The Buzz On Social Media…Good or Bad?
By Shari Hudspeth, Direct Sales Speaker, Trainer and Coach
I’ve been talking about the pitfalls of social media for a couple of years now. I also recently did a training call onHow to get bookings the easy way using social media, email, and texting.
So you can imagine when I saw the caption on the front page of the December 30th edition of USA today 2010 -The year we stopped talking, it really caught my attention!
Here is the first paragraph of the article:
When Gretchen Baxter gets home from work as a New York city book editor, she checks her blackberry at the door. “I think we are attached to these devices in a way that is not always positive.” Says Baxter, who’d rather focus at home on her husband and 12 year old daughter. “It’s there and it beckons. That’s human nature (but)…we kind of get crazy sometimes and we don’t know where to stop.”
The article went on to say: “Americans are connected at unprecedented levels – 93% now use cell phones or wireless devices; one third of those are ‘smart phones’ that allow users to browse the web and check email among other things. The benefits are obvious: checking email from the road, staying in touch with family, efficiently using time once spent waiting around. The downside: Often we’re effectively disconnecting from those in the room. That’s why, despite all the technology that makes communicating easier than ever, 2010 was the year we stopped talking to one another. From texting at dinner to posting on Facebook from work or checking e-mail while on a date, the connectivity revolution is creating a lot of divided attention, not to mention social angst. Many analysts say it’s time to step back and reassess.”
There is much more to the article and it is worth the read.
Hallelujah! I was doing the dance of joy as I read this article to my husband, thinking finally someone agrees with me, until I glanced over and noticed my husband was trying to connect his phone to the Internet as I read to him! He said he was listening, I said he was disengaged.
It’s time to find some balance. Many of us who embraced technology and have used it for business and connecting with family and friends as technology grew bigger, better, and faster, have lost that balance as well as basic social skills we were taught before technology came along; things like looking people in the eye when they are talking to you and giving them your full attention; giving your friend, date, or husband your undivided attention when you are having lunch or dinner with them. We’ve lost the personal touch. Most of those who grew up with technology never learned those skills in the first place.
I received a phone call a couple of months ago from a great friend of mine Christine, who was a top leader in my organization years ago. She left me a voice mail telling me how much she had learned from me, that I was a big part of her success and how much she appreciated me. Last week I received a call from another top leader and dear friend of mine, Barbie, who I hadn’t talked to in a long time. She just called to let me know how much she loved me and appreciated me. That was it! I get emails and Facebook messages frequently with extremely kind words of appreciation or celebration, sharing something they have accomplished because of something I taught them. Those messages thrill my soul and make my day so don’t misunderstand, I love those messages, but I realized after Barbie’s call how different it felt for Christine and Barbie to take the time to call and actually hear their voice.
As a Direct Sales trainer I receive invitations all the time to attend parties and order product. They are generic emails sent from the company or a general post on Facebook to everyone on their “friend” list. I usually don’t even bother to respond and don’t figure they will notice because it was sent to everyone. When Kathy sent me the sale information and followed up with three phone calls before we connected, I ordered from her. When Cindy sent me a personal message on Facebbook to attend her party, I went. I knew she knew that she had personally invited me and I couldn’t just blow off the invitation. She’s one of my best friends so I would have gone anyway, and she knew that, but I appreciated the personal touch!
Here’s my point: remember how to make people feel special and important again. Engage and look people in the eye when you are having a conversation with them. Give them your full attention. Leave your cell phone in the car when you are having lunch or dinner with someone or out with your family , or, ignore it if you are at home spending time with your husband or family. Send people personal notes like: congratulations, thank you, I love you and so on. (the paper kind of notes you send in the mail). Step away from the computer, cell phone and blackberry to play with your kids. Have coffee or a glass of wine with your husband or a friend, and don’t look at them the whole time (the devices, not the person).
Technology is wonderful! Like all good things, excess makes it a bad thing. Let’s all start to find some balance and remember how it feels to really connect with people we care about.
You are capable of excellence, so go for it!