Are we too social online or are we bi-polar? What is our real story?

On thing I have learned over the past 4-5 years working with groups in the social media/digital space: social technologies has provided one heck of a platform for individuals and brands to become overt, expository, and exclamatory in an expedient fashion. Especially when it comes to taking a “stand” or “position” on a topic.

Reed Smith posed this question yesterday on Facebook: “Is it Possible To Be Too Social?”

Now his context for this question was based on frequency…but with the recent barrage of social advocates overloading our walls from politics, healthcare, and even the recent Chick-Fil-A situation; this has me thinking through a different lens.

I am amazed each day what I read on my news feed, on Twitter, the memes that are posted, and how we de-contextualize information to meet our needs. We live in a cut-and-paste, digital recycle world where we take information and reuse to fit our messaging needs.

I often wonder, would the same conversations that happen online happen offline? Would we be more open to conversation offline or would we use the same “hunt and kill” mentality, hiding behind the keyboard, and sharing our inner thoughts like we do online?

There are so many people and individuals that I meet that are nothing like the personalities they portray in the online space. This bi-polar online/offline life we lead  leads me to wonder…who am I talking to in person.

Admit it, you have fallen victim to his moment of “rage,” getting caught in the moment wanting to one-up a person online, getting caught in a feud that leads to a Facebook thread three screen shots deep. Before you know it…you wonder who was that person behind that avatar that wrote those rebuttal statements…is that me?

So here is the question, what does it mean to be too social? Is it frequency? Frequency has a lot to do with it…and I do not mean the number of times you communicate a marketing message. I mean the frequency of hours we spend online…developing an online brand that does not coincide with our offline personality.

And we as marketers that manage brand’s appearance online…we end-up having multiple personality disorder. We are typing on our Facebook page, then posting for our brand…hoping that we do not send out that party picture to the wrong social account. Admit it…you have done it before. You just have to know how to delete it REAL FAST.

Are we too “Social”? Well, if it means online…the retail brands hope so, they want your attention and want you to advocate for their cause. I would be willing to bet that Chick-Fil-A is happy with the image above…the 811 comments posted (which leads to shares). But would you say that same thing in person to someone you know that does not agree? With that same expository tone? That same shout with conviction? Would you be proud of that commet after your family members, peers, or even work relationships see that exclamation? Or would wait to get online talk about them later?

What is your ethic and where do you stand online and offline…and are they the same voice? Are we telling the same story? I think we (including myself) need to check ourselves at the door from time to time.