Face Time

I might be a little over the top when it comes to encouraging the use of social media as a meetings professional.  I love Twitter and LinkedIn for my professional side, and Facebook for my more personal side of life.  I even went so far as to sign up for all kinds of social networking and online communities, many that I don’t use regularly, just so I could ensure no one else gets my username.  (You can check yours too NameChk)

I spend lots of time touting the benefits of social media to my MPI Chapter (Northeastern NY), they all smile at me.  I have to wonder, are they smiling (and maybe laughing a little) because they wish they had more time for social media? Knew more about it? Understood the benefits? Or is it, smile and nod until she stops talking? Perhaps it’s a little of everything.  I think most people WANT to get involved with some type of social media application, but then once they do, not everyone really finds it useful (not to mention the time involved). And that’s OKAY.  I’m not here to tell members they absolutely have to join Twitter or LinkedIn (or any other social community)…but they might want to consider it.  And by joining, that doesn’t mean face to face meetings will go by the way side, or that face to face connections will disappear.  Isn’t that what a Tweet-Up is for?  (they are rolling their eyes at me, I know it)

Check out Liz Utter’s blog Social Intimacy & Social Media: Why Face Time Is Still Key

My favorite lesson from her blog…

Social media is a tool, but does not take the place of face time. Creating events where followers meet and interact is a crucial building block in nurturing and solidifying the status of your relationship with followers. It provides more than just an opportunity to put a face with a name; it is a way for the community to verify that you are who you say you are.

The power of the human touch and engaging people face to face is what makes meeting professionals so strong.  We might love technology to help make our lives easier, but we love to spend quality time with each other as well.  Learning from one another, listening to stories, connecting in real time.

Your sincerity and enthusiasm should carry over into the online community as well.  There’s just no way to hide anymore.  Most of us can spot a fake from a mile away.  Be real in person, be real online.  Otherwise, the online community will pretty much shun you.  And that’s pretty harsh.

I’ll leave you now with points from the Convention Industry Council’s grassroots effort, “Face Time, It Matters”.

FACE TIME. It Matters.” is a grassroots industry campaign theme designed to promote the benefits of meeting face-to-face. The campaign was developed in response to one of the most challenging years ever faced by the meeting, convention and exhibition industries. It was based on the findings of a recent national survey of corporate and association meeting planners, plus in-depth personal interviews with the industry’s leading executives as well as focus groups consisting of corporate and association executives, business travelers and professional meeting planners. According to the research:

  • Face-to-face meetings build trust and relationships;
  • Education and training are more effective in a live setting;
  • Live meetings actually save time and money;
  • Live meetings result in a more effective exchange of ideas;
  • Face-to-face meetings provide the human connection that powers business;
  • Face-to-face meetings create jobs and powers the economy.

After wrapping up this entry, I was reading the MPI PlusPoint blog, and found it interesting to note…

Social Media Helps Well Being…
New survey findings [from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project] show that use of social networking sites is growing and that those who use these sites, especially Facebook users, have higher measures of social well-being.

This survey also showed that more people are using social networking sites–the figure is now 47 percent of the entire adult population, compared with 26 percent that was measured in our similar 2008 survey. Among other things, this means the average age of adult social networking site users has shifted from 33 in 2008 to 38 in 2010. Over half of all adult social networking site users are now over the age of 35.

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