Guest Post by Danny Rubin
Millennials, America is officially ours.
Pew Research Center reports Millennials will overtake baby boomers in 2015 as the largest living generation in the US.
Bravo, everyone. We did it. Soon enough, everyone will bow to Generation Y. We make the rules! We call the shots!
When Millennials have full control, I’m certain we will eliminate:
- Cable TV subscriptions
- Sketchy taxi cabs
- Land line telephones
Oh, the telephone. What a waste of time. Why dial a number and use our mouths when we can fire off a tweet?
Here’s the problem: Millennials think social media is a place to have conversations. Incorrect. Social media is a place to begin conversations.
Twitter is a remarkable networking tool and connects us with anyone, anywhere. But we can’t cement a new relationship unless we physically talk to each other, either over the phone, on a video chat or in person. Before our baby boomer parents head for retirement, we should respect the ease with which they pick up a phone and handle themselves.
Since our generation is so fluent with technology, we think we created a new paradigm for relationship building. Like all we have to do is send tweets and emails back and forth to develop trust and rapport. Sorry. It’s not that easy and it never will be — no matter how many apps and messaging platforms we build to “bring us together.”
Actual human interaction is worth more than a 1,000 tweets.
I have gained so many meaningful relationships with News To Live By because I “met” the person on Twitter and then we either talked on the phone or grabbed coffee in person. If I relied exclusively on social media, I would have a grand total of zero friends in the blogosphere.
The next time you brush with someone on social media and want to deepen the relationship, do one of three things:
- Ask for a phone call
- Ask for a video chat
- Ask to meet in person
“Hey, it would be great to chat by phone and get to know you better. Let me know when you’re free for a quick call.”
“Hey, are you free to grab coffee later this week? It would be great to meet in person.”
Once you talk on the phone, make eye contact in a video chat or shake hands in person, the relationship can move forward. Then you two might discuss ways to work together and everything starts to hum.
That’s why the best networkers use social media to meet the right people and then look for ways to take the discussion “offline.”
In other words, young professionals today should be a blend of Millennial and Baby Boomer qualities.
OK, so we’ll call it a tie. Who needs to be the best generation, anyway?
What else can Baby Boomers or other generations teach Millennials?
This post originally appeared on News To Live By and is re-published with permission.
Danny Rubin is the managing editor of News To Live By, a blog for Millennials that highlights the career advice and leadership lessons “hidden” in the day’s top stories. Don’t just read the news — use it to gain an edge on the job. You can follow the blog at @NewsToLiveBy. – See more at: Damn Right I’m Part of the “Me Me Me” Generation.
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What Young Professionals Don’t Understand About Social Media
Excellent article. It’s funny, my post yesterday takes a similar view from the opposite angle. http://letsgrowleaders.com/communication-listening/5-ways-social-media-can-accelerate-your-old-school-sales-strategy/
I like the advice “Show up where they hang out.” That’s exactly what we need to do to meet the right people.
You pulled me right in with this one, Danny. I’m with you 100%… start with a tweet, move to a voice to voice and even further to make a real connection. I’ve moved more than a few people from my online pen pal to real friend in the past few years and it’s one of the reasons I stay on social media… to make my next great connection and perhaps find a new collaborator.
Hope many people take your advice!
Thanks, Alli. The more I use Twitter, the more I realize how powerful it can be as a way to network. Indispensable tool.
Your point, “social media is a place to start a conversation” is very poignant. I think social media should be used a filter for conversation topics with whoever you wish to engage with. It’s no surprise, phone time is a scarce resource, and should be treated that way. But still it shouldn’t discarded altogether.
My long distance relationship with my Millennial daughter has developed this way. We’ve always been close, but our phone time is limited to about a half an hour to an hour conversations three or four times a week. Since I’ve become more comfortable texting (since I’m old), we communicate this way everyday in one or two spurts. But it’s only small talk or things that can be covered via texts. If an issue (say business strategy with her work or some revelation I have) pops up on a text conversation that requires more in-depth nuanced detail, one of us will pick up the phone, with that agenda in mind.
Since we’ve developed this routine, I’ve found myself using in it in other setting also. And it works.
Great comment, Clay. I think you have it right: pick up the phone when a deeper discussion is required. No one has time for all phone calls all the time. We should deploy them when it’s necessary to go a level deeper.
Love your authentic post, Danny! It is so true that meeting someone online is just the beginning of building a relationship. It can’t end there or it will go nowhere.
Your suggestions of making a phone call or meeting up for coffee have been so helpful for me too. When we have a face to face or hear a real voice, we get learn about the entire person not just what we assume about them online.
Thanks for a great one!
Thanks, Terri! I find even people my own age appreciate the face-to-face interation versus Twitter. Just need to constantly remind ourselves to step away from the screen!