MARKETING BYTES BLOG

Digital Age Journalism & Social Media Anthropology

Is ‘Social Media’ Anti-Social?

I began to wonder if ‘Social Media’ was actually ‘anti-social’ rather than a boon to human interaction when I became facebook friends with Nick, co-owners with his brother John of a great Italian restaurant literally located down the block from me, called Bonbino’s.

After weeks of building my facebook friends list which included hours away from my favorite evening TV shows, my daily walks, and just spending time relaxing, I had to ask myself the question, “Does this ‘social media’ stuff make sense?

“I’m isolating myself in my apartment, crazy-glued to my computer, addicted to my newfound ‘friend’, facebook, making mostly ‘virtual connections’ with people I have never met or will ever meet.”

Although I do admit that I enjoy reconnecting with high school mates, locating long-lost friends and becoming savvier as I see who is gearing up to run for political office having discovered the powerful visibility facebook affords them.

I continued my inquiring train of thought about the overall benefits versus drawbacks of the fairly new technology. I reasoned that all I have to do is walk outside and go down the block to visit facebook friend, Nick but also all my other friends at Bonbino’s to get my favorite eggplant parmigiana. Besides this visit, I also say hello to everyone I see along the way as well as in the other stores in the neighborhood.

In fact, the other evening my husband managed to drag me away from the computer; he took me, practically kicking and screaming, out for a walk. I had forgotten how much I loved our evening strolls and visits to local haunts on the way home. I headed towards my Italian paradise only to encounter a couple heading in the same direction. I asked them the time and we got to talking.

They had just flown in from the state of Washington. The motel they were staying at had recommended Bonbino’s so that was where they were headed. They inquired if the food was good. My response was enthusiastically positive.

Once inside, our discussion continued. I whispered to Angelo, one of the staff who was taking their order, not to forget to recommend the grandma pizza. It is my favorite. I spoke with Alan and Shelly, my new acquaintances from Washington State, for a little while longer and then headed to my next social call, the CVS pharmacy/store across the street.

I had a lengthy discussion with the pharmacy staff, who always call me by name; I attempt to reciprocate but it is getting harder to remember names as the list of people I know grows exponentially. I did some window-shopping through the remainder of the store and then headed down the street towards home.

Sometimes I also stop in at the Dunkin’ Donuts next to CVS but this particular evening, I simply looked in the window to see who was working that night. And there right on line for coffee and dessert were Alan and Shelly.

Well, needless to say, I could not resist going in to say hello, again. They offered to treat me to a donut but I declined. I indicated that meeting them and continuing to bump into them in one evening was treat enough for me.

Then as I headed home to my internationally occupied apartment building, I realized that my new facebook virtual world of friends might not ever compare with the quality of my face-to-face world due to my ability to meet people and make acquaintances if not friends with just about everyone.

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8 Comments

  1. laurinda handlik

    So very true. Although it is a virtual world it does afford us the opportunity to use it as an ice breaker for conversation with the people that you have a virtual relationship with and then meeting them face to face.

    Have a blessed day!

    Laurinda

    • Thanks Laurinda, it was really fun to see you on Thursday and thanks for your comment. I look forward to seeing you again soon, in both the virtual and real world!

  2. SUSANNE HAGLEITNER

    love this blog – gotta go and smell the roses though … 🙂 Susanne

  3. Peter Reynolds
    • Peter,
      Thank you for taking the time to both read and respond to my blog. I think that many things can have both benefits and drawbacks depending upon how they are used. So to me, it has more to do with the user than the technology.
      Sorry you feel the way you do, I personally happen to love facebook and all the social media I am exploring. Hope you find a more positive experience.
      Again, thanks for your participation.

  4. Hmm, Alison, I see your point, but I respectfully disagree. The internet is everywhere and social media is just an important part of it. Ok, I agree that meeting someone in person is nicer and the couple from Washington could have ended up anywhere in the US, but they just ended up on the same sidewalk going to the same Italian restaurant as you and you found that rewarding.

    I think social media is indeed taken for granted, but definitely not anti-social. Since people are the biggest asset in social media, you cannot do anything without them. I at least tell people when I do social media lectures in my public speaking that people are your biggest asset…use them wisely no matter where you find them, both online and offline.

    I have met people in person after meeting them online. I have gotten new web design clients from Facebook and Twitter. I met my wife on Match.com, and online dating sites were pretty much the original social media if you think about it.

    Socially, I have had great experiences online and I attribute all of my online successes to social media.

    • Hi Bruce,
      I hope you and other readers realize that this Blog posting was meant to be tongue-and-cheek. You know how I am addicted to social media. It is a gift from computer heaven for a marketing person and other people too. It seems that every day a new venue pops up that has a different take on how to present ideas, connect the various venues and do things we can not yet even imagine. I do appreciate your reading my blog and your response to it. I just wanted to make sure everyone knows I was just having some fun with this one!

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