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Most people I know continually develop friendships/acquaintances, like to be current on topics of the day, are well read, and consider themselves savvy users of social media sites. I suppose I consider myself a member of this ‘group.” And as someone experienced with technology platforms, programming, and software development and marketing, I think I understand the impact social media has on our lives. I also understand and measure the time I spend on social media for pleasure, business or just browsing for interesting content.

I recognize a growing issue that I see affecting my business, people relationships and just the basic human interactions that define us as productive and contributing to the society in which we live. You’re likely reading this on a social media site, a Blog post, a retweet, or link from a friend. And you’re just as likely to be in the company of friends or co-workers where you are interacting with your smartphone or iPad while quietly ignoring the social interactions to those in your immediate presence. You are otherwise engaged. What’s interesting is that this behavior has become the norm. It’s acceptable.

Though some might take issue with me for all the right reasons, we have become consumers of instant data. Drawn to this as a moth to flame, as if we cannot possibly miss out on some bit of information in the moment. Our Zen of living for the moment is replaced with reacting to data. And we pay for this privilege.

So my point is what is this behavior or use of social media doing to our ability to have meaningful conversations where we share of ourselves. Where we build trust and feel the warmth and affinity of a solid human connection. My real estate business is based on establishing trust and creating a comfortable environment for people to share their plans. Notwithstanding the stereotypes associated with Realtors, social media can be a way for people to keep an arms length – to fain a closeness but not have to deal with being close. Poor communication skills are kept poor even though the volume of these connections may be increasing.

I get it. There is a valid argument that speed in communication and keeping in touch is much better than the annual holiday card. And sharing across a social media platform saves you time and effort. The idea is we are more than this as individuals and we must not let technology overrun our humanity. Recognize social media for how it can best serve our needs, but stay connected in the real sense as well.

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