Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Offline Life

I love social media. Hold on. Let me repeat that again. I...LOVE...SOCIAL...MEDIA! Haha! Seriously, social media has changed our ability to communicate with others in many positive ways. No longer do you have to find a payphone to call can just use your handy and tiny cell phone. No longer do you have to stare at a picture of someone who is away for a long time. You can use Skype! You can text, you can instant message, tweet people, look at online resumes with LinkedIn, post and pin pictures with Pinterest and so on and so forth. Social media has great power, but with that power comes a dark side that can completely overtake your life.

What is it? It is the power of cutting you off from your offline life. While I love social media, I am all for creating healthy boundaries with it as well. And to be honest the real secret to social media is that its purpose is not only to keep people connected online but to create an investment in helping people get connected offline. I truly believe that social media is a tremendous vehicle towards facilitating offline relationships.

I have experienced the online to offline power of social media and the internet in general in the most important aspect of my life on earth and that was in meeting my wife. Michelle and I met on almost 9 years ago and we were one of those love stories you see on the commercials. We started with instant chat on and after a few days we moved to an offline meeting and the rest is history. I have taken this approach to my professional relationships throughout the years and it has helped keep me grounded in my offline life. I regularly meet people on my favorite social media tool, Twitter, and ask to meet them offline if they are in the same area as me because I want to foster an offline relationship not a online based relationship. If they are not in the same area as me then I at least try to set up a phone call. While it is fun to be online with people nothing can replace the feel and presence of chatting with someone face to face. There's a real rush in meeting people in the flesh and developing a quality relationship. Social media will never ever come close to that.

One of the things I love to do is to have monthly meetings or gatherings with people close to me or who I have a working professional relationship with. While we have little chit chats throughout the month online I feel confident in saying that our best times are always when we meet in person and laugh and joke together. That is just so real and present to me. It is more organic and raw and that makes for a deeper heartfelt relationship.

So, the overall point here...if you love social media like I do then definitely go forth and use it to the best of your ability. However, be cautious in how much time you spend online and make it a goal of yours to keep your offline life as a priority above your online life. Because if you don't control social media and place healthy boundaries on it then it will most certainly control you.

Until the next time...

Dr. D

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