Social Media Strategy, Personal Branding, Social Media Marketing

Closing the Gap with Social Media

social media gap 300x197 Closing the Gap with Social MediaI moved to a smallish town (60,000) from a big city (3 million) nearly 5 years ago. I used to work in an office with 50 people. Now, when I’m not traveling to conferences or to see clients, I work from home. Usually half-dressed. Staring out at a forest.

Other than our cat that I dislike with the intensity of a start-up punk band, I can go 2-3 days without seeing a single person that is not my spouse or children. By all historically utilized measures, I live a life of isolation.

But yet, I’m more connected, am doing more business, and have more relationships than at any prior time in my life. I interacted with 43 different people on Twitter today. 14 on Facebook. 11 on Linkedin. Probably 50 or so on email. Just 2 on the phone. 1 in-person (got my hair cut).

Among the dozen amazing answers from Amber Naslund during our live Twitter interview last week was this gem:

My friends are no longer dictated by geography and circumstance. I meet amazing people daily that truly impact my life.

Technology Made This Problem. Let Technology Solve It

And isn’t that why social media is so powerful? It closes the gaps that have kept us apart. From family. From people of like mind and common interests. From brands we support. From politicians, and athletes, and celebrities, and media and others just like us that we put on our collective pillar. But social media knocks that pillar out like a bicycle kick stand. Social media is the great equalizer. The bridge across the chasm.

Without question, the best part about conferences in this strange, micro-blogging moment in time is meeting people in-person that you “know” from social media. Because after all, nothing replaces direct human contact, and no amount of free digital beers on Facebook can serve as an appropriate stand-in for a pint of the real thing (Stone IPA or Racer 5 or Dogfish Head 60 for me, please). But, what’s so amazing is that if not for social media, you probably wouldn’t have interacted with those folks at all, and you certainly wouldn’t have looked forward to it and considered it a conference highlight.

Everything about the modern world conspires to pull us apart: The need to be more and more productive at work. Seemingly endless kid activities. Global competition. Expensive and hassle-filled travel. Technology tethers.

But social media swims against that tide like a salmon with a laptop and an iphone. Is it easy? Hell no. Keeping up with all of these new digitally-enabled relationships takes real time. But, if we’re not going to church and Rotary Club, and the PTA and picnics and all the stuff we used to do as a society, I’m going to use that time to find and “meet” a ton of incredibly interesting people that I never, ever would have found otherwise.

Is it worth it to you?

(photo by Anirudh Koul)

Related
  • http://www.simplycast.com/ Michael

    Liked the post. It is all about balance and finding what works for you. I try not to do social online stuff on weekends but at the same time I have met some great people online and continue to network. These networks have led to improved business and learning a lot.

    I can’t even remember how we used to do it.

  • http://www.simplycast.com Michael

    Liked the post. It is all about balance and finding what works for you. I try not to do social online stuff on weekends but at the same time I have met some great people online and continue to network. These networks have led to improved business and learning a lot.

    I can’t even remember how we used to do it.

  • http://ecorptv.com/ AliSwi

    I think that technology have given people something to hide behind. It’s much easier to relay bad news through an email or send a message on facebook when you don’t feel like picking up the phone. People think that they are so busy that they don’t have time for physical human interaction. We have to make a conscious effort to put in some face time. After all, isn’t that really how we make an impression on people?

  • http://ecorptv.com/ AliSwi

    I think that technology have given people something to hide behind. It’s much easier to relay bad news through an email or send a message on facebook when you don’t feel like picking up the phone. People think that they are so busy that they don’t have time for physical human interaction. We have to make a conscious effort to put in some face time. After all, isn’t that really how we make an impression on people?

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  • http://thelostjacket.com/ Stuart Foster

    Absolutely. I’ve found amazing opportunities, friends and really awesome people through SM. I don’t think I could have done this without closing the gap in terms of communication. I couldn’t have done all of this with a phone…it would have taken me 5 years.

    Stuart Foster’s last blog post..I’m Kind of a Big Deal. People Know Me.

  • http://thelostjacket.com Stuart Foster

    Absolutely. I’ve found amazing opportunities, friends and really awesome people through SM. I don’t think I could have done this without closing the gap in terms of communication. I couldn’t have done all of this with a phone…it would have taken me 5 years.

    Stuart Foster’s last blog post..I’m Kind of a Big Deal. People Know Me.

