Recently, I was sitting in a Vancouver coffee shop with a woman I had met at a career development conference. We were there to discuss her resume and career search. As we began mapping out ways to expand her network, she looked out the window and pointed at someone walking in the typical texting stance: head down, thumbs flying, with only an occasional glance at the sidewalk to avoid tripping hazards. With a sigh, she said how sad it is that no one wants to connect anymore.
I think my jaw may have dropped because her eyes got wide as we sat there staring at each other. It made me realize that not everyone appreciates our new methods of connecting – or even recognizes these communications as legitimate conversations. It begs the question: Are online relationships real?
For me, a frequent business traveler and admitted workaholic, electronic communications offer a convenient way to stay in touch. Be it 5:00 in the morning or 10:00 at night, I can reach out without asking friends and associates to keep the hours I keep. I know they’ll pick up my message when it suits them. And if they happen to be online when I am, we may use instant messaging or even pick up the phone.
I guess my point is that email, Facebook chat, and instant messaging add to our relationships rather than detract. In fact, many of us are communicating more often than we had before these tools were available. I know I’m certainly better informed about the goings on of my friends and family. Is it real? Of course it is.