A couple of days ago a number of things happened to me that has led me to believe that the new social media revolution should actually be called the anti-social media revolution and here's why.
As I walk down any street, I see almost every second person plugged in, buds in their ears and cell phone cranking out emails oblivious to the world around them,the weather or the people next to them. I see people on bicycles with buds in, cutting in and out of traffic and not paying attention to anything.
I sit in a restaurant and hear people talking on the phone, like they are the only one in restaurant, so much so that I actually have to lean over and say, please shut up we are tying to have a conversation here.
I see people communicating on their Facebook page, just talking about them. What about everyone else. I hear from the plugged in generation that if your not on Gmail you out of touch and Twitter is something you need to do if you want to build your personal profile. The issue is what is behind the profile.
I have had discussions with many opinionated, self absorbed and selfish individuals who do not know how to communicate and get frustrated when they need to sit still for a few minutes in a meeting without the habit of picking up their phone or sending an email.
I have had breakfast meetings where the person I am talking with has had to be told to turn that " thing " off so we can chat. I have seen people ignore their work, deadlines and everything else so that they can up date their profile, send Twitter messages and everything else but ignore what is important.
I see stressed out, arrogant, uncommunicative people walking through me in airports, retail stores and shopping centres glued to their phone and nothing else. I see people on the street corner on sunny day glued to their phone as they barge through others who are just in the way. So this is the new social media huh!
In reality, social media may be about getting online and yes texting your friends, emails and phone calls, however in my mind, the world on a common level is getting less friendly,less engaged and less social and on a personal level people pretty much send emails to break relationships dates or ignore paying bills.
I call this new trend " anti-social media", Anti-social media is where the real world does not matter. All that matters is being online. I recently played golf with a couple that could not wait til the game was over on a Sunday morning so they could both check their Blackberry's and took ten minutes to answer emails and such before we could have breakfast.
Social media may be a good thing, however this anti social media thing its going to get worse and the anti-social behaviour will also come with it. I am pretty tired of have a face to face meeting with someone who answers his mobile and talks for 10 minutes about B.S. while I am waiting for an answer or in the middle of an important discussion. I am tired of presenting information at meeting while staring at some fool who is sitting there checking or sending email and not listening to a word I am saying. A a recent breakfast meeting one persons phone rang four times and each time she picked it up for conversation. I finally had to say shut that thing off so we can finish our meeting. She squirmed and shook and twisted and turned for the next half an hour because she had to talk with someone without being armed with a cell phone.
So the next time you hear somebody yelling at someone on their cell phone or being ignored in retail store by someone just checking their email take stock, it could be you.