Are You Connected?

Connected, it’s such a loaded word.  In Chicago when you ask that about someone, it usually means are they connected to organized crime.  “He’s connected.”.  If you are trying to find a bookie, it’s a good thing.

English: An FBI surveillance photo of suspecte...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Connected is an overused term when it comes to startups and the internet these days.  With the rise of platforms like Facebook($FB), LinkedIN($LNKD), Google+($GOOG), what’s really connected?  These kinds of platforms seem more like “inventory” to me.  They are still new and developing-but in their current state I hear a lot of people say that they don’t derive real value from them.

Facebook is great to interact with people on a personal friendly basis. I don’t think it’s particularly great for business connections.  Although, if one of your business connections is on Facebook, you might be able to get a better feel for who they are as a person by interacting with them there.  All depends on how much they use the platform, and how open they are on it.

LinkedIn is a nice platform to see what people are about.  It’s a resume placeholder.  It allows you to do a little background research on people.  But, it’s hardly something you can use to do deep due diligence.  That still requires phone calls and conversations.

Howard Tullman coined the word “mocial”.  Mocial means mobile+social where your real identity merges with your online identity.  Eventually we won’t be able to separate them.  Recently I had this happen to me.  I was in an airport and saw an old friend.  We started talking and I said something.  They said, “Yes, I saw that on Facebook.”.  It hit me that my online identity was no different than my personal identity.   They had merged.

Once I realized that this person knew a lot that went on in my life we were able to have a deeper conversation about other things.  I don’t know if that makes human interaction more efficient or not.  Small talk is so integral to our interaction.

I still know people that aren’t on Facebook or any social media platforms.  Some of them are shady, some are not.  Some just don’t have the time.  Some think social media is childish and stupid.  Some want to stay under the radar because it benefits them.  If people really knew who they were, they wouldn’t like them.

Economists like to say it takes thirty years for real innovation to take hold and change a culture.  The printing press, electricity, and railroads all took that long for meaningful change to occur.  I suppose it will be that way with social media as well.  It will take a generation for the younger people to begin to really leverage it and understand its true power.

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