When I was in high school, teachers spoke ad nauseam about how computers and cell phones were turning us into a society of strangers. In college, while the professors had embraced each medium – as well as text messaging – themselves, they still spoke of the days when people had to actually speak to each other and meet face to face.
About two years ago, when I really started to use social network sites for both my work and personal life, I thought about how sad it was that I had become a society of one – a stranger to everyone but my computer screen.
However, a funny thing happened to my little society – it grew! With Facebook, all of the sudden I was able to see wedding pictures and family photos from the 702 (yes, 702) students in my high school graduating class. And, once my company built its Facebook fan page, my friends and clients got to see all of the great works and community service we perform on a daily basis. And now with Twitter, I am getting the chance to speak directly to my peers as well as people that I admire across the country – and they are talking back TO ME! What’s more, big corporations are getting in on the action.
For example, recently I sent out two tweets – one wondering if anyone had any ideas about activities in Sedona over 4th of July and one inquiring about the best hotel deal anyone found in Las Vegas. 10 years ago, chances are I would have emailed only my closest friends to get this information, but today, I was able to ask people around the world.
Within minutes of the Sedona post, the Hilton Resort and Spa in Sedona sent me a direct message and eventually got my contact information so the gal on the other side of the computer screen could help me directly – what service! I am now a life-long fan of their organization and am staying there rather than the other hotel on my list.
And about an hour after the Las Vegas query, the PR gal from Planet Hollywood contacted me – and not with an automated response!
Actual humans just like you and me on Twitter, who didn’t know me from Adam, wanted to help me in any way they could.
So, to me, social networking sites are the ultimate irony.
A society of strangers? Hardly!
Today, with my social network, I feel like I have 1,100 friends…and counting.