Why you need to be more human than human…

While driving back from the Social Media Business Forum in Durham, NC, I heard an old song and the chorus line really stuck with me… “More human than human.” As I sat in the car on that 6 hour drive home, I mulled this line over and over  in my head…

There is no doubt that social networking has become mainstream and is a socially acceptable aspect of our daily routines. In fact, if you are reading this post, you probably saw it linked to or referenced on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or through an email, which would confirm my point.  Through the digital world, we “connect” and “interact” with new friends, old friends, colleagues, acquaintances and strangers. We ask how people are, we follow their status updates, read blogs and may even comment… And until recently, that used to be human enough. Empathy, sympathy, community (virtual)… the list goes on… And why wouldn’t that be enough? We’re human, right?

But some are starting to refer to these new kinds of “relationships” as “artificial relationships.” Can these substitute for real, face to face encounters? I think not.  I actually found an interesting blog post adequately summed up in 1 question – “Are we perfecting the art of artificial relationships and losing the craft of cultivating deep friendships?”

So why should you care about being more human than human? Because now, more than ever, it will help you stand out, especially when it comes to online and offline business networking and connecting,  because the Internet has made things SO easy that now we need to recognize  in what areas relationships lacking.

Do things that people are starting to do less of.

Get out from behind the computer and meet people you interact with.

Get a small group of trusted virtual contacts and meet for coffee.

Attend established networking events.

Do the research, make the commitment and participate in local Tweetups.

Collect business cards to get actual contact information instead of Twitter aliases and Facebook connections.

In short, use your online networking to SUPPLEMENT the growth of your actual networks. Be intentional and make connections beyond what and who you see on your screen… Being human includes being a part of a community, not just a virtual one but an actual physical one and by being an active participant of your local community, you can expand your reach and develop your reputation both virtually and locally.


8 responses to “Why you need to be more human than human…

  1. So true. Thank you for those thoughts. That’s one of my favorite things about driving through NC. Lots of time to think.

    The online network is so easy to mistake for the real world. But people need to have human contact, hearing a voice, seeing a face, shaking a hand. Connecting with a smile. Human connections that are so easy to overlook when your online network keeps growing larger and larger.

  2. Great post, it addresses the need for balance between a person’s online and offline world. Social networking makes finding like-minded people more efficient but it will never replace the sensory experience of meeting someone face-to-face. The only part that I disagree with is where you discount Twitter and Facebook usernames as not being “actual” contact information. These channels are my preferred means of interaction and serve as gateways to the rest of my contact information.

    • I appreciate the reply. Twitter and Facebook may be preferred means of interaction but how to you interact when they are unavailable? How do you connect if in the future they become services that people have to pay for? I was at Blogworld and had been connecting with everyone via Twitter… When Twitter went down and was unavailable for 12 hours, I had no way to connect with any of the other people there and went from being totally connected to fairly isolated. It was then that I realized that Twitter + FB should not be the only form of contact that people are providing these days.

      • I agree, the flakiness of twitter is a big issue at times. If twitter and FB became for-pay services with no way of accessing them with a free option I would hop to the next service that would replace it (and try to bring my contacts with).

        I try to always have my iphone on hand and charged in case I need to email or beam alternative contact info.

        Over the years I have become quite skeptical about giving out more contact info because within a few minutes of talking with someone I am unable to accurately asses their intentions. Social media allows me to get to know someone a little better before I provide them with my more valuable contact info. It is like a set of checks and balances to protect my email boxes and phone numbers.

  3. Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for Why you need to be more human than human… « Lessons in business networking from the field.. [tarynp.wordpress.com] on Topsy.com

  4. Thanks, @tarynp – this needs to be an issue at the forefront of our minds as we delve more and more into social media. The great thing is that those face-to-face meetings with virtual contacts can be exponentially rewarding, and make for even better communication when you go back to the virtual world. Thanks for your insight!

  5. Excellent points! While I ADORE being active in online communities (the novelty hasn’t worn off, yet, even a month into it ^.^), people aren’t fully real to me until I hear their voice, shake their hand, get to see what they look like with their face larger than 1/2″.

    A half inch picture isn’t a person to me, not yet. Hopefully not ever. There isn’t a substitute for genuine human interaction, especially with all the spammers and bots plaguing the twitterverse. Nothing can replace connecting with a live person, and I don’t think anything should try.

    Love the post!

  6. The real IRL human connection offers voice tone, volume, body position, etc.. which conveys far more than text as communication is far more than words. I think this is great advice and, I will be getting out into the streets much more, so watch out peeps as I may actually speak to you somewhere.

    Also, it seems like once you meet someone youve taken some of the “unknown” out of the equation so one looking for whatever it is you do will be more inclined to call on you for their needs. Duh. I really should turn it up.

    What? White Zombie? Really? lol

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