Is Being Social Online Enough?

Written on June 29, 2009 – 7:45 pm | by Mark Laymon |

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.

photo credit

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.

photo credit @refreshmiami

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?

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  1. 10 Responses to “Is Being Social Online Enough?”

  2. By famous wonders on Jun 30, 2009 | Reply

    Thanks for the post, I think being social online is just as good as being social in real life!

  3. By lapp on Jun 30, 2009 | Reply


    This article is so true. Couldn’t have written it better myself!

  4. By Denise Jacobs on Jun 30, 2009 | Reply

    I am a huge proponent of the theory that online social connections simply aren’t enough, and that they need to be strengthened and built upon with good old-fashioned face-to-face time.

    In fact, increasingly it is my experience that many people brand themselves as social media experts and gurus and are all about building community will spend more time at a social event tweeting about it and responding to other people’s tweets than actually being present to the event itself and the people standing right in front of their faces. I frequently look at their actions and think “do they see the disconnect?”.

    I am not saying that social media and online social networking and connection are bad or do not have a place in a society where constant busy-ness has made people starved for connection. However, I do think that people need to 1) have a healthy dose of perspective, in that online connection is not a substitute but rather, a supplement to in-person connection; and 2) could modify their behavior in face-to-face settings where they are actually getting the benefit of being around people for once, and maybe relaying the experience through social media avenues later.

  5. By DrewTek on Jun 30, 2009 | Reply

    Like all things in life you need balance. Finding a good blend of online and physical socializing IMO is the best bet. That being said I need to attend the next Refresh Miami.

  6. By Gabriel Celibataire on Jul 2, 2009 | Reply

    I can tell that I love to be online. I want to see the whole world, but I don’t have time, money either, so this is good opportunity for me to talk with people all around the world and to touch the culture.

  7. By AliSwi on Jul 2, 2009 | Reply

    In my opinion, both are quite necessary. Meeting in person is a great way to develop relationships and online is an opportunity to grow those relationships and connect others. They are two complimentary components. I think a good question is – does online socializing facilitate forming in-person connections or does meeting people in person help facilitate those online connections?

  8. By Elizabeth on Jul 2, 2009 | Reply

    I feel you can’t sustain a very strong online presence if you never get out there and actually meet people face-to-face. Building networks online and such is good, but building them face to face and online is definitely a better choice.

  9. By Rod Macbeth on Sep 21, 2009 | Reply

    I agree that being social online helps but it isn’t enough.. It’s still different if you have face-to-face interaction with other people..

  10. By Patrick Carroll on Sep 25, 2009 | Reply

    I do worry that online communications can cause issues. Face to face and the phone are superior that has to be a fact. But online communications can improve and will and I think a virtual world is eventually probable.

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