At the last social media breakfast (#smb6), brought to us by Bryan Person and Jeff Pulver (thanks guys), Jeff actually said out loud that social media is anti-social. @beeahna put it another way at the recent PRSSA regional event when she said "social media is neither social or media, discuss."
It sounds absurd at first. Social media is anti-social! But why is it called social media then?
But the truth is, if you're tweeting at the dinner table, you're not conversing with the people in front of you. It's a very removed way to be social and friendly. Social media allow us to be in touch with people around the world, but what does it mean if we can't translate that openness and transparency to the time we spend with people offline?
What's the point of having a million Facebook friends if you're still hunched over a computer on a Friday night alone?
Be honest. When you're sitting at a meeting full of laptops, do you wonder what's up on the other guys screen? Solitarie? Is he listening to you? LA Times reported that some Silicon Valley companies are going "topless" partially for this reason. Clicking away on a laptop, cell phone or any other device doesn't inspire that team feeling, in fact, it partially removes you from your surroundings.
What's my solution? We can't forget in all the social media love fests that there are still humans to interact with in person. Go to dinner with a bunch of folks from Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Pulse, etc. and put a face with the online personality you're used to.