Thursday, August 7, 2008

To meet or not to meet?

I gather I was preaching to the choir on that last posting.

One other interesting piece I hear a lot in those sessions is : Email, phone and on-line are fine but to really build a meaningful relationship, you need to meet face to face at least once - preferably early on.

Is this true?

I’m torn on this one.

If we go by learning styles, there are about ¼ of us that need that touch - that visceral connection you can only get by being in the same room. If you go by social media, a webcam should suffice. If we’re talking traditional - then you can form a lasting relationship with nothing more than words - online or by phone.

Sure, meeting with someone is a shortcut to possibly better communication. But is it a “must do”?

Folks everywhere are building online/remote relationships in all aspects of life. There’s online dating - where the first meeting(s) are only virtual. Yes, the goal is to result in a personal meeting but the initial relationship is often formed online with great expectations and a ‘feel’ for the other person built on nothing more than screen time.

What about using online resources? We do customer service on-line, expecting solutions to queries and complaints without pleading our case in person. We hit blogs and websites, post comments, ask questions and feel connected to authors and experts without ever even thinking about meeting up in real time.

And pen pals - the time-honoured tradition of making friends with someone in a remote location from yourself who you might never meet. (Does anyone out there still have pen pals? Is it still also done in the schools?)

So if you can build love, friendship, kinship all online - do you absolutely need to meet face to face to add someone to your network in a meaningful way?

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