Although I enjoyed Scott's LinkedIn post the first time I read it, I keep circling back around to think about what it means to me. Has social media changed the way I form relationships?
Yes, social media has changed me. For the better, the way it's changed Scott? Hmmm... Unfortunately, I think it's given me an excuse to not maintain some relationships as well as I should. I check the Facebook profile of close friends and skip giving them a call. On the plus side, I think I have more connections who are different than myself and more ability to track them even if we don't have much opportunity to be around each other. In the end, I'm more likely to reconnect with them rather than drift farther and farther apart.
I titled this blog post "The content of our relationships" before I knew what I was going to say. Social media gives us the opportunity to lurk and sustain very superficial relationships. Scott's article reminds me that we can't just drift about in those. We need to have some strong relationships that require time and work, if not interaction in real time.
I'm not sure whether to develop these relationships based on the work I want to do, or on the people I want to do it with.
LinkedIn: How Social Media Has Changed Me (For the Better), 2018-Jun-29 by Scott Allen
When we were researching my book, The Virtual Handshake, a key issue for us was focusing on how to build stronger relationships online. We surveyed all of the available literature on the topic, as well as research about what builds stronger relationships generally. What we found is that much of the reason stronger relationships are built face-to-face is not due to the direct physical interaction, but because the kind of activities and interactions that build stronger relationships occur more frequently in the real world (or at least they did 15 years ago when we were writing it): working together towards a common goal, shared intensely emotional experiences, making and keeping micro-commitments, etc.
Learning these things and practicing them online has helped me build stronger relationships in person, as well. In particular, I now know how to very quickly build trust and rapport, and I’ve found that a very useful skill to have.