We undoubtedly live in a hyper-connected world. We can tweet, talk on Skype, send messages over Whatsapp, chat on Facebook, “like” what our circle of friends is doing, upload a video to YouTube, pin images on Pinterest, upload a picture of the sunset from our smartphone, check our email inbox in case some life-changing event has taken place somewhere and, last but not least, work… all at the same time. That is, if our multitasking mode hasn’t seized up yet!
We’re currently accessible to more or less anyone in the world. It isn’t that hard to contact the Head of HR at Virgin or the Publications Director at Alienta, for instance. It has become really simple to connect with potential suppliers or clients. However, we shouldn’t forget that being accessible to everyone doesn’t always mean answering back. Being helpful doesn’t mean always helping out. Similarly, not failing doesn’t mean always getting it right. Not having a contract doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Not signing one doesn’t mean not accepting it.
However, when we connect, we forget about what’s going on with the other party: how the other person we’re connecting with is feeling, what’s going on in their surroundings, what their pace is, what they could be doing at a given moment, how they feel, whether they’ve had a great day or a terrible one, whether they could be in trouble or going through a rough patch. At the end of the day we’re only people. I feel terrified by people who don’t even try to understand the person they’re in contact with.
The issue here is respect, empathy, taking into consideration and appreciating the other person. You can keep admiration, anxiety and ego to yourself, thanks. The issue here is not invading the other person’s “social life” every time an idea comes into our head but, rather, aiming to understand where and how people interact in each social web platform in order to understand when and how, in what way to interact with them and what tone to use. I’m sure your time is very valuable to you; so is the other person’s to them.
Think about and try to understand how the other party you’re trying to connect with relates to others, thinks, interacts, creates conversations, helps, entertains themselves, has fun and works. Then half the battle will be won!
Before invading or taking over any connection, understand that a human contract exists between both parties:
The word “connect” is simply fascinating. However, its meaning is still largely unknown by many. You need to understand the human contract you signed up to when you started using the social web, every time you connect and interact. This isn’t a piece of paper or a PDF file you store in your tablet; it’s a contract of principles, coherence, ethics and ideals. Whenever you don’t keep your part of the contract, we’ll ignore you.
Photo credit: Kirilo.