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A Challenge for Social Media

I write this post after a 20 minute drive home from North Austin that had me reflecting over the events from the day. Fair warning, this post betrays quite a bit of personal information.

Today, I proactively excused myself from any and all forms of social networks in order to regroup and prioritize. Luckily, with this attempt, I stumbled across something I had seemingly thought I had lost.

As often as I would consider myself a digital evangelist, I find myself equally stepping back and running – fleeing – the other direction. I’ve come to realize that today’s tools (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, AIM etc) will never supersede the value of face to face conversations.

Despite the worries and thoughts that have weighed down my mind and heart lately, life has a funny way of readjusting my POV.

A step back:

I’m often approached and asked: “what’s happened to you? You’ve changed.” And, with this, I think back and look to the latter half of 2007. Those closest to me would agree that 2H 2007 can be appropriately labeled as “2007: the year of F* you!”.  

Fast Forward:

Nearly a year later, I find it interesting to note the changes (or often lack of one). Three bottles of wine, one bottle of champagne and picking through three different Ben & Jerry pints later, I found myself immersed in a conversation with two of my closest friends, DH and DL

In typical fashion, our conversations ran the gamut:

DL: “As long as it sticks up and goes in, I’m cool with that”

Interpret that as you will.

Coincidentally, this brings me to a short aside on Sex and the City (SATC). Despite what critics may have against SATC – strip away the materialism and cattiness – and you’re left with the essence of what every women claims they can relate to: relationships (sexual, personal, family etc…). I mean, what women can’t relate to that moment in life when your tears are the only thing that separates your face from the cold hard surface of the kitchen floor? but, I digress.

This weekend would have been DH’s wedding. “6..7..8 – we picked that date so it would have been easy for DD to remember,” said DH. And in that simple sentence, my own troubles were abolished.

Throughout tonight’s conversation I would cock my head to the side and think: “Now, this is exactly what I’ve been missing.” From complete silliness to tears, I had the privilege to share in my friends’ lives.

Now what? Social Media:

I’m the first to admit that keeping up on social networks can be a daunting and full-time task in of itself. I’ve been told that these tools add an extra layer/dimension to conversations. I, on the other hand, find that no matter the amount of adjectives, superlatives and emoticons used, these tools will never usurp the art of conversations.

To tie it all together, I refer to this post on Fred Wilson’s blog about the future of Social Media. If social media is truly at its infancy and if people will one day actively participate with their own message, I am left to ponder how will others capture connections similar to what I had experienced tonight? (Truth be told, even this post does little justice).

As much as I am a fan of these tools, as I do believe in their power to bring people together, I grapple with their ability to replace quality face time. So here-in lies the challenge – for those sm buffs out there – how and will SM bridge  into “reality”? And, how does one identify genuineness in such a noisy space?





2 Responses

  1. There’s a certain energy that happens when two people meet face to face. Even as video (the ultimate medium) is more and more prevalent in today’s social media tools, it’s pretty evident that intangible energy is simply not there. in fact, it’s not even close. but social media isn’t about replacing physical human interaction at all. I do think,though, that social media is helping us get quicker to the point in our daily ongoings, which allows that in-person energy to reach levels that would before take more time to escalate.

  2. Love the perspective Dave. Think there’s a fine line for many though. It’s quite easy to fall on either side of the fence. Plus, with the amount of online networks out there – the trick is not to be consumed by updating them and losing touch of reality.

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