I'm a copywriter who does his best work alone. Yes, I'm all about collaboration to a degree – but when I'm writing, I need only the voices in my head to do my job. Over the years this has caused me to be something of an introvert. Ten years ago I preferred email as my primary means of communication. I loved email because 1) it provides a paper trail and 2) it's highly controllable. With email, as with copywriting, there's no back and forth. No unexpected twists and turns. You control the entire argument and have an opportunity to hammer home your point. To me, email was an extension of copywriting because the only discourse that takes place happens between your ears. Sure, people could reply to email (but not 'reply all' because NOBODY USED TO GET THAT) but you still have the opportunity to control everything you say, and how other people think about what you say.
Anyway, I was Email Guy during a time when phone calls were the preferred method of communication.
Enter Social Media. Not only has Social Media made me less introverted (if I'm ever too extroverted, I fully expect someone to taser me), but it's connected me with some amazing people who I wouldn't even know if it weren't for this amazing medium.
Last night I participated in the world's finest Marketing and Advertising podcast, The Beancast with host Bob Knorpp. Last night's show featured Bill Green and John January, both of whom I follow and engage on Twitter. The show also featured Esteban Contreras, who I didn't know, but who is a kindred spirit like most of the people I follow in SocMe. I may never meet any of these people in person, but dammit if it doesn't feel like I know them.
Since October 2008, Social Media has allowed introverted Email Guy to thrive in a whole new way. Sure, I still work alone (I have to), but I no longer *feel* alone. Once I open up Tweetdeck, I know that any of the thousands of people who I consider colleagues and friends are there for me.
Has Social Media helped me become more social IRL? Sure, but I've never aspired to be social IRL, anyway. I don't do a lot of 'Tweetups' because that's just not my bag. I don't need to meet you IRL to know whether I like you. Which is to say that I know a lot of people who use SocMe to advance their IRL networks because that works for them. The way I see it – if you know me here, you know me IRL. Trust me.
Note: If you're in Marketing or Advertising in any capacity, I highly recommend you subscribe to The Beancast. You don't even have to listen to my episode – but if you don't subscribe, you're missing out on one very entertaining hour every week with some of the smartest people in our industry and hosted by one talented sonofabitch in Knorpp.