Building Relationships Through Social Media
I’m excited that Summer Leadership conventions are approaching and I hope to see you all there! I invited a great friend of mine to guest blog and he wrote an awesome post that I would like to share with you. Phil Wall is happily married to his wife Catherine and is a proud father to his 2 year-old daughter, Manaia. Phil is originally a Kiwi but has recently become a full-blown Beaver; he hasn’t warmed up to the game of Hockey yet but that’s about the only thing I don’t like about him!
by Phil Wall
I was reading a few articles this week about social media and the thin relationships that often develop in the social media arena.
Social media has touched us all in some capacity, and in many cases has lead to something called “relationship inflation”, where people develop many more click-click relationships but are they really worth anything of value? So what is the true value of a social media relationship (one that was not born from a real, face-to-face relationship)?
It’s funny to me when I hear a conversation between two FB junkies – “I have 300 friends on Facebook … Really? Why so few? I have 678.” and on and on. How can someone possibly have 678 real friends? It’s not possible if you think about what makes a real friend.
Orrin Woodward, in his book Resolved – 13 Resolutions for LIFE, includes a chapter about friendship (chapter 7). He lists the 8 principles of true friendship:
- True friends form around a shared insight, interest, or taste enjoying the common bond uniting them.
- True friends accept one another, loving each other despite their human imperfections.
- True friends approve of one another, protecting each other’s weaknesses while enhancing each other’s strengths.
- True friends appreciate one another, encouraging, serving, and believing in one another’s gifts and talents.
- True friends listen with empathy, learning the hopes, dreams, fears, and struggles of each other.
- True friends celebrate one another’s success, proud of each other’s accomplishments without a hint of envy.
- True friends are trustworthy, maintaining all confidences shared with unimpeachable honor and self-respect, knowing that gossip separates the best of friends.
- True friends are loyal, respecting and defending one another’s character, reputation and motives, as far as truth allows, while addressing any issues or concerns between them promptly and privately, ensuring misunderstandings never fester.
I admit I have accounts with FB, LinkedIn, and Twitter. But I don’t have them to build relationships – building relationships takes more than social media. It takes work. My friend, Claude Hamilton, a co-founder of the LIFE business once said to me, “Phil, all the skills and one-liners you used to get Catherine to date you is not what got Catherine to accept your marriage proposal (so true – it was my devilish good looks, charm and the rubber boots I wore!). And what it takes to get married is certainly not what it takes to stay married.” It’s a totally different game. Just like getting to be the champion is different than staying the champ.
Facebook and social media “relationships” are weak and have little value – having 978 friends on social media is unlikely to yield meaningful long-lasting relationships. Think about the relationship you have with your spouse and the time spent with him/her to develop a long-lasting relationship based on trust. Conversely, you can create “relationships” with people around the world via social media in the matter of a few clicks. These are low-quality connections that develop into nothing more than thin, surface-level relationships.
True relationships are a two-way street. I invest in you – you invest in me. For example, if I didn’t invest in my wife or daughter, eventually we would have a thin relationship of little value. Same as social media – there’s no investment, so there’s no value.
People invest copious amounts of time playing Farmville or other social media entertainment with “their communities”. This is what is called an investment in low quality content. Like a low-end vehicle fixed with low-end parts, communities built solely through social media won’t last long, have value or go very far.
I believe through creating stronger, more meaningful relationships we will be better. This can only be done by reprogramming how we think. Getting the right information from people who have personally developed trusting long-lasting relationships – and helped others do the same – is key.
Some my good friends have become champions – and remain champions – at building REAL relationships with REAL people in their REAL communities. Check out their blogs! Orrin Woodward, Claude Hamilton, Alex Nickerson, , Joce Dionne, , Mike Rocheleau