With the proliferation of social media, some people think that they can build a network with heavy reliance on it alone. Nothing could be further from the truth. Though social media can be quite useful in expanding your virtual network exponentially, there will never be a substitute for face-to-face contact. Social media is valuable in sharing ideas, updates, information, and other things. However, if you really want to make a deep, memorable impression with others, you must meet them in person and have a real conversation. Face-to-face, or even telephonic communication, allows for personal expression, tone of voice, body language, and a whole range of other emotions to be expressed. Social media, other than visual mediums like You Tube, do not allow such aspects of expression.
When you meet people in person, you are able to engage in verbal and nonverbal communication that make human beings unique. From the first eye contact, to the hand shake or hug, through the entire meeting, your flesh and blood presence imbues meaning that is so often lacking in social media communication. We have all experienced e-mail communications that led to misunderstandings among people. For example, there is someone at my work who persists in writing in all capital letters, not realizing that others perceive him to be SHOUTING. Most of us have hit Send, only to reconsider our words. There is obviously a time and place for the use of the various platforms of social media, especially when expanding our networks beyond our geographical borders. But if you really want to make a deep impression on others, I suggest you show up and meet in person. This is especially true if you are likable and/or pleasant looking. Continue to use social media (as I am doing here), but don’t shy away from the old fashioned cup of coffee or “breaking bread.” The truly successful networkers use a combination of social media and face-to-face contact. You should do the same.