Chris DeLine declared social networking bankruptcy earlier this year after deciding that he wasn’t getting enough value out of services like Facebook and Twitter. However, after taking an aggressive step away (he went as far as deleting his accounts) he found that there may be more to this social networking thing than he previously thought:
In the following months however it began to dawn on me just how shallow my approach to all this. All I really had to do was take a moment to think about the impact that online social networking has had on me, and my relationships, in order to realize the significance that these sites have had on my life. A good share of my real life relationships began, in one way or another, as online contacts and a lot of my real life interactions (event planning, networking, etc.) were at some point in time mediated by Facebook.
Well said, Chris.
As I look at people going through similar phases, I think the rut some people get into is focusing on the metrics rather than the relationships. For example, Dodgeball.com allows me to keep in touch with 20 close, local, friends. That’s truly valuable to me.
There really is a crossover opportunity between online and offline friends. Personally, I see this happening most often through Twitter and my blogs. Both help people discover other people with similar interests, passions, or senses of humor.
I’ve gone as far as inviting people to my home whom I’ve never met or even talked on the phone with before but “knew” through comments on my blogs, Twitter, etc. It was clear that they were someone that I’d like to meet. That’s real value coming out of authentic online relationships.