I grew up in the 50s through the 60s and into the mid-70s in Chicago, in a group named the Baggers. I strongly believe that most of my friends who became very successful business executives, teachers, police officers, and owners of companies achieved their success because of the social skills and the relationships they formed within the group.
I've asked them about this over the years, and they agree. We are all convinced that we learned these social traits in our teens, and just by hanging out. We were also fortunate not having grown up with the electronic tools people have today, because we had to interact with others and learn the value of street smarts. We had to use our relationships and interpersonal skills to help create our futures.
We worked and played as a team, won and lost, and experienced life. We worked at being friendly and establishing friends. We learned how to socialize, negotiate, communicate, and read body language. Sizing someone up was an art as well. And we figured out who we shouldn't hang with, who the BS-ers were, and who to trust -- skills that contributed to future success.
In our conversations, we also feel concerned that today's parents are not encouraging their kids to go out on their own and make it. That many young people are getting too comfortable staying home and interacting via games, texting, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. They have not experienced how to interact with others in social situations, which will eventually hurt them in business. In my opinion, these social media tools are another excellent communication tactic like email, direct mail, PR, and ads.
But are these great tools going to replace being sociable -- what we consider to be essential life skills? Again social media is all the rage now and its impact is life changing and I personally use all these channels to be more efficient and market Avnet Inc. (NYSE: AVT). But is it really social? I don't mean in the sense of staying in touch or being nice or courteous to people, I mean sociable... interacting.
I've concluded the word "social" should be removed from "social media" and the whole thing should be changed to "digital media" or "emedia." What are your thoughts?