As an early adopter of social networking and social media, it’s been great reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. Back when the now-defunct Biznik was an up and coming social networking site, making exciting moves in small business networking, it was entirely possible to actually meet the people who were connecting, some even becoming happy clients. Now it’s all about extending networks of people I will probably never meet. I have to wonder, what is the point? And I must wonder even more so when the professional networking site LinkedIn can so completely screw up.
LinkedIn regularly sends me notices that some person I have never heard of has accepted an invitation (that I did not knowingly send) to connect. My network of people I don’t know in any way has exponentially expanded. Wonderful. Hey, if you’re one of those, let’s have a cup o’ tea together!
Today, for the umpteenth time, LinkedIn mentioned that among “People you may know”, most of whom I do not know, is my much missed friend Jerry Baker, who left the world last year. Thank you LinkedIn for sharing his picture in my inbox. It’s a fun picture.
Of the old friends with whom I have in theory reconnected, I’ve not seen even one, ever. They do not call. They rarely write, and only on Facebook.
If LinkedIn could somehow bring back my friend, boy, that would be something special, probably even worth sharing on Facebook.
I mention all of this because it seems sites like LinkedIn and Facebook have become lazy, which is a reflection on society. They don’t even care if they are being offensive. Hell, they don’t know. These sites are nothing without the members, for they make their money from data mining and advertising, neither of which would be possible without you and me and everyone we know (or don’t know). The value in connecting in real life is in sharing our interests and unlocking parts of our imaginations. How does that occur when there is no connection in real life?
Today’s Challenge: Connect with me in real life. Then, connect with me on LinkedIn. Not the other way around. C’mon: Let’s have a coffee and talk about life, business, dreams, what have you. Let’s make it real.
Future Challenge: Will someone create a social network that encourages real life (psst: in-person) social interaction? Does one exist? If so, send me a link, would you? Even better, post it in comments below to add to the discussion.
Kelly Hobkirk - teaching marketers how to harness strategy, goals, reality, and purpose to connect and do better work.
Kelly Hobkirk has been helping companies succeed in creative ways for nearly 25 years. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, and books by Rockport and Rotovision. Get exclusive articles when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.