Author and Professor Deborah Tannen explained to Judy Woodruff on PBS that everyday talk and shares on social media isn’t about information we need to know. It’s about staying connected to the people we care about.

I think of social media as an extension of the how-was-your-day conversations that let you know someone cares about you, so you feel less alone in the world.

What someone is having for dinner, what beach they’re on with their family or a selfie with a friend, and the likes and comments that may follow aren’t necessarily important.

It’s the connectons that ensue that are important.

Per Tannen,

Social media haven’t transformed human relations. They have intensified them. While that means ramping up some of the stresses and frailties of friendships, it also gives us new, more immediate, more creative ways to stay connected to the people we care about, who care about us.

I’d take it a step further. Social media give us the opportunity to meet, know, and care about those whom we’d never have met otherwise.

This week I talked with a lawyer friend across the country who I met I and got to know through social media. We talked about his wife’s serious illness. I felt good to be there for him. He told me I felt like a brother for him.

Don’t be like the woman who complained to Tannen, “I don’t care what somebody had for dinner, all this stuff out there that nobody needs to know.”

It’ll be your loss, personally and professionally.

  • Well said Kevin. Social media and digital are all about relationships. It’s not complicated.

    • Social media really is not that complicated, Mitch. Unfortunately, our profession sees it as complicated and something that needs to be studied ad infinitum before deciding whether to use it.