This was in response to an blog entitled: How building your online social network may affect your offline social life, which was based on an article study about Cyberoptimism and Cyberpessimism.
My thoughts on the topic of wether I am a Cyber Optimist or Cyber Pessimist:
As with anything else in “business” or “life”, it all comes down to strategy. Offline or online, building relationships one “friend” at a time or one “business card” at a time is really much the same thing. It all depends on what you are going to do with the relationships you maintain. It matters not if you are a Cyberoptimist, or cyberpessimist, either way, you are social or you are not, being social is knowing how to take the next step beyond small talk and introduction (aka. friending).
Ask anyone, having too many friends offline is time consuming, they demand your time, your attention and your loyalty. The difference is that online friends demand less of this attention and you can have more of them. The quality is not there, but because we are finite beings with finite time and requiring immense amounts of it for real business, those that aren’t part of your “life” or “business” strategy will always come last, offline or online.
Family, long held friends, and business associates with interests similar to yours that may benefit your own productivity, are those who you will communicate with, befriend, and invest time into. There simply is not enough time for anything else.
I have met friends on Twitter and LinkedIn who I have had the time and pleasure to meet, because our ideas are similar, and our businesses are similar and may benefit from one another. In the end, it’s all about the bottom line? How much time do you invest with your family because it is the right thing to do and your bond as kin demands you invest time in the circle closest to you? We may or may not like our family, but that is our “Base”, our Inner circle. Your online friends list and offlien rollodex( Now Cell Phone Contact List ) are your outer circle, of which you pick and choose who takes priority and may even be included in your inner circle at a later time.
You can make lifelong friends online as well as offline. I still have a friend I met in 1999, playing a video game. We still talk from time to time, but he is in another state. So we spend a few hours a month, or a few hours a year, just catching up. This is where online friends differ from offline; Offline friends are usually closer, but when they move away they take up as much time in your day as online friends do. You call them every s o often, or through technology and social networking, you share what your doing with them using a status update!
It is hard to quantify which mode of networking is better because it is simply a tool to initiate a strategem of which most people have not prepared. This is where my previous argument, posted on LinkedIn in response to this article comes into play. I now call it, The Cyberelitist .
In my opinion, the success of online social networking is almost completely parallel to the users computer skill / knowledge. Those who have moderate to great expertise when manipulating computers, technology, and who know how to browse the web and what it actually is (not just the E picture on my “Computer”) have a great advantage and can also connect to those who have the same or similar skills with technology and computers.
Otherwise, with the massive influx of information, status updates, spam, auto blogs and advertisements, there is really slim chance that you are going to make meaningful relationships and know who to start to talk to.
Essentially, you have to be Involved and enjoy not only computers but social media as well in order for it to be a success. I have made many great relationships online through Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. And almost all of them have been from Social Media, SEO, and Technology Enthusiasts who lived through their technology and run businesses with or around technology.
Social Networking goes beyond being a “Tool” or a “Cool App to share with friends”, it becomes part of your life. And I am not talking about those sitting on Facebook all day telling the world what temperature your coffee was served at. Those people are part of what keeps the tech novice from finding any real meaningful information through Social Networking.
So, cyberoptimist, or cyberpessimist? Maybe Cyberelitist for me