Social networking or social distraction?

There is no denying the internet has changed the way we live and conduct business. In a past life I owned one of Australia’s largest web marketing companies, so as a communication tool I am well aware of the internets benefits, but I also know what’s not good about the web.

The winds of change have blown fiercely over the past decade. Today, social networking sites are all the rage. Facebook, now valued in the billions, is staking its claim (rightly or wrongly) as a social pillar, in doing so setting a new tone for the way we communicate and engage with one another.

Facebook has rapidly eroded market share from fledgling global social networking site, MySpace. And a plethora of offshoots have sprung-up around the world, including Twitter, and even a dating website to connect cheating partners.

Twitter is the latest social site to hit it big, and good luck to them. But I really question the long-term value of any of these sites, other than to distract us from what is real in the world and provide yet another channel for people to try and sell us something we don’t need or want.

Let’s be honest, how many friends and followers do you really have? One, two or three? Perhaps that’s even a stretch for most. Facebook should change its definition of Friends to “Prospects” and Twitter should change “Follow” to “Can I sell you something?” In these sites over the years I’ve received more emails from people trying to sell me stuff than anything else.

My experience with social networks is they may start off as a great idea with grand ideals, but over time, human beings (the most advantageous of all species) don’t take long to work out how to leverage it to our own advantage.

The internet has exceptional benefits; it’s quick and easy, saves us time and money, and gives us unprecedented access to information, which also provides transparency and accountability. But don’t get too caught up in it. And don’t use the internet as your only means of engaging people (that’s just lazy) and yet another channel to blatantly sell something.

In other words don’t get too distracted by it. And don’t let it distract you from what is truly important to you ? like developing real relationships with real people, including your family.

Do you want your kids to grow up thinking the best way to communicate is via a chat room or social portal? Well this is becoming the reality, so take heed now.

There is so much beauty in this world. I cringe to think of a world where more people are shacked up in their tiny box rooms ? engaging people over the internet ? rather than actually getting out there and truly experiencing life (jumping, running and playing) meeting, engaging and communicating with people like they are meant to.

I will leave that thought with you.

For more Selling Strategies advice, click here.

Trent Leyshan is the founder and CEO of BOOM Sales! a leading sales training and sales development specialist. He is also the creator of The NAKED Salesman, BOOMOLOGY! RetroService, and the Empathy Selling Process.

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