Monday, February 7, 2011

Social Networking vs Virtual Friendship

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With the development of such social networks as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and many international variations of them, it became so easy to connect to your friends and acquaintances no matter at what part of the world they are. Instead of ordering prints of photos from a current party and then showing them to all of your friends who were there with you, you now can upload the pictures on your Facebook page and send a link to it to anyone you want via an e-mail or a text message. "Great," you must be thinking. "It saves me time, money and effort." True. However, it also deprives you of personal interaction with people who are important to you. Instead of inviting a friend to an event over the phone, you usually send him or her an impersonal invitation through a social network. The big concern is: do you see a clear line between social networking and virtual friendship?

To distinguish the two, you may compare social networking to going outside your house and yell your message out hoping that as many of your neighbors as possible will hear it. Chances are that they are not home or they are not interested, then you will never get a reply. However, if they care about your proposal, they will come right out of their houses to give you a response. It works the same way on Facebook: if you have no time to call everyone, you usually send the same text to all your contacts and wait for them to reply. As opposed to this, virtual friendship is avoiding face-to-face or phone conversations intentionally, or even transferring all your social experience to the Internet. If this is the situation you are in now, here are some tips on how to make the most of social networking resources and communicate with people on a regular basis at the same time:

1. Call rather than send an impersonal message whenever possible. If it is the question of whether or not you reach out to someone (no time or no other contact information, for example), it's better to use social media than nothing at all. However, if you have a chance to connect to a friend or business partner on a personal level, do that. You will be given more attention and hopefully, a concrete reply. For instance, if you plan to invite a girl to your birthday party, you should call her and ask whether or not she will be able to come. If she answers, "I'm sorry I will be in Florida with my parents," there is absolutely no need to pursue her with the same idea.

2.  Meet your friends often. There is nothing more rewarding than a nice friendly chat or advice. Even if you agree on going out for coffee once a week, and no other time works well for you, that's fine. Social media alone is not enough to communicate with people you care about, and it does not matter that you comment on their status every day.

3. Remember that eye contact is irreplaceable. When you make an eye contact with someone, you can see if they are telling you the truth and whether or not they will go along with your proposal. Professional advertisers and telemarketers frequently claim that a pleasant voice can close a sale. Since your charming personality is more persuasive than perfectly written message, you should take advantage of it as often as you can.

4. Don't forget that there are folks who do not visit their Facebook page for months. They are not online every day, like you are. Considering that, make sure that they get your messages. If you have their contact information, call them up to make sure that your proposal got to them. Check profile pages for phone numbers if you have no idea how to connect to them.

5. Avoid putting naughty pictures and making juicy confessions. Employers do check Facebook pages of those who they plan to hire, and you shouldn't lose the opportunity of a lifetime because of a silly comment or an inappropriate photo.


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