How to add warmth to cold online relationships

In an article titled The False Face of Our Social Media Persona published on Psychology Today, Michael J Formica states,

“Social relationships, by their very nature, are transactional. They are richly imbued with nuance, color and tone. Relationships engaged in the various theaters of social media – even when those relationships exist in a coincident social milieu – lack these characteristics. This is due in part because social media introduces two parallel and paradoxical elements – false intimacy and social distance. These elements contribute to the fostering of relationships that, in their lack of authenticity, can sometimes be at best awkward — and at other times at worst tragic — in their consequences”.

Are we using the right ingredients in our online interaction?

Right Ingredients

With this in mid, how should you go about “connecting and interacting” on platforms such as LinkedIn? There are numerous articles which provide advice on how to connect with others online. Marketers, business owners, independent consultants, business development professionals are told that the important ingredients in connecting is showing an interest in the other person, sharing their content, providing responses to articles they publish, providing recommendations, endorsing their skills and introducing them to others in your network.

Are we REALLY connecting in the true sense online?

After following all the advice listed above I still ask the question. Are you REALLY “connecting” in the true sense? I have been participating online for many years across a number of platforms. I have come across thousands of articles all providing the same advice and I have interacted with many people all following the same advice. So what is the missing piece of the “creating authentic connections” puzzle? What is the one thing that most people fail to do to truly connect?

Online engagement is cold and lifeless

Online engagement is described by many as a cold, lifeless and sterile environment. I can understand why they feel this way. When interacting online, you generally only use your sense of sight to “connect” with the other person. Sure, you can throw in some images and a video of yourself but none of this beats good old one-to-one interaction where you are sitting with someone, talking – and engaging all your other senses. When you meet a person you can see them. You can hear them. You feel the person when you shake hands. If they are wearing perfume or cologne you can smell them. This goes even further because you can pick up inflection in their speech and body language, all of which is important when really connecting with another person.

Engage offline as soon as you can

So coming back to online engagement. In your day-to-day interaction, start noting how many people invite you to Skype them or ask to meet face-to-face. You generally do not find many of them. These are the true networkers. Individuals who know and understand the importance of developing real connections. So if you interact with communities on platforms such Google+, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or email and the type of service you sell requires selling yourself or your people, attempt to get some form of face-to-face interaction as early in the connecting process as possible. A Skype call using video will differentiate you from your competitors. We are social animals and thrive on human engagement. Online interaction only helps you to get noticed.

Offline engagement helps you to truly connect!

Do you have anything you add? I would love to hear from you.



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