Intriguing Observations: Has social media handicapped our social?
The Intriguing Observations series was created to gather some of the greatest supporters and bloggers to provide their own insight on all things creative both in their ventures and their techniques. This week on the guest series is another all-star supporter, fellow AP author and an outstanding wordsmith Bri Clark.
First of all Phil thank you so much for having me on not to mention the reminders, frankly I need them. My life is busier than a piglet on a tit. This would probably be a good place to introduce myself and explain what I do...
In a nutshell I'm a literary strategist. I own and operate Belle Consulting. The definition of just what that is has not been determined by Wikipedia at this point as it keeps changing. I'm many things to different clients. Beta reader, Publicist, Social Media Manager, Speaking Coordinator, etc etc... In conjunction with my consulting business I'm a speaker, event board member, promoter, and author.
It was while fulfilling the role as a publicist/event specialist that I came upon this observation. Linda Bernardi, my client, is an Amazon bestseller and top woman in the technology field. At an event in Seattle surrounding "The Cloud" I couldn't help but be flabbergasted by how unsocial some of the vendors were.
A conference is the place to be our most social, our most charming, to present our best! It's at these events that I make most of my leads or create long lasting contacts. Nevertheless, it seemed that several of the peers that surrounded me couldn't pull their eyes from their cell phones or laptops long enough to look at the people in front of them.
Picture it an area with tables set out in a manner that suggests flow. Black cloth and skirts cover and surround the tables. Random catalogs are set out with a free gift such as a pen. Behind the tables are one usually two people with their heads down in a laptop or a cell phone. Some of the tables didn't even have a sign at a vertical angle to say who they were. But that's another rant. I'm very much a stickler for presentation and invoking the senses. Attendees walked by several feet away the fleeting look of interest on their faces. Only they were never greeted, because they were never seen.
FAIL!!! And what's worse is it was a fail that could have been avoided. The worst was one booth where two men sat side by side for hours ( I kid you not) pounding away on their keyboards. The staccato of the keys like a alarm to the audience stating "Do Not Disturb: What's on here is more important than you are." Side by side they beat those keys as if they were in some kind of virtual email race. After watching 10 potential leads walk by I decided I might vomit or use my stun gun on their computers and ignored them.
Nonetheless, the lingering effects of the occurrence wouldn't go away. I noticed it several places around me. Granted it wasn't all but most. If they were a vendor with an elaborate interactive booth they were like the ringmaster of a circus. "Come here! Step up to my amazing product!" It was as if the tables and black table cloths were kryptonite for my fellow vendors.
Alas, no it wasn't the table cloths (Did I mention I always bring my own table cloth?) it was online social media and email. I know this for a fact because being the bold nosy southern belle that I am I walked around and looked over their shoulders.
Now I more than anyone else know that response and timing are key in our businesses. However, it is not hard to post an update or an automatic email response saying, "Hey! I'm at a conference from this date to this date. If you are in the area please come by. If this is an emergency please reference my phone number."If anything I have found people respond in a huge way to those that have lives beyond Facebook. You come back with ideas and experiences that they couldn't have.
Perhaps I'm being a little dramatic, I do have that tendency. But it really did seem that the only way some people can be social is through social media. They need the anonymity the internet provides. They require the control that editing pictures and retyping or erasing status updates enables. And because of that weakness that one contact that could open the door to their career success just passed by and they didn't even see them.
What do you think? Am I being dramatic?