Stephen Collins of Acidlabs shared his recent experience of his first face-to-face meeting with an on-line friend: Shattering barriers.
“[T]hrough use of social media tools, people who work around the corner or across the world from each other are able to overcome the challenges around meeting and learning about someone (colleague, friend, someone who shares an interest, whatever) and jump straight in and do great work, share knowledge, have engaging conversations and build relationships to a deeper level more quickly.”
I had an analogous experience when running into a co-worker that I had not seen for weeks. We are both “friends” in Facebook, so we each see the feed the information and status updates that the other makes. We both said: “It feels like we talk every day.”
The power of social media is not that it replaces face-to-face interaction, but that it enhances face-to-face interaction. Social media can break down the barriers to first meeting a person, because you already have some background on them. Social media will give you a flow of information about the person, what they are doing and what they are thinking about.