A world free of conference chit-chat

Findings in a recent Pew Research Centre survey show that “people who use sites like Facebook actually have more close relationships and are more likely to be involved in civic and political activities”.

According to the study of 2,255 adults, Facebook users who access the site many times a day are 43% more likely than other Internet users to trust others in personal matters. (Information courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times)

This information is somewhat encouraging, considering the malevolent role that social networking usually plays in the media. From harming children’s brains, causing cancer, or increasing promiscuity amongst groups of friends (for more examples of weird and often incredulous stories on how social networking is ruining the lives of thousands, simply type “social networking Daily Mail” into Google), social media really hasn’t been given the best PR since MySpace launched in 2003.

Aside from killing or maiming us in some way, social networking has also been viewed as a somewhat solitary endeavour, perhaps with an emphasis on dark lonely nights sat in front of laptops, an M&S meal for one on the coffee table.

Considering the vast number of people committing their personal details to sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and LinkedIn, surely not all users of social networks are predominantly lonely and devoid of social skills?

Sources cited and Mashable.com

Of course not. The way we see it, social networking is a direct extension of your real-life relationships. Meeting new people and networking is at the heart of growing a business and learning about what’s out there – why should meeting interesting people online hold any bearing on how you are perceived as a person?

After all, networking sites, especially the likes of LinkedIn, were created with the notion that networking should be easier and cheaper. It’s 2011 – should we still be relying solely on specialised events to cater for our every mingling need?

Social media gives you the opportunity to meet people you’re interested in meeting, reach customers and clients who want you to notice them, and enables contacts to be kept closer as a matter of course.

If you can step over the unsubstantiated health risk claims, social networking can be very good for you. Of course nothing can ever take the place of meeting face-to-face; now you have the opportunity to meet prior to this and cut the conference small talk. And how great would the world be without small talk?