My candidate for a must-read post this month is Umair Haque’s (@umairh) essay on this topic in his HBR blog. He says that the Internet is “largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships.” He writes further:
Nominally, you have a lot more relationships — but in reality, few, if any, are actually valuable. Just as currency inflation debases money, so social inflation debases relationships. The very word "relationship" is being cheapened. It used to mean someone you could count on. Today, it means someone you can swap bits with. ¶ Thin relationships are the illusion of real relationships. Real relationships are patterns of mutual investment. I invest in you, you invest in me. Parents, kids, spouses — all are multiple digit investments, of time, money, knowledge, and attention. The "relationships" at the heart of the social bubble aren't real because they're not marked by mutual investment . At most, they're marked by a tiny chunk of information or attention here or there.
Those of us in public media have embraced social media and have found it valuable, at least for enhancing connections with listeners and viewers to spread the word about content or events. But we should be careful not to equate it with real mutual engagement around content that impacts the lives of people who hear, read or view it over our media. --Dennis