I’m not an early adopter of technology. Left to my own devices, I’d probably still have a rotary phone. Many social media people are early adopters and I’m grateful to them. These tech pioneers have made my life infinitely easier on many fronts. When it comes to the working world however, I’ve made my adjustments: I learned voice mail, email and now I even use twitter. On my journey to be more ‘connected’ by using social media, sometimes I wonder if I’m less connected. Perhaps you can relate…
So what’s a person to do? Somehow we need to find a balance between keeping up with the latest technology and communicating as humans. I have a friend who jokes that he sometimes thinks about using a kitchen timer when he’s twittering and blogging to make sure he doesn’t spend too much time in cyberspace! And he’s a technical guy who’s used to spending long hours on his computer. Fundamentally, he understands that technology is not an end in itself; it’s only one way to connect. Anyone who’s ever used Skype (free internet phone calling software) to call a loved one overseas or a webcam to see their new grandchild knows how compelling these new gadgets are.
Many of us who twitter, automatically follow people who live in Rochester. Why? Because this is our community. It’s ours to enjoy and our responsibility to help it to flourish. No matter what we do for a living or how we spend our free time, finding new ways to allow life’s serendipitous twists and turns to bring us together with others, often for the greater good, is part of the joy. It’s a real pleasure to finally meet someone who you only know ‘electronically’. Recently, I attended the Social Media Club of Rochester “meet up” (yes, we meet live) and ran into several people I follow on twitter that I had never met before. We already knew each other in a way and our ‘electronic’ exchanges enhanced our meeting.
In the end, the hope of social media is for us to connect in ways that build community and trust. I encourage us all to think about how we connect – how much time do I spend online vs. face-to-face ? Striking a balance can enrich us in unpredictable ways. Never underestimate the power of eye contact, laughter and a smile.
Not busy enough? Want to read more? “Crazy Busy” by Dr. Edward Hallowell.