I distinctly remember one of my high school friends pulling up at our local hangout, beside himself with excitement, as I heard the dulcet tones of Roger Waters on The Wall coming from his tape player.
I was caught up in The Wall the very first time I listened to the whole thing. It was a masterpiece. One of the short segue songs on the album is called, “Is There Anybody Out There?” It’s a haunting song, really, where the main character feels isolated and is wondering where everybody is.
This is how I see the social media landscape today.
When I first joined the social media melee, I was behind. I did not see the value of social media because, like many people today, I wasn’t interested in the fluff and drivel of other people’s daily lives I was seeing on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. My eyes were opened wide when my brother and my sister-in-law showed me the true business value in social media. I began to connect with HR, leadership and business folks who were putting out amazing information that I, honestly, didn’t even know existed.
I was hooked on social media just as I was when I had the first full listen to The Wall. I couldn’t get enough! I was reading blogs, listening to blog radio, and connecting with phenomenal people online. It was fantastic. Then, many of the people whom I was following and learning from went silent. The same people who urged HR to get out of silos and into the mix of social media and were leading voices and thought leaders went off the grid. You could still find them, but they retreated to their blogs and some of them have stopped communicating all together.
I started hearing that haunting song again and began wondering, “is there anybody out there?”
I facilitated a roundtable discussion on the topic of networking. One of the reasons the group gave on why people aren’t effective networkers was that “meeting people takes too much time.” I was stunned. Really? Getting to know others takes too much energy and time so you’d rather not? Yuck.
I wonder if all those great people I was following are thinking, “What’s next? Is this all there is?” Let me say that I don’t think that this is all there is. This is just the beginning and we’re honestly just starting to get connected. We truly want to get to know each other but we can’t just do the electronic thing. So, let’s do something different. I am being very intentional and am doing something radical. I’ve started to contact the folks I’d truly like to be connected to. I try to have a “surprise call Tuesday” or something goofy to connect with these people on the phone or in person.
I choose to take the time and energy to know you, every one of you, because it matters. It always has.
Are you connecting with others or just waiting for them to disappear? Get out from behind your blogs or get out of your office. Invite a colleague to lunch, join a networking group or call a peer you haven’t spoken with in a while. Reach out to someone new to just say, “Hi.”
Get to know each other. Break down the walls. Connect. It’s fantastic. Isolation or connection? It’s your time to choose.