Social Networking Is A Beginning, Not An End

Kent J. Lewis, President of Portland-based SEO firms Anvil Media and Formic Media, posed a great question on LinkedIn today.

I believe there is an inverse theorem to Moore’s Law, that states “the quality and value of long-term relationships is inversely related to the size of your social media network. In other words, the more “connections” “friends” “fan” and “followers” you have, the less valuable each one is to your overall happiness and well-being.
Agree? Disagree? Your thoughts are appreciated.

Megann Willson offered a solid response:

I’ve observed that the folks who seem to be really using social media effectively, are the same type of people who were fantastic networkers when the tools were Rolodexes, or Filofaxes.
These people seem to be able carry on a dialogue, organize their information, and put folks in touch with one another when it’s smart to do so – just as before. They believe in reciprocal interaction, not abusing trust, and in really seeking connections that add value.

Too true. You are who you are. If you’re a kind, grounded person in real life, you’re not going to abuse social media.
Jerry Smith, Co-Founder of Marketing Action Club in Kansas City reminds us how that scenario unfolds:

The fact that SM allows you to hide behind a keyboard means people are far less inhibited with the following activities that would be objectionable in person: Blatant selling, autoresponding with messages inappropriate to the receiver, promoting crackpot schemes, basically standing there shouting “look at me, look at me”, getting an ego boost by saying “I have X number of friends/followers etc. aren’t I great?”.

My own take is that social media can put you in contact with important people you want to know and might otherwise not have access to. That’s been true for me. However, it’s absolutely critical that you take the introductions made online to the next level by meeting face-to-face. Failure to do so keeps those people at a distance, and at a distance they’re not in a place to help you.
Danny G. was one of the first people I met in person through AdPulp, and he’s been helping us out for four years now, for FREE. I happened to be in Kansas City on business a few Octobers ago and that led to a face-to-face with John January. January and I are now talking about an interesting project at his firm that I might be able to help with. Bob Hoffman and I have recently met twice in Portland where his daughter attends college. His advice and insights ring through my head almost daily. The gentleman known herein as TD and I have become friends through AdPulp and the list goes on. There’s also a long list of people I still very much need to meet and I’m convinced that until I do meet them, there won’t be any meaningful collaborations between us.
All of which brings me back to Kent’s question (by the way, I met Kent in person last fall). Social media isn’t worth much unless it’s helping to put you in direct contact with people you can help and people who can help you. Being a “friend” on Facebook or LinkedIn is a far cry from that reality. Friending on soc nets is merely a door that’s been opened, you still have to walk through it.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.