One of the best parts of these digital channels is the many amazing opportunities that are suddenly present for you to connect to people in the real world.
Whether it's at an unconference like PodCamp or meeting your consumers at the retail level, there is nothing more real and powerful as "pressing the flesh," as they say. With that comes many challenges. With dashboards like TweetDeck and the ability to respond back to people with just a 140 characters, managing your time and connections to thousands of people can be pretty easy, but still time consuming. Meeting face-to-face is a much bigger effort and takes all of these digital relationships to another level.
"Would you like to sit next to you at dinner?"
That was the tag-line for one of the many famous ads that The Economist runs to promote their publication. The message is simple and pithy: by reading The Economist, you will become smarter and more well-informed. In turn, this will make you more interesting in social scenarios. No, this does not mean that you should run out and buy a subscription to The Economist (but it is a great magazine), the message of that ad resonates at a much different level in these very interesting online social circles that we all find ourselves in.
How great are you when people meet you in your protein form?
Blogging is not holding down a real world, face-to-face conversation, and being great at 140 characters on Twitter might not translate to sitting down and having a coffee with somebody. Many Marketers ask about how they can make these online social channels most effective for them from a marketing and communications perspective, the general strategic conversation always starts with, "how great is your product or service?" If the product, service and related brands don't "live" in the real world, no amount of Facebook Fan Pages is going to help. It got me thinking, many people I know who are building their personal brand in these online channels might not be as good as they are online in real world scenarios. Think about the last event you attended, how many new people did you meet? How easy was it for you to strike up a conversation with someone you did not know?
Being human helps.
People always feedback that they love these Social Media channels because they feel like they are connecting to real people. I often wonder just how real they are. Yes, they are more expressive than any other type of communication we have seen to date. Yes, these tools make personal ideas and insights very public, and yes, it helps to be a real human being. The point is to really take a look at all of the content you are creating and publishing online and reflect on whether or not your public persona matches it (or, hopefully, surpasses it).
When you connect in person, there will be some kind of expectation. You don't want to set the bar too high and you definitely don't want to set the bar too low. The bar has to be at the level with which you and your company are confident at. Ultimately, online and offline need to match up... and that's a very tall order.
Do you think most people online live up to their online personas in the real world, or are do you think most people just talk the talk versus walk the walk?