Are you tweeting? Have you friended someone lately? Are you LinkedIn?
Social Networking. For some it's a fun, interesting way to stay connected to friends, family, and clients. For others it's a nightmare.
Regardless of how you feel personally about social networking, I believe it's here to stay in the business world.
Social networking is a pretty green way to market your business. No need for direct mailings and no traveling door to door to meet sales clients. No need to copy hundreds of pages of information about yourself and your business when you want to show potential customers your products or services--just direct them to your Web site, blog, Facebook or LinkedIn page.
But does social media help or hurt relationships in the long run? A friend once told me that social networking is sort of "pre-networking". It makes going to those scary mixers a little less intimidating. My sister was telling me last night that social networking helps her to feel more connected to our extended family members. It gives us a way to catch up with each other when we get together for those relatively infrequent family gatherings. When you generally see people twice a year, it provides some connection to cousins and aunts and uncles, and a way to start a conversation.
But is there a point when a good ole' fashioned phone call or visit on the front steps is seen as too much work when you can easily IM someone or direct a tweet to them online? Where do we draw the line between social networking and hermitism? Isn't there something to be said for the connection between people that needs to be seen face-to-face, or at least heard telephone to telephone?
What do you think? Is social networking a great tool to stay connected, or a hindrance on personal and professional relationships?