Thursday, 5 April 2012

Social Media is Impersonal? It's Time for Skype

A big debate has arisen alongside the emergence of social media over the past years as to whether the technology is replacing traditional forms of communication (you know, meeting face to face?) with impersonal forms in the virtual world where you hide behind a screen and use text only.  Skype, the free online video conferencing software, is a part of this debate and has certainly taken a side.

A direct attack at Twitter? (adweek.com)

This week, the company released a $12million marketing campaign across the UK, soon to be released to the US and further.  The angle of the campaign is that social media and SMS messaging is not the way to truly keep in touch with friends and family, that it doesn't provide true relationships and that Skype is the answer to the debate; an almost direct attack on the likes of Twitter and Facebook.

It's pretty shocking when you step back and look at it, knowing the far reaching power of giants such as Facebook and Twitter, but Skype is being quite creative and very clever to appeal to those who see the power of social media as a barrier to real communication.  There is a slight irony as wel that Skype will use Facebook and Twitter to promote this campaign, using the hashtag #timeforskype.

Skype's view of the nature of humans, I think, is an accurate one. (adweek.com)

For me, I don't see a problem with using social media for keeping in touch and knowing what's going on in the world and with your friends and contacts as long as you remember that first person contact is king.  Humans have personality and are sensitive beings, and I believe you cannot have a real relationship if you don't meet with people face-to-face. Skype happen to agree with this in one of their ads (see above) but I would argue that even by phone, or by video conference, your experience will pale in comparison to meeting in the flesh.

What do you think?  Is social media detrimental to your relationships?  Could we all do with standing back from it?  Is Skype the answer?