September 14, 2014

Virtual vs Reality

How many virtual “friends” do you have? How many virtual “contacts” do you have? When we frequent on-line sites and make others our friends or contacts, is that the same as making them our partners in reality? How can we provide the same benefits to those virtual partners as we do our partners that we have met in reality?

I know people who brag about how many friends they have on Facebook or how many contacts they have on LinkedIn. There is nothing like social media to brighten our day. Conversing with others on-line about what we are doing or where we are going can be very stimulating. However, does this provide positive benefits to any of those involved?

Telling everyone in your circle of “friends” that you are leaving for vacation on a certain date can be interesting to some, but it can be a green light to others who would like to rob your house or office. Posting pictures of where you are having a meal may provide interesting information to some, but not to others. For some Facebook is a distraction from their actual business that provides no positive answers to any real problems.

Do any of us actually know all the people who we have as “friends” or “contacts”? How did we gain so many numbers, and what does that number actually mean to our business or how others regard us? Are these relationships beneficial to anyone involved in them, or are the numbers just that, numbers that we brag about to others?

If someone invites me to connect with them on LinkedIn, I always ask if we can meet, either in person or at least on the phone, to chat and get to know each other. Of course, face-to-face is always preferable, but a telephone conversation can be acceptable, especially if the person is geographically unavailable. Who knows, if the telephone conversation goes well, you might be able to overcome the geography involved.

I have relationships with people who I have never actually physically met which are very rewarding for both parties. That is because we have had detailed telephone conversations, shared thoughts and ideas, and told each other about ourselves, businesses, and lives. We have actually discovered what the other person needs and tried to solve those needs, either directly or by referrals to others.

How about trying this approach with your “unknown” friends and contacts? Send them a message with your telephone number asking them to call you so you both can learn about the other and start to build a relationship. If they ask you what you mean, try to explain that you want to move past virtual to real relationships. If they don’t want to do this, should they be included with your real partners in the social media environment?

Do not venture into the social media environment looking for benefits just for you. Look to help others find what they need and to build relationships that are mutually beneficial to all parties included. That is Appreciation Marketing, and social media provides another place for us build to relationships and show others how these relationships can work for all of us. Make virtual become reality, and your life will grow and prosper.

How many “friends” or “contacts” do you have? Are they just numbers, or do you have mutually beneficial relationships with those people in the virtual world like the ones in the real world. What is the reaction to requests for help in the virtual world, and does it compare with a similar request in the world of reality? Please leave me your comments, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691.

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