Social Media Isn’t Anti-Social

Someone suggested to me recently that social media people are, well, anti-social. That they seem to spend all their time in their parents’ basements, and that they have no social life.

Really?

Last night – a Monday night, I might add – I watched 650 social media “nerds” cram into a nightclub in Toronto for the HoHoTO christmas party, to support the Daily Bread Food Bank.

When telephones first became common, I have no doubt that many people thought of them as anti-social. I’m sure they asked, “what’s wrong with just talking face-to-face?”

Now, people are saying the same thing when comparing the telephone to social media.

Just as before, they’re wrong.

Social media doesn’t reduce your connections; it increases them.

Yes, I’m sure there are plenty of social media users who spend way too much time in front of the computer. There are way more, though, who use these tools to supplement them.

Here are just a few ways that social media can make your life more social, not less:

  1. Enabling disparate people to organize events like HoHoTO or Third Tuesday Toronto with tools like Twitter, YouTube and Flickr;
  2. Letting geographically separated people stay in touch via multiple media with blogs and social networks like Facebook;
  3. Strengthening professional networks with tools like LinkedIn;
  4. Reduce the time you need to learn from others in your professional path or with your own interests, with RSS readers like Google Reader;
  5. Talk via audio or video with people around the world, with tools like Seesmic, Utterli, Skype and Oovoo
  6. Find new people who share your interests with tools like Facebook Groups, Meetup and Twitter.

I’ve referred to tools in each of these examples, but let’s look at what these examples are really all about:

  1. Organizing social events
  2. Staying in touch
  3. Building your network
  4. Learning from others
  5. Connecting with people around the world
  6. Making new friends

Anti-social, huh?

(On a related note, a huge thank you to all the people who used social media tools – and telephones – to pull together the HoHoTO event. What a huge success, and an amazing feat. You should all be very proud)

5 comments
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Christie
Christie

Well said. Perhaps a better description of social media is that it STARTS communication-a means to an end, and that end is real-life, face to face communication.

Connie Crosby
Connie Crosby

Great observations, Dave! My experience confirms it--I have never had such a busy social life until I started connecting with people on Twitter and Facebook. There are so many different interesting groups meeting and people connecting face to face.

Cheers,
Connie

Michael O'Connor Clarke
Michael O'Connor Clarke

Thanks Dave - excellent points. I particularly like the line: "Social media doesn’t reduce your connections; it increases them." Case resoundingly proven, I think. Worth noting that I hadn't met 70% of the organizing committee face-to-face (or even online, in a few cases) prior to getting involved in this event. Now - I'd consider them all firm friends and valued connections.

Glad you and so many hundreds of others had such a good time Monday night. With your help, hundreds of less fortunate local families get to have a better time this Christmas too. Thanks!

Sameer Vasta
Sameer Vasta

Something I've been telling my friends and detractors for years: social media is an enabler, not a disabler.

New types of social media enhance and strengthen networks, not replace them. Thanks for giving some great examples of that fact in action.

(And kudos to all the hohoTO organizers!)

rob tyrie
rob tyrie

Bang on Dave. Hohoto was a phenomena. Tech used effectively to make a shared goal happen.I love the community that's been attracted to Twitter.

Trackbacks

  1. avfguy says:

    Twitter Comment by @avfguy (Russell Tripp)…

    Tweeple probably already know this, but it\’s a good post about how social media is not anti-social – [link to post] – http://twitter.com/avfguy/statuses/1065281258 – Posted using Chat Catcher (http://www.chatcatcher.com/) …