Is Being Social Online Enough?
Although I have had these thoughts about this many times before, I never placed pen to paper to convey my thoughts. I began this version of this post while sitting outside of Laidoffcamp/Freelancecamp in Miami. I was watching the afternoon monsoons about to come down on me. I was sitting alone in a garden of hedges and walkways watching the passersby. Everyone seemed to be busy buzzing by. The cool breeze just washed in from the approaching rain. I can feel the electricity in the air. The energy created by everyone that attends social gathering of large magnitude is incredible. The energy feels like the change in the air as a storm rolls in. I also have a sad disturbing feeling of what is about to happen.
Unfortunately in the past once the excitement of the event dissipated the attendees often fall back into their daily grind and lose their zeal. The positive drive is taken away by the dream stealers and opposing elements. The mega builders in the MLM industry have spoke of this for as long as I can remember. They were always looking for a paradigm shift. Looking forward from where I am at, has technology brought this downward spiral to an end? Can the mix of an online presence keep the energy going?
Let’s look at online social networking; we have so many places to congregate. Every day I am approached by someone new with an idea or thought on how to make communication online one step easier. Although most of the concepts are spun over and over, often there is a spark of true imagination that pops into view. The main downfall of so many ideas is the lack of true open communication. It is difficult to pass the same feelings over phone, let alone a keyboard. If you lack communicative skills you may feel that your voice may never be heard. Video and webcams do help to transfer the visual imagery to a point. If there was a way to capture the intimate relation of one on one conversation like that of being in person, online long distance communications would also see a parabolic leap in growth.
I am one of the biggest supporters of both online and offline congregative tools. Conferences and Barcamps are great for connecting with your online social graph, but only occur over large periods of time. Refresh Miami and Social Media Club of South Florida hold monthly meetings that I have attended for close to a year now. (Both organizations are opening events, some may be near you.) Before that I was also very active in the local Meetups that are held here in South Florida. Now there has been a great surge in Tweetups popping up all around me. Some are even specializing these Tweetup events. Craig of Worst Pizza has taken this idea even further with starting Pizza Tweetups. These events are great sources of support for your online endeavors. They help you to cement your online bonds with the brick and mortar world that many of us are quickly leaving behind. Plus they are a great source to build your social graph with users that would ordinarily not friend you till a physical connection has been made.
I wrote this post to quite some thoughts on what needs to be addressed about online and offline social networking. Do we really need that physical connection to build our networks or is a virtual world something that we are all going to embrace in the future? Tell me, do we really need to attend offline events to grow? Are these events something that will advance the online world? Are these offline events dragging back the innovations that we need to make the next leap forward to a truly virtual world?
What is your view?