It has become difficult to remember back to when you didn’t know everything about everyone in your life at any given moment.
You know those times where you would meet up with a friend for coffee or perhaps some distant relatives just to see what was going on?
Fast forward to today.
The whole world is on Facebook so we keep up with each others personal lives that way. We of course are LinkedIn to one another so we know what the professional skinny is, and beyond those platforms we are tweeting, pinning, Klouting, and stumbling all over one another.
When we do want to engage we have platforms for that. The Social Platforms above have created a nice mean for the quick interaction either via a posting or using an embedded messaging tool. If we want to take it one step further platforms like Skype, Google and Facebook will allow us to jump on a video chat.
In the enterprise you have businesses utilizing technologies such as Cisco Unified Communications and Microsoft Office Communicator to do full collaboration bringing the workforce closer together regardless of distance. Virtually one button from phone to video to email to text.
Life has become ubiquitous, collaboration has become truly immersive. What once could only be imagined is now done with greater ease than picking up the phone and making a call.
In reality it has reached a point where we don’t really need to ask one another how we are doing, we just need to hit the interwebs because all of the information can be found right there. To some extent social media and collaboration tools have facilitated the drive by “How You Doing?”
If you don’t know what this is, it is what I refer to when someone in the hall passed you by, makes eye contact, and asks you how you’re doing. While they did ask you the question, far more often than not they actually have no interest in hearing the answer.
So what does this all mean?
It is official…DISTANCE IS DEAD (So is most of your privacy by the way – an issue for a later time)
Recently I was lecturing to one of my International Marketing Classes (I’m also an Adjunct Professor) about how we communicate in the workplace. I asked the class what their preferred method of communication was.
Nearly the entire groups preferred method was text message followed closely by social media. They told me they respond to voice mail with email and email with text messages. Moreover they are seeking the platform that brings the most immediacy with the least interpersonal interaction.
To provide more clarity, this group is comprised of Senior undergrads whom are about to graduate this spring. Many of whom are already in the professional workforce or are just about to enter it.
While most of us have accepted the various social platforms both in our personal and professional lives, many of us still view it as a silo that is separate from our more intimate communications.
While we may not regularly break bread with the majority of our friends on Twitter, we certainly engage them in the moment via the content we share soon after.
It has almost reached the point in which we know more about virtual strangers than we could ever hoped for. (Or ever wanted to?)
This knowledge is powerful and it serves as a gateway to better interpersonal relationships, better business, and better communications. However this knowledge does have a price. If we aren’t careful it will allow us to become so busy being social that we no longer truly communicate. Interpersonal becomes replaced by “Internet Personal.” Moreover a scanning of peoples updates, profiles, blogs, and information that keeps us up to date without ever really speaking.
However with technology and innovation always comes risk and those that will be most successful will leverage the “Death of Distance.” It will be used to stay informed AND stay in touch. With friends, customers, colleagues, acquaintances, and of course family around the world.
The “Death of Distance” is an opportunity for all to better collaborate, communicate, and innovate our way through whatever opportunities and challenges that life brings next. To unlock its full potential it must be used this way rather than as a replacement for more intimate interaction.
In time it will only get better, faster, and higher definition; bringing us closer than ever before.
Wondering…Can I look forward to seeing and hearing from you soon…or will you just be following from afar?
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