Making Friends – April 13, 2012
This month the Atlantic asks “Is Facebook Making us Lonely” (c’mon, you just knew the answer would be ‘yes’, didn’t you?). As a life-long introvert, I’m used to popular culture extolling the virtues of being outgoing, gregarious and extroverted, while hinting that there’s something not quite right with people who prefer a little peace and quiet. While scholarly and interesting, I thought the basic premise of the piece was a flawed assumption that there existed an earlier halcyon era during which we all hung out together in person. Perhaps like that old TV show, “Friends”? I don’t know about you, but I remember life before the internet and don’t recall endless nights of scintillating conversation and deeply meaningful bonding. Mostly we just sat around watching TV.
Hello, Hello There
A while ago I wrote about a new hotel in my neighborhood that offers guests the chance to connect with fellow travellers and interact with the staff thru a hyper-local social network. Nowhere is the feeling of being “alone in a crowd” more profound than in a place like New York City where the sidewalks are packed night and day but you might never encounter a handshake, a smile or a friendly face. Yet, as this clip from one of my favorite old movies shows, it has ever been thus.
Where are you?
I have a theory that it won’t be until the current generation of senior management retires that we’ll really see how technology meaningfully change communications between companies and their customers. Where I work, for example, press releases, press conferences and newspaper mentions are still a strong focus of our communications efforts. I think those days are numbered because what really matters to any organization is to find (and get in front of) the audience wherever they may be. And newspaper reading just isn’t the place. Some people think that websites aren’t the place either. So…got any good ideas?
Posting diatribes is not my usual thing, but I’m going to take the low road and declare my real hatred of “instagram.” It’s not that I’m jumping on the bandwagon of those who say that Facebook will ruin it now that they bought the start-up for a cool billion (seriously ONE BILLION). It’s that I don’t really love sepia-toned, frayed-edge photos. I’m old enough to remember when those kind of pictures were the norm, and the delight we all felt when photography progressed beyond that phase for good in the 1970s. Here’s to hoping the instagram will go the way of the telegram.