Theory: Social Media is the Ultimate Authentic Connector

Surprisingly, I wasn’t an early adopter of social media.  It took A LOT of buzz about MySpace before I finally created an account just to see what it was about.  Of course, it only took me about a week to become hopelessly hooked.  Photos went up, friends were added, early attempts at blogging started and my heart even got a little broken.

Today that’s all old news.  It didn’t take me long to start seeing the potential.  I could share my client news with my “friends” and I started thinking that there was way more opportunity to tap into.  I began exploring other social networks.  Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter quickly became my favorites – all for different reasons.


The most appealing thing to me, beyond the ability to renew long lost connections, was the authenticity of the interaction.  People share of themselves freely and more genuinely on these networks than I’ve experienced in real life.  Perhaps it has something to do with doing it on your own terms and at times when it’s convenient.  Perhaps it is the safety net of being able to unplug and virtually walk away at any time.

What I want to believe is that people out there are ready for more personal connections because they understand the power of relationships today.  With more companies, more options, fierce competition and generally just far more distractions we need a place to keep track of our lives and focus attentions.  Or, possibly just appease our digitally created A.D.D.

Does this prove the theory?  Is social media the ultimate authentic connector?  Personally, I think that it might just be.  Actually, because of the availablity of information online about you, I might even get a better picture of who you are through your social media than when I meet you in person for the first time.

What do you think?  Tell me your opinion on social media as the ultimate authentic connector.


2 comments so far

  1. maliamiller on

    Great post, Rebecca! I really enjoyed the visual you provided on the Social Media Landscape; it really does extend beyond just MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.

    I agree with your points. I feel people can be pretty honest within the space for two reasons; first, they are supplying the information on their own time and within a desired space (home, work etc.). Secondly, it’s a very one-sided conversation since you’re not facing another person blogging at them. It’s a very one-dimensional and self fulfilling experience. Then you wait to see if, when, and how someone replies to your comment.

    The best part is, if you decide to be someone completely different than who you really are in person, you can! Although, you’d have to do a lot of work to keep yourself from being tagged in someone else’s gallery. But hey, that’s part of the excitement, right? 🙂

  2. John on

    Wow, Fred, your commentary is definitely characteristic of social media aficionados and provides an amazing glimpse of the phenomena as a whole. I can’t dispute your points in the broad sense of what SM provides and how some folks find the relative anonymity comforting and easier to compose their thoughts and perhaps be more honest about their feelings. It’s an incredible tool and vehicle, and in many ways is changing how we share information with each other. Yet to suggest that SM connections are more authentic than anything else in the human experience is almost scary. Sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists — even those who use SM — are unanimous in the idea that fully 80 percent of human communication is non-verbal. Meaning that meaningful interaction is a complex system of shrugs, eye movement, hand gestures, voice inflections, and a host of signals that indicate to all species exactly what’s up. And that’s just one example of human interaction that has profound impact. I don’t want to sound self-righteous but I’m sure that if you were to spend a week in an African refugee camp — sans Twitter or Facebook — that your life would be more deeply affected than a year’s worth of Tweets. This isn’t to posit and either/or debate. There’s an enormous, exciting social shift occurring around social engagement and it is altering how we are able to communicate with each other. But the “ultimate authentic connector?” I’ll hold hands with my girlfriend or take her mountain biking any day.

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