People do business with people, not with technology. Whether you are a person or a brand, to truly build long-lasting personal relationship with another person or a brand advocate you need way more than just a couple of tweets and a LinkedIn connection request, you need face-to-face time.
I have always found fascinating how very often as humans we go around in circles to the start of our journeys.
Anthropologically seems justified as , after all, we are the animal with the ability to make the same mistake twice (… or is it? I had a dog, and they too are pretty good at it too… ) but even so, it has always puzzled me how we tend to over engineer solutions to then return back to the simpler arrangement and make it appear to be great discovery.
The case described here is interesting though.
Despite the fact that I too agree that face to face time is important (the penny just dropped re. the name choice of faceTime) , I’d even say key, many relationships would be lost if that was all we had, and we should acknowledge the positive contribution that technology has brought to us for that matter.
People travel or relocate (I have) , and face to face goes out of the window and the good old letter or phone call had many limitations which I am happy to share with you (below).
How would you be able to keep in touch with former colleagues you may want to collaborate with in the future, or clients who may have wanted to give you work? It is not realistic to think otherwise. You cannot physically meet everyone face to face as there are not enough hours in the day.
It is the same “you”; behind the lines of communication that technology offers, and now you can participate , help and contribute in ways that were never available to us in the past.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I don’t see why the table can’t be virtual if you are authentic and the lines of communication are real and honest.
Technology ,used correctly, can allow you to keep closer to people in order to make the time spent apart to feel less relevant, less like a full stop, more like a coma.
Ok, so as promised… here are my thoughts
1. Lack of spontaneity
I was an avid writer as a child. I used to go to summer camps (scouts, chess tournaments, and english courses) and come back with a hand full of friends who I would regularly write to for a few months, and who would (in 99% of the cases) stop writing at some point.
All those trips were, to me, a great opportunity to find like minded people who my day to day would not allow me to. People I could share ideas and simple events with because we had an understanding.
The letter though felt to be a static way to communicate as you were writing about things that had happened without a chance to share the building up to those or even the aftermath… And then of course, by the time they reached the other person, they were no longer relevant.
Only serious deeper topics could be discussed in letters and as such, writing them they required a lot of time and concentration. And both of those can be costly currencies when you are a child.
Then of course your letter could arrive or not, and the other person had to find time to write back to you , post the letter and there we go again, wait for your response.
Never was this more obvious than with my father who played postal chess, which is exactly what it sounds like. He had a book (and a massive brain, I may add) where he kept track of all the games he was playing at once. It would take years and cost a fortune to complete a single game with someone in South America for example.
And of course the costs of communication. International calls were prohibitive and the stamps? Holy Moly ! They were dear indeed.
You had to arrange in advance with the other person when you would need to phone them in order to catch up.
In a world without mobiles , Skype or FaceTime, you would need to accept that relationships would be lost with time, and why should you?
My house was like a call centre each christmas when everyone called to wish each other the best. (When i say everyone… everyone who managed to get through before the lines collapsed)
4. The day to day realities
Finally, regarding meeting up for coffee (which I love)…
I would never hear from my friends, colleagues or family if this was all that is available to me. I live in a very large city, in a different country to many of them. The time I have when i travel has to be shared amongst all, which generally mean i see very few… would I want to never hear from the rest? Why should I?
See on www.forbes.com