Interesting post on Fast Company’s front page today. The writer, Jimmy Gardner poses the question, “Does social media make you less social?” Meaning, if you are involved in many “virtual” social conections, are you less likely to actually get out from behind the computer and interact in physical society? He thinks it can and makes his argument by citing the example of friends and contacts he first met on one of the social networking sites that are now friends and contacts in the physical world. He talks of not having to meet new people “cold” because you already have had interaction via whatever social network you met.
This argument can go both ways. Sure, meeting someone of like mind or profession online may lead to a real world business connection and relationship. Some of the “big” bloggers, Scoble, MacLeod, Godin, et. al. appear to be friends in the real world as well in the blogoshpere. This may be difficult, though, if the people are geographically far away from each other. But, there are also those who are so introverted, they are more comfortable (and successful) interacting on MySpace or Facebook behind the protective anonymity of a computer
One personnal story to reinforce Jimmy’s argument. I was recently reconnected with one my groomsman, Jeff, through the site LinkedIn. We had lost touch with each other and had not talked in over ten years. Now, we regularly talk through email and I am going to go to a weekend golf trip he and several of his friends have every year. I think social networking can make one more social. As well it should.