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  • http://www.emergingwebmemo.com/ Ethan Yarbrough

    Nice work on this post, Jason. I really relate to many of the points you made — your dislike for the cat and love of beer chief among them. To the point from Amber Naslund about our friendships no longer being limited by geography, I think that’s a profound element of our times the impact of which we have not yet realized. I heard of a study in which peoples’ movements were mapped based on cell phone usage and it showed that the average person moves in a 20 mile radius from their home (or roughly that). Think of how limiting that is to our view of the world, the discovery of ideas, the creation of new knowledge — it’s living inside the walled garden. Thanks to social media the circle of our movement and the possibilities for discovery are truly infinite.

    Keep up the good work!

    Ethan Yarbrough’s last blog post..The 5 Big Ideas of Enterprise 2.0: Number 4 — Enterprise 2.0 = Retention = Success

  • http://www.emergingwebmemo.com/ Ethan Yarbrough

    Nice work on this post, Jason. I really relate to many of the points you made — your dislike for the cat and love of beer chief among them. To the point from Amber Naslund about our friendships no longer being limited by geography, I think that’s a profound element of our times the impact of which we have not yet realized. I heard of a study in which peoples’ movements were mapped based on cell phone usage and it showed that the average person moves in a 20 mile radius from their home (or roughly that). Think of how limiting that is to our view of the world, the discovery of ideas, the creation of new knowledge — it’s living inside the walled garden. Thanks to social media the circle of our movement and the possibilities for discovery are truly infinite.

    Keep up the good work!

    Ethan Yarbrough’s last blog post..The 5 Big Ideas of Enterprise 2.0: Number 4 — Enterprise 2.0 = Retention = Success

  • http://www.emergingwebmemo.com Ethan Yarbrough

    Nice work on this post, Jason. I really relate to many of the points you made — your dislike for the cat and love of beer chief among them. To the point from Amber Naslund about our friendships no longer being limited by geography, I think that’s a profound element of our times the impact of which we have not yet realized. I heard of a study in which peoples’ movements were mapped based on cell phone usage and it showed that the average person moves in a 20 mile radius from their home (or roughly that). Think of how limiting that is to our view of the world, the discovery of ideas, the creation of new knowledge — it’s living inside the walled garden. Thanks to social media the circle of our movement and the possibilities for discovery are truly infinite.

    Keep up the good work!

    Ethan Yarbrough’s last blog post..The 5 Big Ideas of Enterprise 2.0: Number 4 — Enterprise 2.0 = Retention = Success

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  • http://www.marsdenassociates.com/ Anne Marsden

    Agreed but with a corollary point. SM provides an exponentially greater number of meaningless connections as the Church Social or the water cooler. SM challenges each of us to channel and direct our interactions and contributions to develop useful and real relationships. And the old adage – don’t talk to strangers – may not translate literally on-line but it certainly still carries a useful warning…

  • http://www.marsdenassociates.com Anne Marsden

    Agreed but with a corollary point. SM provides an exponentially greater number of meaningless connections as the Church Social or the water cooler. SM challenges each of us to channel and direct our interactions and contributions to develop useful and real relationships. And the old adage – don’t talk to strangers – may not translate literally on-line but it certainly still carries a useful warning…

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  • http://www.quixys-france.com/ Beer Bergman

    You call a 60,000 people town smallish? :-)
    I moved to this place of 500 people (350 people 17 years ago) and YES, I do totally agree with you! Without the Internet and the Web 2.0 benefits, I would have moved out and back again to a bigger place a long time ago.

    ‘Living apart together’ offers also the possibility to reflect quietly on life, society and politics, without being influenced all day long by signs, groups, sounds, that are calling for your attention.

    I find that the relationships that we build from this hidden place in France are quite fulfilling. And our clients? From all over the world!

    twitter.com/BeerBergman and twitter.com/quixys

  • http://www.quixys-france.com/ Beer Bergman

    You call a 60,000 people town smallish? :-)
    I moved to this place of 500 people (350 people 17 years ago) and YES, I do totally agree with you! Without the Internet and the Web 2.0 benefits, I would have moved out and back again to a bigger place a long time ago.

    ‘Living apart together’ offers also the possibility to reflect quietly on life, society and politics, without being influenced all day long by signs, groups, sounds, that are calling for your attention.

