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A-Ha Moments

Followers or Friends?

Written by: Bill Sherman on Wednesday, 17 March 2010, 4:47 PM

Last week, Tim Sanders explored how we’re using social media to create followers rather than friends. Specifically, he tells us that its alienating us from creating real, human networks.

I’m not only a fan and follower of Tim, I count him as a friend. He mentored early on in my career, and he’s been someone who forces me to think about the world from fresh perspectives.

When I look at the world through the lens of social capital, there’s a clear reminder that digital connections can only take us so far. We cannot merely push out content to others. We cannot claim to benefit because we contributed more flotsam into the stream of communications. Really, that’s both a cruel and lonely approach to communication where we all send messages-in-a-bottle into the ocean and hope someone bothers to read them.

Too often, we use digital technologies to deliver monologues and soliloquies.  That’s true for both individuals and corporations. It doesn’t work, because you don’t build a relationship. That’s why I strive to respond to others at least as much as I write new content. I would rather engage in conversations than stand in a corner and talk to myself.

Too often, we produce content without listening and without communicating. We have to break that habit as individuals, departments, organizations, and communities. It’s not making us any more effective.

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