Over the past month I’ve been meeting a lot of new wonderful people throughout Italy and Switzerland and what I am finding to be the most common topic in discussion is social media. Not just social media though in the way that Americans think of Social Media, but more specifically how social media is affecting our societies and the way that we communicate and have relationships. People are looking pretty deeply into these matters and I’m glad to see that.
My experience with social media is a bit different and more full-time than others – I do it for work and have always been more interested in how it makes a good business for me rather than going overboard on it in the personal sense. On the personal side it never interested me as much, but I used it and do so more now. Overall, you could probably say that I am an average or medium user in my personal life. The professional life is where it comes into major play and that is because I work for myself as a consultant and manager of social media marketing for businesses. Why? Because I’m fascinated by the combination of marketing and understanding people who it involves. And it enables me to work from literally anywhere in the world, as long as I have an internet connection of course, which now-a-days is amazingly in most places.
Throughout Europe, people refer to this kind of work and service as Internet Marketing. Makes sense. Even among those of my generation (which, to give away my age, is currently at the age of late 20’s into mid-30’s), the consensus I am hearing from people is that on the personal and social side it is having negative affect and is harming our societies. I tend to agree and am seeing in different countries and cultures that concerns about people having good communication skills is being impacted by our obsession with social media. Rather than being able to sit and enjoy silence or simply be still, people are constantly on a device, texting or emailing, but hardly calling anymore and speaking voice to voice. Or for that matter, we are seeing more and more how people will be together at any number of occasions such as a show or even a date, and rather than talking to each other, they’re each on their phones messaging, checking into Facebook about who they’re with and where they are…what about simply being fully present and enjoying where you are and who you’re with?
Now I take part in these things as well, yet am recognizing and wanting to call out for myself that I want to maintain a balance and make sure that I’m keeping my interactions more human than media-based. Perhaps along with social media we should keep in mind social humanity too? There’s a lot of play on words that we could use to keep the reminder in front of us that our societies should be aware and careful and protect and practice true social interaction that is completely based on the most authentic and powerful ways of interacting within society…and those are interactions that are verbal and face-to-face. Let’s not lose the significance of body language, tone of voice, and so many other things that are simply not possible through social media.
I am liking the awareness and concerns that Europeans seem to be having about this and contribute their insight to their culture that is steeped in much older history and cultures that are also geographically closer. There’s endless factors that we could analyze, but I hope I am getting my point across without using even more words. Besides, I would love to hear your thoughts…preferably verbally or face-to-face of course. So give a call or come visit! Skype ID: amalia.maloney