Recently my tech guru explained current social media to me. In thinking about her explanation it occurred to me that there is way too much information being exchanged about trivial matters while we seem unable to communicate regarding the important issues in our society such as immigration, keeping Social Security viable, making health care workable, etc. The following is my rendition of the explanation that I received regarding social media.
EMAIL. We email a friend that we just baked the best cookies ever. She says let everyone know, so...we do the following on social media to let the world know.
TWITTER. We are eating the best #cookies.
FACEBOOK. We love cookies.
FOURSQUARE. This is where we eat our cookies.
INSTAGRAM. Here is a vintage photo of us eating cookies.
YOU TUBE. Here we are eating cookies.
LINKEDIN. My skills include baking (cookies).
PINTEREST. Here is our favorite cooking recipe.
LAST FM. Now listening to "cookies".
G+. I am a Google employee who loves cookies.
You get the idea.
Maybe we have lost the ability to communicate about important matters because we are always on our devices emailing, blogging, uploading pictures and video, etc. regarding things of little consequence. Its great to be able to instantly learn how to to make great cookies, but we should not neglect taking the time to learn how to communicate about the more important issues in life face to face. Besides personal discussions, the important issues require the reading of books, research, pondering, etc. All of which require much more time and effort than the social media listed above. Hopefully as individuals and as a society we can enjoy the benefits of instant communication, while also not losing the skills and the willingness to do the harder work of more meaningful communication.
One of the attributes of social media is interaction, often in a public forum. The public forum makes it very dangerous to use social media for professional relationships because most professional relationships are confidential in nature. Even the fact that the professional and the client are working together should, at the client's discretion, be confidential. Though professionals like to interact with others, when they interact in a public forum with clients or potential clients, there is always the danger of divulging confidential information. It is much wiser to leave social media to the fun and unimportant things in life such as making cookies, while keeping professional and personal communication private and meaningful. Probably not a good idea to interact with your doctor, lawyer, therapist, minister, etc. over social media unless it is restricted to cookies or other trivial matters.