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.