Has Social Media Ruined Our Social Skills?

In October of 2009, Soren Gordhamer, blogged on Mashable.com “The 5 Ways in Which Social Media has changed our Daily Lives”. Particularly of interest to me was Number 3 – “How we meet and stay in touch with people”.

Likely no surprise to the average Internet user, the blog states that it is now easier than ever to share ideas and communicate. Whether you’ve joined a Facebook group or have chosen to follow certain people on Twitter, you can find, communicate, share and maintain old and potentially new friendships with less and less face to face interaction.

Has social media changed the way we create and maintain friendships? Or how we find and build relationships with business and community partners? In my opinion, yes.

Today’s youth and emerging leaders have grown up developing social skills quite differently than in the past. Texting or emailing has replaced phone conversations, while Facebook and Twitter have replaced the need to get together and “catch-up”. Taking a minute out of your day to check someone’s Facebook status or read their updates on Twitter seems to be a sufficient replacement for actual encounters. Has social media ruined the ability for today’s youth and emerging leaders to develop long-lasting mutually beneficial relationships?

Working as an Account Manager for nearly a year now, I’ve come to realize the importance of client relations and building lasting relationships in business. Although, you may be more comfortable sending an email, picking up the phone to call a client is often a better option. Without simple communication skills in face to face meetings or common social graces over the phone, projects would stall, clients would be unhappy and new projects wouldn’t be landed.

Perhaps, we're headed to an electronic world where in person meetings don’t exist and technologies like GoToMeeting or Skype are used in their place, however, I’m a strong believer that effective communications skills in person and online is what drives a business forward, moves projects from conception to completion and brings clients back for future business.

So for the youth and emerging leaders of today…remember, your great ideas and effective business skills will only improve with effective, in person communication. 

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