Social Spackle December 9, 2009Posted by Chuck Musciano in Random Musings.
Tags: Relationships, Social Media
It’s been a social media week for some reason, with many opportunities to discuss the benefits and pitfalls of all this new stuff with lots of folks. Despite the attention that social media gets, and the adoption of the tools by some demographic groups, there is still a long way to go for some people to start using this stuff.
There’s a common refrain that permeates a lot of these discussions: “It might be useful for others, but I just don’t think it’s for me. Who cares what I’m doing or thinking?” I have a simple answer for that: “I do.” And lots of other people as well.
The concept of social media is not new. Years and years ago, social media went by different names. We used to call it “talking,” or “writing a letter,” or “making a social call.” As technology advanced, it became “sending a telegram” and “making a phone call.” Now we call it “updating my status” or “sending a tweet.” Technology changes, but the goal remains the same.
The point is to keep in touch with people you care about, and for them to keep in touch with you. These simple interactions with others build a rich fabric that connects you and keeps you close. While some people belittle the trivial information that often gets shared, it is that information, in fact, that makes the whole exercise worthwhile.
In today’s world, we rarely cross paths with people and engage them in person. When we do, we often spend time catching up: “Where have you been? What have you been doing?” We do it because we care, and the more we know about a person, the more we can connect and share.
Social media lets you share those little bits about yourself all the time. Interested people can absorb them and keep up with you. I call this information “social spackle.” It is the stuff that fills in the cracks in our relationships and keep them strong. When you do finally meet someone, you are already up to speed on their life; you can have a richer and more valuable moment together.
Consider a simple example: an acquaintance tweets as he goes on a trip to visit his daughter and see his grandchildren. Trivial data, he thinks; who would care about that? But those who know him are glad to know it, and file it all away. When we next meet, we have excited questions: How was your trip? How are those grandkids? That little bit of social spackle strengthened our bond and made for a nicer moment.
Reluctant to try social media? Don’t do it for you. Do it for those who care about you. Find ways to spread some social spackle and see what happens. You will be surprised at the change in the richness and quality of your relationships, both with people you’ve known and the people you will meet. What do you have to lose?
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