By Megan McMahon In a day and age where Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like are all the rage, has society forgotten about our original social media roots? Think about it. How often do you use the telephone in your everyday life? I personally send 10 maybe even 20 times more Facebook Chats in a week than I do make phone calls. With things such as Facebook Messenger and Twitter DMs, social media gives us the ability to connect instantaneously and almost effortlessly. But is this a good thing? Here are 3 scenarios where I think that social media has plagued us rather than help us as a society.
1. Finding out info about a location. Can't find the hours of the restaurant you want to eat at through your smart phone but have their phone number? Call them. Most likely, if they answer…they're open. Problem solved. Social media and smartphones combined have made us a pretty lazy society. Having to dial phone numbers to get info about somewhere is a hassle these days. We're demanding because we want everything put right in front of us instantly. Maybe you're missing out on the meal of your life just because you can't find their hours via your smartphone. Yes I realize that this is a stretch but my point here is that not everywhere is up to speed with the social media game - places we want to go to have telephones. Give them a ring if you need to.
2. Making business connections. When I worked on Likeable's New Business team about a year ago, I would constantly have to follow up with our leads. The go-to way to do this: email. Well guess what…it's a lot easier to ignore an email than it is to ignore a phone call. And hey, believe it or not, sometimes people LIKE hearing another person's voice, especially in the business world. Making a connection over the phone is key when it comes to building business relationships. Plus, you can always come off the wrong way in an email when it is much easier to get a point across the RIGHT way when you're talking on the phone. Do yourself and your business a favor and forget the LinkedIn messages, Twitter DMs, and emails for a second and pick up the phone. It really can't hurt.
3. Solving customer service issues. All we do nowadays is complain to brands on their Facebook timeline or through @replies on Twitter. It's so easy to do and I'm pretty sure that most of us can say that we've used social media to get our way with a brand. Well, think about this: what if you have a TRUE customer service issue such as being severely overcharged on an order. You REALLY want your money back right? Is blowing up a Facebook wall REALLY the most effective way to get your money? Or are you just putting up a social media stink unnecessarily when you can pick up the phone and call a 24 hour hotline where you can get your money back right away. Of course this is on a case to case basis and there are A LOT of awesome brands out there who will solve your problem that you posted via social media right away. But this doesn't always happen. If you're not getting a response via social media, why not pick up the phone and create a ruckus? Most brands have a hotline, maybe in some cases we shouldn't forget about it.
Perhaps I am playing devil's advocate here, but I really think that power of the telephone is one that we shouldn't forget no matter how much social media grows. I predict that the telephone may evolve into video chat in the future, but in the meantime, don't forget to use the phone now and then. You have a voice other than in your fingertips. Call someone today - even if it's your mom. You won't regret it.
Do you prefer communicating through social media over using the phone? Do you think that the telephone is obsolete in 2012? Let me know in the comments!