Tuesday, September 14, 2010

No substitute for "face time"

The Internet is a fabulous connector of people. The world truly does become smaller when total strangers can view a video or Google a phrase and find the perfect person to provide just the service they need. My business would not exist without the World Wide Web. My only regret is that I don't have enough to time to surf all of the Web and social networking sites I'd like to.

My clients come from everywhere, and quite often our relationships are restricted to e-mail and phone calls. Despite the limitations of electronic communications, we do become close. This past weekend, however, I was reminded of how important it is meet my authors in person. It is a truly magical experience after all the disembodied conversations we have shared.

Rob (yes, that's his real name) and I met for the first time last Friday when I picked him up from the airport. We greeted each other like long-lost relatives and spent the weekend sharing meals, great conversation, and long hours of working on his book. I taught a writing class on Monday night, and Rob graciously agreed to share his experiences as a new author with my students.

They were enchanted. I could have explained for weeks on end what Rob conveyed in one short hour. No amount of theory is as real or convincing as hearing someone share what he has learned, often the hard way, on his way to becoming a published author.

In today's world, people—especially young people—spend a disproportionate amount of time talking to each other over the airwaves. They may think that's real communication, but from the perspective of someone who grew up having to share a phone with my whole family, it is a poor substitute for standing in the same space and actually looking at the person I'm talking to.