I love the ‘social’ in social media. The Creative Director at 3H says: Social Media is the new way of networking… and she is absolutely right. Just think, every time you post a comment to a group discussion on Linkedin, or stumble upon a peer’s blog, when you have something to say… it starts the social networking process. We aren’t going to an event nor do we have a glass of wine in our hands (or maybe we do!), but the premise is the same. Meeting people (peers, or contacts) connecting in a way that adds value. As we evolve in our own social media worlds, it’s nice to see that online social behavior is pretty much the same as it is in real life settings. People help people, share secrets, share stories, complain, compliment…

Recently, we started a discussion within a peer group on Linkedin which lead to one of my colleagues, Miriam Hara, to participate and comment on a post, outside of our blog… outside of any of our usual social media circles. Unknown to us, Miriam’s image did not appear beside her post. We were pleasantly surprised to be notified by Andrew, the voice behind SteinVox, the blog where we had participated in a discussion. He notified Miriam that her image was not beside her post and took the time to write Miriam an email, advising her of the issue and providing her the information to fix the issue. We had already set up and created an account with Gravatar but I guess something was amiss…  so we simply updated the image and it appeared. What left a smile on our face was the gesture from Andrew, that he took the time to explain this to us, someone we had only online interaction with. Just before the holidays I wrote a post about random acts of kindness that spoke to human interaction…This is in the same league.

So what is Gravatar? Gravatar is associated with WordPress and it is brilliant. Your “Gravatar” is an image of you that appears beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog.  This image helps identify your posts on blogs and web forums. It is very simple to do, and it’s free!

social networking

Simple features such as a Gravatar add to our overall virtual experience and make social media seem more real. Furthermore, social media is continuously finding ways to help bridge the gap between online and offline communication by discovering ways to make social networking more “social.” No matter where we are or what we do, we are able to  stay connected with friends and family through the virtual world and this is something that was not available prior to the introduction of social networking. We now have the ability to have multiple conversations on-the-go. We can form new relationships and strengthen existing ones regardless of location and even time zones.

Humans have an innate drive for interpersonal communication and the need to form relationships. We are social creatures and new technology such as social media helps to fulfill our social need and ultimately brings us closer together. On a professional level, it is simply awesome. It has never been easier to interact with people that have like-minded interests within the business community…worldwide…instantly.