Virtual Joy

I’m so happy for you.

My good friend Rebekka Steg is leaving one fine company, Oracle, to join another, Dropbox.

And my first reaction upon hearing that was how happy I am for her, and for the people she’s worked with, and will. She’s the real deal Rebekka.

It got me wondering about how pure the relationships on social media can be, and what we can learn from that and perhaps even reapply to real life. (Does anyone say IRL anymore?)


Often we want to except our #SoMe contacts as being less than real, less than whole. Its just social media we say to ourselves. And while there are whiners, posers and phoneys on line, those same beings exist in your office too. In real life.

Like the majority of my #SoMe contacts [see me on Twitter, LI, Pinterest, G+, et al] Rebekka and I have never met in person. But we’ve managed to connect enough so that I look forward to her tweets, her updates on LinkedIn and in general hearing about her career adventures and progress.

And therein lies the value of #SoMe.

The value we overlook by dismissing it as “just” social media.

You see, in a connected world the transparency and the constancy are the key. Over time we can see who people really are, even if they can’t see it themselves. (See Johari’s Window). Over time we see the resonance or the disconnect between who you are and who you say you are. And we get to decide how we feel about that.

We’re less encumbered by the physical appearance, and the age differences, and the language and the geography. Social media obviates much of that so we’re able to feel the way we do about each other because of the ways we interact.

Because of the way we show up day after day.


True, #SoMe can foster snap judgment, the instant like or dislike. That instantaneous reactivity is its bane as well. So we learn to be careful with it much as we do a sharp kitchen knife. We learn to be judicious, to parse our thoughts, to choose our words and to seek first to understand as Covey would have asked.

We learn that even the simplest idea of less than 140 characters can be misunderstood and in our haste to tweet, post and write we can confuse people. Or annoy them. Or even hurt them.

#SoMe teaches us to slow down even as it enables us to speed up so we can make sure we are interacting not just broadcasting.

Effective use of #SoMe is not about friends and followers and Klout, its about the connection. The touch points between us all encouraged and enriched by the medium itself. We can deepen our interests and communications with each other precisely because we don’t get caught up in the physical appearance.

Virtual becomes virtuous

People in your virtual world are as real as you let them be. Revel in that expanded network, that enlarged space. Enjoy the worldwide reach of shared ideals and ideas. Immerse in and drink from the well of talent and care so willingly given.

And when a friend gets a new job, takes a promotion, moves, gets married or celebrates the birth of a baby, take joy in that too, just as you were there.

For you are.

Congratulations Rebekka.




3 thoughts on “Virtual Joy

  1. Thank you so much Christopher, I really appreciate it – and you know I think you’re the real deal too.
    And also very wise words, I think too frequently people underestimate the power of Social Media and the online world – I know I have made some of my closest friends through SoMe. Some of them I’ve ended up meeting in person, others not, but they all bless my life in so many ways.
    Once again, thank you so much, it really means a lot to me.

    • You are so welcomed Rebekka. I agree that sometimes we don’t value the potential of virtual relationships as much as we might: its nice we’re thinking about that more and more. Thank you for your comments and good luck in the new position!

  2. Pingback: Post #300: Reflections on the Blog + the ‘Realness’ of Online Interactions | Becky's Kaleidoscope

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