It’s safe to say that social media has infiltrated every aspect of our lives, right? I remember when Facebook had just started and required a university email address to create an account. Back then, it was literally just a profile picture and an “About Me” section. Fast-forward a few years and you have photo albums, a news feed, chat and private messages. Then Twitter came along and condensed our communication to just 140 characters. Pretty soon, “I’ll friend you on Facebook” or “Follow me on Twitter” infiltrated our personal introductions.
Now, with several social media platforms and networks, there’s a plethora of options where you can choose to be present and relevant — both for individuals and brands. Whether you’re tweeting, Facebook messaging, Gchatting, pinning or just sending an “old-fashioned” email, how far have we let social media affect how we foster our personal and professional relationships?
Don’t get me wrong, I love and appreciate social media, the connections it offers and the way we, as a consumer, can communicate with big-name brands. I love being able to post either a rave review or a poor experience on a brand’s page and receive almost immediate customer service feedback — much faster and more personal than waiting on hold with the 1-800-customer-service line for two hours. On the flip-side, as a community manager, I feel empowered when I’m able to help a customer have a better brand experience through social media communication.
However, have we taken it too far? Do you find yourself emailing an old friend rather than writing a letter? Or do you have a tendency to carry out ongoing text conversations that could easily be solved by a quick phone call? As a brand, have you replaced your customer service department with a variety of different social media platforms? While there will always be a time and place for effective and strategic social media use (hey, I’d be out of a job if it weren’t for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc), have we perhaps taken it too far and let ourselves form our relationships and friendships, both professional and personal, around impersonal communication methods? Next time you need to get in touch with a friend, pick up the phone. Or, if you’re working with a customer to resolve an issue, give them a call. They’ll appreciate the personal touch so much more than another piece of digital junk mail.