torstai 22. maaliskuuta 2012

Being social online – antisocial offline?

Two friends are sitting down for a coffee. Both of them are browsing on Internet with their smartphones (if they are trendy enough, they will definitely have iPhones – latest model 4S, of course). First of all, they have to update their current location on Twitter, just in case someone of their 500 followers might be nearby at that very moment so that s/he could pop up to say hello. Secondly, they have to update status on Facebook as well, something like: ”I'm having so much fun with my best friend, xo!” The most ironic part is that the other person sitting next to the one posting the status might comment something on the post immediately. While this all happens online, in silent observer's eyes the scene might seem ridiculous because those two persons are not having a face to face conversation. When did it come to this? 

Social media has changed the nature of communication dramatically. I am not saying it would be a bad thing, though, actually other way around since I belong to the group so called ”heavy-users”. Due to social media, the communication takes now place more easily when the physical barriers have disappeared. For instance, social media has helped organisations to build more valueable relationships with customers since they are able to collect essential information straight from the customers without doing costly researches. In private life Facebook and Twitter are convenient ways to keep in touch with people wide and far. Regardless, there comes a point when you have crossed the line – enough is enough. You don't have to be reachable 24/7. Sometimes it's relaxing to be offline.

A bit of exercise to social media addicts. ;)
Furthermore, there is the other extremity which refuses to use social media at all. These people are often referred to as ”old-fashioned”. And I don't say this in a bad way. In fact, they might be very outgoing offline or maybe they just want to protect their privacy. But the question is: ”Can you really afford NOT being present in social media?” Especially for companies it might a disaster if they are not proactive online. Due to the lack of social media presense the customers might change to the competitor if they have a better understanding of the customers' needs and wants.

Somewhere in between there's a group that has the best of both worlds: they know how to get in contact with people online and they won't stop mingling when the computers and smartphones are switched off and the discussion takes place face to face. Which group do you belong to?

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