When people think about all those lost hours on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or any other social network do they think about the true utility or value in passing time engaging on these networks? The answer is a resounding no. Most employers however feel much differently.
This week I had yet another occasion to experience a true benefit of social media – and this happens to people all the time. I attended a NY Met baseball game at Citi Field and a Facebook push notification popped up that a friend of mine whom I see rarely was at the game as well. I let him know that I was at the game and he came over to my seat later in the game and we watched the last couple of innings together. Without FB this in person social meeting would not have happened. And by the way neither of us looked at our phones the entire time we sat and talked and watched (a gritty 3-2 victory for the home team).
In person social networking was and is far better than virtual social networking. Foursquare.com was trying this years ago with check-ins by friends that you would see on your phone leading you to actually SEE them in person. This is why I thought when it launched in 2009 that Foursquare had a real chance to be something I would use for a long time but that’s not the way it turned out as I have written in a prior post.
As far as I am concerned unanticipated (and spontaneous), meetings with people I like and know are worthwhile and act as serendipitous opportunities to truly connect with those people on the most personal level – IN PERSON!
Watching people’s lives go by via social media applications is better than not knowing anything at all (provided you are actually interested in them and not practicing social media voyeurism which is all too typical) about their lives.
However it cannot be argued that those virtual encounters are in anything close to an in-person meeting. In the future our avatars will virtually meet and engage (think about the movie Avatar) but if we begin to believe virtual interaction is a replacement for in-person interaction, the apocalypse is a lot closer than it is has ever been before.
Tell me if you think I am mistaken.