How are we different in written time (Social Media-SM) vs. face time (In Real Time-IRT)? I was offended for about 2 seconds when a “new” friend, Randy Theo (@ideabloke), whom I know through social media told me his impressions of me without having met me face to face. He said something like, “I took you for a day time TV person.” As in someone who sits around and watches TV. He told me this IRT because we are now friends in the same city, attending some of the same events in our lives. This particular event a “Friends of Ricki” meet-up.
Anyone who knows me IRT would laugh at a statement like that. Why? I don’t have time in front of a TV during the day. My kids have no TV or electronics during the school week. I am not a big fan of TV until after 10pm, when I turn it on as I tuck into bed to catch some news. The real question is simple. What message am I communicating in Social Media that would give this impression? What messages about yourself are you communicating? Why might we be different in SM than we are in real-time?
For me, my first response to the question might be depth of who I am. In real face to face time I tend to be light-hearted, wit mixed with some charm and fun with those whom I do not know so well. I can imagine that, that might be an impression I give to others in SM. Does a person who lacks depth in written word also communicate something less or more? I don’t divulge the intimacies or the depths of who I am at first tweet, or first like, or even first response. I don’t do that until I am assured of a great authentic friendship to begin, and let’s face it that is not so easy IRT or SM. Friendships take time.
My next answer might be the inability to read body language.
This journal reads:
BusinessWeek By Carmine Gallo | Wed, Feb 14, 2007
“Only a small percentage of communication involves actual words: 7%, to be exact. In fact, 55% of communication is visual (body language, eye contact) and 38% is vocal (pitch, speed, volume, tone of voice). The world’s best business communicators have strong body language: a commanding presence that reflects confidence, competence, and charisma.”
Being a designer, I am very visual and statistics show that over half of communication is visual. Therefore I know that I am very chatty in SM. To tell my story requires painting a picture with limited words. How then do I communicate Elizabeth with only a 7% attempt of communication? I must not be doing it so well if I am leaving an impression of being a daytime TV watcher. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but that is the furthest thing from me.
I think I actually have more confidence with my 7% communication on Social Media. When I walk into SM wearing a new hat and tweet about it, there are no eyes looking at me, with faces that I may misunderstand, and then toss the hat in my handbag due to my own insecurities. No, I just tweet or post the picture. There is a natural editing process that happens with written communication. My comments are direct and intentional. Not just that, “oops did I really just say that embarrassing moment”. Which happened at the meet-up. The guys were talking beer flavors. I blurted out, “wow, that beer Randy had last time burned my asparagus.” No, editing or taking that back. Everyone bust up laughing. I meant to say esophagus. Seconds early I had ordered the asparagus to go with me dinner, and it was still lingering on the end of my tongue.
Is Social Media a confidence building platform for misfits? Let me give you my definition of a misfit: A person who feels awkward in certain social settings. Let’s say you truly are painfully shy, or IRT words are not easy to come by. You now have time to process your thoughts with no eyes of impatience. Or in my case being the fashion misfit that I am, I am very quick to look around a room and wonder how on earth do these people know how to dress themselves. There is never that question or misfit feeling in SM. We all have various levels where we lack confidences and clearly fashion is mine.
I believe that SM is confidence building. Allowing the geeky gal, who did not realize leopard leggings, brown suede clogs, and a shiny black polka dot shirt, were not fashion pieces to mix and match. Dear Lord God in Heaven, you gave me an eye for the designing of others both in interiors and fashion, but not for me. I wore that combination once to a dinner party. I was very blessed to have a close friend tell me too never where that combination again, ever. I am building confidence in testing out my discomforts of being that fashion misfit on SM. I love hats, but for some reason feel very insecure in them. Through SM I decided to try out two different hats this month. Two hats in one month. I have not worn hats in years. Thanks SM.
The manner in which you walk into a room, and see all eyes on you could easily produce some insecurity, especially if you knock your hip on a corner table, spilling the pitcher of water. In SM all eyes are reading, or looking at the photo in past tense. I no longer feel the insecurities of removing the hat before I walk out my front door. Do you feel more confident and bolder through your written language? Are you the same IRT as you are in SM?
Please tell me you are not another person who took me for a daytime TV watcher. So who am I?
Just read my twitter handle @elizonthego. That name alone pretty much sums it up. I have the energy of four people. I have been told this my entire life. I am not medicated for anything. I come by this energy from a good solid night of sleep. I run my own business, and have for over 20 years. This allows me to be very present and involved in all five of my kid’s lives. Not exactly a sit in front a TV kind of gal.
I truly, both IRT and SM, love to connect with people. However I also get if I am viewed as a bit shallow. That does not ever offend me. IRT I am always cautious in bringing people into my circles. When that does happen, you can bet that you have a friend for life. SM relationships are no different. I will say I love you, when my heart feels it and means it. And guess what. It’s late and I am going to tuck in and turn on my TV, giving credence to Randy, only he got it mixed up, I am not a day time TV kind of gal, but a late night TV kind of gal. It’s okay; he was only basing his observations on 7% of communication.
I would sure love to know how are you different in written time (Social Media-SM) vs. face time (In Real Time-IRT)?