    I find that the relationships that we build from this hidden place in France are quite fulfilling. And our clients? From all over the world!

    twitter.com/BeerBergman and twitter.com/quixys

  • http://www.quixys-france.com Beer Bergman

    You call a 60,000 people town smallish? :-)
    I moved to this place of 500 people (350 people 17 years ago) and YES, I do totally agree with you! Without the Internet and the Web 2.0 benefits, I would have moved out and back again to a bigger place a long time ago.

    ‘Living apart together’ offers also the possibility to reflect quietly on life, society and politics, without being influenced all day long by signs, groups, sounds, that are calling for your attention.

    I find that the relationships that we build from this hidden place in France are quite fulfilling. And our clients? From all over the world!

    twitter.com/BeerBergman and twitter.com/quixys

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  • http://twitter.com/davechalmers1/status/1960611837 Dave Chalmers

    RT @SocialMedia411 Closing the Gap with Social Media (@jaybaer): http://bit.ly/5AJCE

  • http://twitter.com/alexgrech/status/1981723383 Alex Grech

    Can relate to this – Closing the Gap with Social Media http://ow.ly/adF3

  • http://twitter.com/jeffreyromano/status/1983751953 JeffreyRomano

    RT @alexgrech Can relate to this – Closing the Gap with Social Media http://ow.ly/adF3

  • http://twitter.com/andismit/status/1984007911 Andrew Smith

    Closing the Gap with Social Media: I moved to a smallish town (60,000) from a big city (3 million) nearly 5 year.. http://bit.ly/YtvTD

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  • http://twitter.com/olammi/status/2001684844 Outi

    A great article on working from home and connecting through social media: http://tinyurl.com/qv7b9x

  • http://twitter.com/ajbruce/status/2001711500 ajbruce

    RT @olammi: A great article on working from home and connecting through social media: http://tinyurl.com/qv7b9x

  • http://twitter.com/kwashnak/status/2003088714 J.J. Kwashnak

    RT @tweetmeme Great article proving size does not matter. Closing the Gap with Social Media | Social Media Marketing | http://bit.ly/H8lvJ

  • http://twitter.com/mmidas/status/2004666596 Mario Midas

    "Closing the Gap with Social Media" http://bit.ly/Z0Isg By @jaybaer Big city->small town does not kill your biz #socialmedia

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  • http://twitter.com/chrisaahrens/status/2090690684 chris ahrens

    Closing the gap with Social Media http://bit.ly/ALkMJ

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    Closing the gap with Social Media http://bit.ly/ALkMJ (via @chrisaahrens)

  • http://twitter.com/jamidix Jami Dix

    I love when people I follow retweet an old post. It’s new to me. I read this and thought, as I usually do, awesome. He hit it right on the head…and then I see May 28, 2009. LOL. Nice job, even if I’m little late on the uptake:)

  • http://twitter.com/jmitchem Jim Mitchem

    Just as in 2008 when I arrived here, I’m still amazed that we’re able to virtually connect with people anywhere who can help us become better, more compassionate human beings. And yes, that we can advance our careers and desires, but those are secondary to me in terms of the true impact of global interrelatedness. Though I’m quite curious about how families are affected by this medium. It does take up a huge chunk of time – and it’s got to come from somewhere.

  • http://detroit.fwix.com Jamie Favreau

    Well with out social media I would have never connected with some movers and shakers in the communications industry. So I am grateful and through Twitter and Linked In I am able to connect with the people who are making the decisions instead of just sending out a resume blindly and hoping it gets read.

    Through this technology I am able to have a podcast (http://redwingsguy.com) where Red Wings fans from different parts of the country can come together for a common cause and share our passion and critique the team if we please. Which is fantastic. In no other time is the technology so great.

    It is all about how you maintain the relationships. Sure you might have thousands of followers but the people you most interact with are the ones who are going to be by your side. I have been connecting with Red Wings fans since about 2002-03 Red Wings hockey season when Red Wings World was around. I have those friends today.

    Like everything it should be done in moderation and if it is your career there should be balance.

  • http://www.tommartin.typepad.com Tom Martin

    Jay
    You nail it. Social Media (and digital in general I think) erases distance and eradicates the need to “be in the big city” in order to meet/compete, etc. I actually find it kind of interesting that sans a few folks, most of your “big names” in social media don’t hail from NYC, ORD, or LAX… places that have historically been epicenters for creative or marketing leaders. Heck, some of the smartest voices in social media are found in towns so small they don’t even have DSL — just a guy leading the charge from a dial up connection.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Yeah. We should make an infographic that plots social leadership on a map. Hmmm.

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