Using techno-social media to NOT communicate
E-mail, text, voip, blog, vlog, mash, post, comment, like, tag, follow, feed, link, flick, tweet, digg, yelp . . . o m g — olly olly oxen free!
Don’t get me wrong, I love social media and all this new technology. (I even have a Twitter account I’m going to start using as soon as I figure out what to tweet about other than my favorite watering hole.) But it seems to me that all these new “communication” tools are taking us further away from actual communication.
I overheard a conversation the other day where someone said to another, “… yes, but I’m going to wait till she’s at work then leave her a voicemail.” Genius. Rather than just not calling (’cause that would be socially unacceptable), or telling that person they didn’t actually want to connect with her (*gasp*), she decided to NOT connect by being sure she called at a time she knew the other wouldn’t be available.
And there it is — the cumulative description for how we’re communicating in today’s techno-social world: “Let’s use all these new tools to hide behind and pretend like we’re communicating instead of actually communicating.”
Personally, it’s annoying.
I have certain friends that respond to my voicemail with an e-mail, while others check their in-box once a month (on a good month!), others that only text, and still others expect that I know what’s going on in their life because they posted it on Facebook and apparently I’m supposed to be checking everyone’s status updates to keep informed of important issues such as their hit-n-run accident which has them laid up in the hospital. I need a spreadsheet to know how to connect with my friends. And heaven help me if I’m trying to coordinate a get-together… I need to e-mail, text, post on Facebook AND send an Evite just to be sure everyone gets the message!
Professionally, it’s deadly.
Do you post your grand opening event on Facebook and then just sit back and pray that everyone sees it, stalking the RSVPs with obsessive compulsive refresh disorder? (stolen from “50 Interesting Social Media Terms“)
Or do you send an eBlast out to that extensive database of business cards you’ve collected and wonder why more people remove themselves from your e-mail list than actually give you a call?
It’s deadly, with so many ways to communicate today, to expect to reach all your customers through only one communication vehicle. Just like connecting with friends requires different tools, customers too have certain preferences for communication and while some will be more likely to read an eBlast or a SMS text, others are Twitterati and a tweet will reach them much more effectively. (Note to self: I really must start tweeting…)
More importantly though, it’s deadly to hide behind all these techno-social tools expecting THEM to do our communication rather than reaching out directly ourselves — cell-phone to cell-phone, face to face, “mano-a-mano”.
I say let’s get back to some grass roots communication and connect again on a more personal level — “come out, come out, wherever you are!”