Computer contact isn’t human contact.

And this is something that I’m reminded of just about every. Single. Day.

The latest reminder comes from young gun and all-around over-deliverer here at FH Texas, Marc Matthews, who is on daily Facebook duty for one of our clients.

As professionals, we are SO caught up in this social media echo chamber that just seems to get louder and louder everyday. We debate best practices and all have our own opinions on how things should be done. We scrutinize case studies and guide our clients through the landmines of digital fields. Facebook, Twitter, Gowalla, Foursquare. Shiny object over here. Shiny object over there.

But fundamentally, at our core, we crave human contact. Sure, it’s nice to get retweeted or get a comment or three on Facebook. But it’ll never, ever, EVER replace human contact. Not too many years ago, I found my birth mother using the interwebs. And while it was cool to learn about her on the internet, actually MEETING her face-to-face was something that emails or digital pictures or anything done behind a glass screen with a keyboard and a bunch of wires can’t trump. Ever.

So while you’re out there devising your digital strategy to take over the world, remember that you’re only working on one piece of the puzzle. Word of mouth is still social media’s daddy. And 90% of WOM happens offline. So it’s great if you make contact with someone via digital means, because it can be the beginning of something great. But when you connect the dots between online and offline, then you’ve got something much more tangible and much more powerful.


  • September 20, 2010


    I agree 100%.

    Earlier today I wrote (via Twitter):

    “A lack of paralinguistic cues make written social interactions (Twitter, Facebook, etc) less valuable than good old fashioned conversation. That is to say paralanguage is the metadata of conversation. Oftentimes more valuable than the conversation itself.” And, “Current social media tools force mostly written communication and sensorially anesthetize participants.”

    I would add that the current crop of social applications intellectually and emotionally anesthetizes users as well. Nothing beats face-to-face conversation, not yet at least.

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