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Social Media Is Still About IRL

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It is 1 o'clock in the morning as I write this, and I am so energized by the meet up tonight, I just had to write about it. Thanks to my long time social media pals Emily Bennett (@crzegrl15) and Sean Dent (@IAmUnafraid) for the great discussion tonight. Most of the conversation I'll leave at the bar, but there were three themes that I wanted to share here:

  • What has happened to social media discussion? All three of us started around the same time blogging - meaning long form blogging, not the microblogging of  twitter and facebook. Back then, success was about quality writing and commenting, and not about the number of twitter followers and facebook likes. As I have discussed previously with Meredith Gould, social media discussions have moved from the public forum to private direct messages. Are public social media discussions dead? Maybe not, with things now like google hangouts, podcast interviews, and twitter chats.

  • Social Media burnout happens. Back in the early and mid 2000s, to be a successful anonymous blogger, you had to be pretty transparent and honest in your story telling. Even though health care bloggers were not transparent with their real names, those bloggers shared sometimes pretty personal information & stories, which readers loved, but blog writers could not sustain, and many of those bloggers quit and blogs deleted. In today's social media world, marketing people say that you have to have a continuous stream of content.  But, I have found social media sanity by taking occasional and intermittent social media breaks. Recognize that social media burnout happens, and instead of quitting, know when to pull back a little bit and not sharing everything you're doing.
  • Social Media Is Still About IRL (in real life). Back when I started blogging, I was able to make a real connection with the blog authors I was reading - mainly because the amount of sharing that was happening was fairly deep at that point. Today, it's very difficult for me to determine whether a blog post is a genuine story or a re-worked press release. People have noticed that when I'm at conferences or meetings, I do not tweet that much. This is because the way to make connections today is In Real Life (IRL) in the back halls of the conference room or in the hallways. For me, social media reinforces the in person conversations and connections I have with people - So it's still about In Real Life meetings for me.

I hope some of this makes sense. As I hope (and dream), I challenge you to leave a comment below to continue the conversation. But, I know what will happen. I will receive the limited comment of the tweet response, and a thumbs up like on facebook.. Maybe I am sound like Statler and Waldorf below from the muppets, an old guy wanting to go back to the past and how things were when social media was fresh and new. An old guy can dream, right? (It's 2am as I finish this post. Apologies if it sounds like a first draft, because it is lol)