Online, Offline, In Real Life

Posted: July 29, 2010 in Professional Insight, Social Media, Work and Play
Tags: , , , , ,

A highlight of my week is reading the Harvard Business Review’s email newsletter (subscribe) and scanning the articles for insight that will take me to the next level and hopefully prepare me to someday write an article for the newsletter. Not all of the articles apply to PR or young professionals but I always feel a little smarter for reading them.

One of the blog posts that caught my attention last week was “10 Reasons to Stop Apologizing for Your Online Life” by Alexandra Samuel. Alexandra wrote about the separation people create between their “online lives” and their “offline lives” and how they consciously make the decision to “to engage in online interaction as if it were fundamentally different from offline conversation.”

As the first college generation to experience to Facebook, my friends and I loved the separation of our online lives and offline personalities. Online we could share the photos we wouldn’t show our parents, make comments on a friend’s wall that we would never say in public and it was worry free because Facebook was an exclusive group. But shortly after college, Weber Shandwick (my employer) changed my opinion by introducing me to the INLINE philosophy: Communication isn’t online or offline, it’s INLINE.

The key behind this philosophy is that a company or brand’s interaction with consumers needs to be seamless with no real distinction between the communication channels. James Warren, Weber Shandwick’s Chief Digital Strategist, had an opportunity to explain the company’s INLINE communications research and the evolution of consumer interaction with PRWeek and the result is a quick video packed with info.

Alexandra’s post offers 10 ways our Internet experience will transform by acknowledging our online lives as real. To help make this transition simple, here are a few ideas for a seamless life:

  • Share your Facebook photos with your friends. Not too many people block all of their photos but if you know someone that does, encourage them to unblock their photos. Photos show us who you are, your passions and who’s important to you. So instead of blocking out that part of your life, save a copy of the photos you think are funny but inappropiate and then detag them.
  • Limit your use of the phrase “In Real Life” (IRL). This phrase needs to go away for two reasons: 1) It implies that their is a difference between your online personality and your offline personality. 2) When I hear this phrase I think of people that play the online game World of Warcraft and their desire to create a separate online life. This seems kind of weird to me.
  • Call your Facebook friends on their birthday. Sending a Facebook note is great but who doesn’t love a phone call on their birthday. Use Facebook birthday reminders as a chance to be that awesome friend who calls instead of sending a generic happy birthday note. Its easier said than done, but try to make one b-day phone call a month.
  • Meet face to face with the people you know online.* It can be one on one over coffee or in a large group setting like a tweet up or a house party hosted by a mutual friend. By connecting face to face, you’ll feel more comfortable talking to the person online and you’ll open the possibility of expanding your network to include their friends. (Below is a photo from the Redeye Tweet up in July. L-R: @jasonmuelver, @ernestwilkins, @felska, and myself – @joepiehl.)

Source: Chris Vaughn (Follow him – he’s awesome)

  • Try Foursquare. As a Foursquare addict it’s easy for me to recommend the location-based game but its one of the simplest ways of telling your friends what you’re doing without having to send a mass text message. The ultimate idea behind Foursquare is that it allows you to connect with your friends if you’re both in the same area.

*It was really tough to not use the phrase “In Real Life.”

[I’m still trying to fix the font size… hopefully by next Monday I’ll have it figured out.]

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Comments
  1. KB says:

    I don’t plan on loosening up my Facebook privacy settings, but I agree with everything else! Especially the fact that @vaughnchicago is amazing!

    -Karyn

    • Joe says:

      It’s totally understandable to keep your Facebook privacy settings high – mine are set so only friends can view my pictures – but I think it’s important to find a happy medium between showing nothing to your friends and showing all of your photos to EVERYONE. How do you handle you’re Facebook photo settings?

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