)

Let’s keep communicating….. cave-man style.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 9, 2009 4:28 pm

    As someone who just got an iPhone this weekend I’m not opposed to having it glued to my thumbs. In fact, I think it may already be.

    But you’re right about keeping the lines of “traditional communication” (i.e. speaking to people on the phone or in person, reading their facial expressions and body language, deciphering inflections in their voice) open. Social media should complement our usual means of communication, otherwise we lose what is personal and sacred about human beings: our complex yet satisfying means of communicating with one another.

    • March 9, 2009 4:35 pm

      I am a big fan of my iPhone, and sometimes I wonder how I would function with an “old-school” phone. It looks like we are on the same wavelength when it comes to having social media compliment traditional media – we should never lose that face to face value. Thanks for reading!


  2. March 10, 2009 4:11 am

    Thank you for the reminder for human communication being augmented with (not replaced by) social media. BTW, I would *love* a hovercraft!

    • March 10, 2009 11:56 am

      I want one too! I was wondering if anyone would catch the hovercraft reference and comment on it.

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