Facebook Friends Versus Facetime Friends

by Sandy Haviland, Founder and CEO, Confidant on October 13, 2010 · 4 comments

In previous posts I noted that technology-driven social networks can be a great source of leads, and that technological connections need to be supplemented by in-person contact.

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Recently something caught my eye that seems like an online-offline cognitive disconnect worth some consideration.  Increasingly people seem to have a growing online social network — in the personal realm it may be your facebook account; at work it takes other forms.  For many, that network seems to become an end in itself, a way to make time spent online become more social.  But here is what hit me:  if I put my appointment book next to my list of online friends or contacts, what becomes apparent is that the people most connected to me in the “virtual world” are not necessarily the same people with whom I connect the most, or the deepest, in the “real world.”  That’s not meant as a slight against those who are well connected to me online; it is just an indicator that there are important differences between my friends with whom I connect deeply over a meal, and friends with whom I connect frequently via internet.

There are personal and work implications to this.  In personal life, do we want alignment between our online and offline friends, or do we prefer connecting with some people by computer, and others in person?  Either is okay; but they are not substitutes for each other.  In business, the online networks that create leads, open doors, maintain dialogs and can help grow business, might be more powerful in the end if they align with the close personal bonds that are built and maintained offline.  Moreover, if you want to understand who is closest and most important to your clients, what you really need to know is who they connect with offline.  Next time you look at someone’s list of facebook friends, it is worth wondering who their list of appointment book friends are.

How do you build relationships online and in person?

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