I happened to catch the PBS NewsHour last week and eagerly awaited the final segment when linguist professor, Deborah Tannen, was going to talk about the impact of social media on our communication.
I’ve certainly heard plenty of experts lament that communication is a dying art because of social media and texting. Who talks to each other anymore? Has anyone received a handwritten note lately? We could be thinking it looks pretty bleak for our children and grandchildren who are missing out on the art of the conversation and people skills.
So I was pretty surprised when Ms. Tannen started pointing out how communication is really alive through social media. We are making and keeping friends through our likes, comments, and shares.
If you’d like to view the video or read the transcript of the segment, here it is: “How social media ‘likes’ create a conversation of connection.
Here are some excerpts from her video:
I have spent my career studying the language of everyday conversation, and I know that most everyday talk isn’t about information we need to know. It’s about staying connected to the people we care about. And that’s a need that social media is extremely well-suited to.
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.
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.
Pluses of social media
I started thinking about what I find amazing about social media. In my career I’ve attended lots of conferences and education days here in the states and outside of them as well. It thrills me to be interacting with people I met years and years ago. I get to hear what my colleagues are up to. I love when they share opinions on a question I’ve posed. I like and “like” pictures of them in their professional or private lives. I feel all warm inside because through social media, we’re still connecting; we’re still in each other’s lives.
I’m so proud of our industry. I’m proud of the people who have brought such respect to our profession. Seeing them on social media and realizing they are still as passionate about their profession as they were in the beginning brings me great joy. And together I think we pave the way for other image consultants or stylists to pursue their dreams.
Now after listening to that interview, I feel like I’m stepping into social media with more intention. I want to stay connected and social media is helping me do that. Although I’m not on it every day or as much as I’d like to be, I can step right back in just like we do with our longterm friendships.
We’re there for each other! And that feels great.