The difference between a friend, an acquaintance and the friends and acquaintances we have met online is blurring…Social media would seem to dictate or would assume that I’m supposed to develop or have developed these deep online, networked, connections, i.e. That I have met them. Jay Baer calls it false intimacy. Does it matter that I have not met them? Absolutely not. Or maybe it does…
But maybe we should quickly look at what the definition of “connected” is. Check this out:
con·nect·ed http://img.tfd.com/m/sound.swf (k-nktd)
1. Joined or fastened together.
a. Not decomposable into two disjoint nonempty open sets.
b. Having a continuous path between any two points. Used of a curve, set, or surface.
3. Related by family.
4. Logically or intelligibly ordered or presented; coherent: a stroke that left him incapable of connected speech.
5. Associated with or related to others, especially to influential or important people: a photographer who was well connected in the fashion world.
In our social world, most of our connections fall under either #3 or #5 with what it would seem, an emphasis on #5. To me though,the above definitions are evolved, twenty-first century, online definitions, even though they may not be. Let me check Webster’s 7th New Collegiate Dictionary real quick. The best definition I derived from that, is simply, “to have a relationship”. That’s pretty general though, but accurate in today’s day and age.
What does a relationship today look like? How is it defined? There’s the online version and the offline version. Social has allowed us to connect with people all over the place. But what does that connection consist of. It’s being familiar with an avatar, a name, a nickname, and a location. It’s engaging in some Twitter banter, dropping a blog comment, and maybe having some extended conversations either via Twitter, IM or email. A phone conversation? Perhaps. In the end, nothing necessitates that we meet though. It’s ambient intimacy.
Here’s my point
I’ve actually done business with people that I’ve never met face to face, but talk to everyday through my various networks. Even better, I got a job referral
from someone that I never met face to face until after
I started working at his company. The whole process occurred via Twitter and phone conversations. I got a huge consulting contract from someone who read my blog posts. Throughout the life of the contract, I met them one time. It didn’t matter.
Social allows us to connect. It is the ultimate ice breaker. The new rules? It doesn’t mean that I have to meet you to do business with you. Does it mean that if I truly want to be friends with you, that we should meet? Not really. Is that OK with you? I’m on the fence.