It may not be face to face, but it is still personal

Social media allows for interactions across all sorts of barriers, whether they be time zones, geography or culture. With Facebook, you can keep up with what an old classmate is doing, even if she is living in the remotest corner of Siberia.

Although social media has made it possible to keep in touch with all sorts of people and even to create new relationships, it has also made those relationships more difficult.

It makes trolls come out to play!

It seems some people figure because it isn’t a face-to-face interaction, they can ignore you or be rude to you. That is why trolls abound on Twitter. They find things they disagree with, and then attack, often being very nasty and rude. As if they weren’t interacting with a person on the other end of the Twitter account.

It makes people forget their manners

Somebody sends you a congratulations on LinkedIn, comments on your nice new profile picture on Twitter or says happy birthday on Facebook and you forget to thank them. Maybe you “don’t have time.” Maybe you are just rude.

It makes people think actions have no consequences

Recently, Mark Schaefer from Schaefer Marketing Solutions wrote on his {grow} blog about how his blog posts have been ripped off, copied wholesale without attribution.   I have heard of other bloggers like Schaefer, who’ve found their content attributed to other writers or on other websites without attribution. People and organizations who plagiarize stuff they find through social media or on blogs seem to think it’s there for the taking, as if they can do what they want with absolutely no consequences.

They thing is although social media interactions may be virtual, they involve real live human beings at both ends. Social media is not an excuse for engaging in behavior you could not get away with in person.

What do you think? Do we need to put the personal back in social media? Or is it societal?


About Deborah Brody

Deborah Brody writes and edits anything related to marketing communications. Most blog posts are written under the influence of caffeine.

2 thoughts on “It may not be face to face, but it is still personal”

  1. I’ve written about it before – there are some benefits of being behind a keyboard. We’re more confident, more comfortable than we are in person, sometimes more engaging; I know I am. Then there’s the anonymity factor – I.E. I’m on several message boards w/ a handle… not sure I’d be comfortable with my name on my TripAdvisor. Not that I’m writing anything wrong, but more an issue of safety, privacy.

    Then there’s the dark side of society that attacks, judges without thinking. Throw in the anonymity w/ that lot, like on Twitter or Yahoo!News comments, and it’s the worst. The trolls, the pot stirrers making it bad for the rest of us.

    There are times I think, if I am too careful too cautious, then how am I being ‘authentic’? but oh wait, what if – gasp! – I share an opinion that might – the horror! – be a little silly, snarky or offensive, not 110% politically, socially correct the world over??!! Do I risk my career or run of my friends?! 😉 IDK most of the issues I’ve read have been, not so much the ‘face to face’ issue as it has been ‘the truth is out’ and they realize you aren’t ‘who they thought you were.’

    Don’t misunderstand – I totally agree w/ you. We need better manners, we need to be more tolerant and accepting of others, of different personalities and viewpoints and celebrity hairstyles and everything else. We need to remember — online AND face-to-face — it’s a real person w/ feelings on the other side of the conversation; that they may have a different view point than you; and that’s OK. FWIW.

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