[Our guest blogger, Karyn Polewaczyk, worked with us for a while on her road to Free Agent Nation. You can learn more about her on her site, or follow her on Twitter.]
For my generation—that ripe crop of late-twentysomethings that's neither X nor Y—the term "social networking" is often affiliated with a Twitter tweet or jaunty Facebook update. We've likened our virtual followers and friends to the tangible clients and colleagues who make up our actual reality, hoping that these "friends" will "follow" us to our brands and businesses. Despite the allure of following the latest trend, just as we shouldn't consider flip-flops appropriate office attire, we shouldn't confuse the importance of virtual friends with the value of face-to-face interaction.
As a freelance writer, I've got no choice but to be constantly on the hustle. Every method I can get my hands on to promote myself, whether by blog post or talking up a storm with a stranger, I'll take it. Despite the fact that my office shares space with my bedroom, there's no substitute for presenting my best, polished self in realtime. Social media is the fancy awning that hangs from a building; human interaction is the bricks and mortar.
The need to diffuse ourselves and our brands across a variety of platforms is very real and likewise, the importance of the Internet and social media as vehicles to do so is also very real. But at the end of the day, we're left with the reason why sites like Twitter and Facebook exist: the very real, very tangible people who use them.
And so I ask: is good, old-fashioned "meeting up" the new black?