Networking, Social Media

The Shift Is Coming

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There is a shift happening.

Everyone got so excited a few years back when “social media” became the happening thing to do.

Men got pumped because it gave them an excuse to stay inside and play inside the Poker app on Facebook until 4 a.m., saying it was a way to connect with potential leads online.

Right.

In my opinion, the social media world has made a lot of people lazy.

Not everyone.  For some it has made them work harder in the offline world.  For others, it has made them lazy and it’s time we start shifting back.

The Online Shift

The online shift was fun at first.  Facebook was expanding rapidly to those that were outside of college, Twitter was emerging with celebrity status, LinkedIn became the online business networking resource, and everyone and their dog was blogging (literally, dogs are blogging with funny dog blogs like this one!)

We’ve gotten so caught up in the idea of being able to take away interaction with others (aka face-to-face) and instead just sit behind our laptops and connect with people online.

Man, were we wrong.

Now I’ll have to admit, I love networking online.  There is an entirely different element happening when you connect virtually, but it was exactly that mindset that got everyone away from the real world connection.

Things became easy because we could sit in the comfort of our homes and say exactly what we wanted to online without having to worry about the fear of actually talking to anyone in person.

We Forgot How To Be Personal

In a sense, we have forgotten how to be human.  Humans are supposed to interact with one another, not with computers… right?  At least that’s what I’d always thought.  It’s much more fun having the feeling of looking into someone’s eyes, sensing their body language, expressing your emotions on one another, and getting the true sense behind the genuine soul of another person.

Wouldn’t you agree that the online world takes all of that away from us?

I got an email from someone who said she had wanted to say hi at a recent event, but felt scared to approach me (and other people) in person.  She was so used to being behind a computer that her people skills had gotten rusty, so instead of taking advantage of the live event to interact with all the interesting people there who could help her build her business,  she attended only part of the event and spent the rest of the time in her hotel room doing what she had become comfortable with… being online!  Don’t let the online world make you a Shy Networker, get back offline and showcase who you really are.

It’s Time To Shift Back

Let’s shift back offline.

It so much more fun interacting with people live, in person, instead of via an avatar.  Wouldn’t you agree?

There is so much more good you can do when you shake someone’s hand, smile at one another, and interact like human beings are supposed to.  This is how business happens, and this is how life happens.

There are too many misconceptions that come to be online (both good and bad) that could easily be set straight in real life.  I’m not saying it’s bad to be online, quite the opposite in fact.  It’s more important now than ever to have an online presence to create awareness, generate leads, and increase your business.  However, as much of the energy you put to your online efforts, you want to put at least half of that to connecting with people face-to-face in the real world.

This is the shift that needs to happen, and is happening, and I hope you join me in the shift sooner than later.

I recently caught up with Chris Pearson, creator of Thesis Theme for WordPress, and he was the one who got this conversation started for me.  Check out what Chris had to say in a cab ride during a late night rally in Vegas during BlogWorld.

Those Who Shift, Win

Those who are already out there connecting with others at events locally and nationally are the ones who get it.  Chris Brogan, Scott Stratten, Brian Solis, Gary Vaynerchuk (and many more)…. they get it.  They understand that you CAN create an amazing amount of awareness and exposure online, but the real business and quality relationships start with a hand shake and end with a smile or a hug.  As sappy as the hug part may seem, you create a deeper bond with people even if you give them one of those “bro hugs” with only one arm and half a shoulder.  It brings the connection to another level of intimacy which enhances the relationship more so than any amount of interaction could online.

Next Steps

If you are feeling timid or fearful at all to attend local networking events, then you need to take action and do it.  If you feel scared to say hi to people you have never met before but would love to talk to, then do it.  Start attending more events locally and around the country where your audience or target market are attending.

Those who connect in person – win!

I’d love to hear about your thoughts on “The Shift”.  Are you finding yourself online more now then before?  Is the comfort of your own home and computer stopping you from meeting with others face to face?  What are your biggest challenges or fears you would like to overcome?  Please share your thoughts, suggestions, and ideas in the comment section below so that the others feeling these same things can all benefit.

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Image Credit: SNOWfactory
Image Credit: Patrick Haney

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  1. […] all off here, but lets just say it’s one of the best feelings in the world to take things off of social media and get back to genuine human interaction with all of my friends.  I miss spending time with them, and I do my best to enjoy every second […]

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