When I counsel my Internet Marketing clients on starting their social media efforts in support of their business, I tell them unless they have a team at the ready, they should pick just a couple sites and “go deep.” In that I mean, it’s better to create just a Facebook and Twitter account and excel at engaging your audience and providing them value rather than set up half a dozen sites and not have the ability to keep them maintained and fresh. Then it occurred to me. That same guideline rings true for your friends. I am 46 years old and have a pretty wide swath of friends I know and keep in occasional touch with. But with the emergence of the web as a social interaction tool, it seems far too easy to let your friendship communication slide into the lax mode of just the occasional Facebook comment, brief Tweet or “Thumbs up.”
The media seems to be covering more and more of this effect. The effect that people may be even more isolated and alone yet unknowingly maintain a facade that they have 126 friends on social media and so that must mean they have a thriving personal life And support structure. But most of us know that when it comes to really personal things and not-so-happy events occurring in our lives, social media just doesn’t seem the right place to get help and support. I had had an old school buddy that shared his upcoming marriage breakup and subsequent custody challenges on his Facebook account. Though I found the news heart breaking, I also felt I couldn’t offer him any help and that maybe he shouldn’t throw such personal tragedies out via that medium. Then, of course, that could just be me.
But as I see social media giving the impression of virtual friends, I feel we are better off holding on to a few close friends and really connecting with them. Pick up the phone and call them, set up a time to meet and grab some grub, but stay genuinely focused and engaged with those who you feel closest to. It’s far too easy to let online communication place a veil over what makes us happy when we really take time to share with one another. It means so much more to both parties when you do it by voice or eye to eye, rather than some text quickly tapped out while stopped at a red light.