Our ANTI-Social Society, Social Media, and Forging REAL Relationships.
By many indications, we have become a much more socially connected (oriented) society.
The signs are EVERYWHERE. You can’t read a magazine (or blog) without further proof that we are all more connected “socially” through social media, social corporate responsibility, social recruiting, social intelligence. We’re all kinds of social.
We have come to measure our “connectedness” by our social media relationships and our total collective online reputational brand (Klout, Reputation, SocialMention) and the number of people that follow us, “Like” us, and re-tweet what we say. Even our names can “trend.” Just follow yourself as a ### HASH TAG. It used to be only celebrities, artists, athletes, musicians had a Q score. Now the Andy Warhol prophecy that we are all famous for 15 minutes has become truth.
So how is it that we have evolved into this highly “social” society, when there still exist so many divisions between us? The great melting pot called American exceptionalism is rife with social divides. The “have’s” fight to keep what they’ve gained, while the lower class, upper lower, lower middle and upper middle class all jockey for that big slice of the remaining 98% of the income pie. A huge percent of our nation’s wealth is stockpiled by a microscopic 1-2% of the population. Hardly seems social at all.
People claim that the family institution is failing as evidenced by a divorce rate believed to be as high as 60-70% (the data is inconclusive on actual rates) and more people are searching for life partners online.
There is a battle being waged in the States and at the national level about our basic freedoms such as the rights extended in same sex marriages and treatment of immigrants.
Over in that hotbed of social dysfunction called the American workplace, employee disenfranchisement with their employers is boiling over. Now the popular trend in American business and industry is “re-shoring.” American businesses (especially car manufacturers) are bringing back jobs they have been sending overseas since the 1980s. Should we read that as a sign that the American enterprise has evolved and is much more socially compassionate towards workers? Hardly. Workers are ready to jump ship and leave their current employees in record numbers, according to Workforce Management.
Meanwhile, employers struggle to deal with their employees as an inconvenience to be tolerated, controlled and managed. They track employee Internet searching on the job, monitor what their employees are saying about them on their social media accounts.
It is more critical than ever that we stop and think what would happen if we truly embraced our social relationships, and extended those relationships online through social media. Social media can be leveraged as a powerful tool to stir the emotions, passions and drive towards action. Since the commercial adoption of the Internet in the mid 1990’s, the online world can be leveraged to create more direct interactions with many people at once, while customizing the message you send to each individual. As I’ve said before the traditional FIVE P marketing mix (product, price, placement, promotions, packaging) has inherited two new “I’s” (INTERACTIVITY & INDIVIDUALIZATION) in this age of digital media and interactive marketing that exists online.
Examples of the power of social media abound, from Occupy Wall Street to the Arab Spring movement, creating awareness for autism, the Travon Martin case and petition on Change.org, and updating people during/immediately after natural disasters like hurricanes and tsunamis (James Surowiecki TED conference “When social media became news.”)
Employees can and do go online to bash (or rave about) the experiences they have with companies they buy from. People receive offers, coupons, and discounts instantaneously anywhere they happen to be (and “check in.”) We can keep up to date with our immediate and extended families and friends all over the world. In this social era, an unlimited amount of data sits literally at our fingertips thanks to Google, Bing and Yahoo.
The question that begs asking is:”Is this always a good thing?” What do you think?
Here’s to your success in starting a new business or changing jobs/careers in 2013. May it be the start of an entirely new path for you!
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach