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Ian Buckingham

Brand Engaged

Chief Executive

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Blog: Facebook will never replace face-time


So-called social media, the much abused misnomer for the relatively new technological, almost virtual, communication gathering points fed largely by constantly evolving gadgets, is literally fantastic.

What had latterly been the stuff of fantasy has led to social and business revolutions, has liberated many-a-Dilbert from their cubicle and has clearly added a whole new dimension to communication. I’m a big fan. However I’ve always maintained that Facebook would never replace Face-time and it would appear that I’m not alone.
Richard Watson makes the case for a return to deeper thinking, taking control over the media and serendipitous encounters in his excellent book Future Minds.
A recent article in the HBR backs up my sense of perspective and belief in the importance of the interpersonal moment. It points out that despite the rise in the influence of “the machines”, “the face-to-face conference business is robust, we’re flying more miles than ever to interact with others, the brightest minds still converge on innovation hubs like Silicon Valley, and collaborative spaces in firms are increasingly popular”.
I was surprised to discover, for example, while working with UK super-technology brand Arm Holdings that engagement is “all talk there” and their boffins hardly ever use internal social media – most of their communal communication being face to face. Their directors clock up masses of air miles ensuring that they visit their global offices regularly and pride themselves on their huddle meetings and open door policy.
As with many things in life, the answer doesn’t lie at the extremes but in the blend. The common touch has never been more important. Success clearly lies in appreciating the technology for what it is and integrating it with all-important, multi-sensory, face to face briefings and cheek by jowl, congregating, gathering in person, pressing flesh, eyeballing and communing with colleagues.
And there’s no more important time to promote this approach than during times of attrition when communities need leaders and the reassurance of warm words and a confidence boosting arm around the shoulder.

Ian Buckingham is a founding partner of engagement consultancy, Bring Yourself 2 Work.

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One Response

  1. Facebook vs. Face time

    This blog article has proved invaluable to me while trying to decide which stance to take when tackling social media. I agree with you that face to face time with clients is invaluable because it gives you a change to gage a client and allows you to converse with them freely. I do however think that as you mentioned about the international partners visiting their offices worldwide, millions could be saved by utilising social media, as with everything however a mix works the best. This is evident in the recent acquisition of Yammer by Google, highlighting that companies are investing in social media.  

    Dave Evans Commercial Director at accessplanit Specialist in Software for training companies and training management software

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