Curated Leadership for Today's World

Are we living in a material world, or should I be a virtual girl?

Posted on 04 August 2011

outer-space-virtual-world1I was on a conference call today with several tremendous individuals and the name Reid Hoffman came up. Reid is the founder of LinkedIn, which is the social-networking site for business connections. While researching Mr. Hoffman I came across an interesting quote. He recently said, “Social networks do best when they tap into one of the seven deadly sins. Facebook is ego. Zynga is sloth. LinkedIn is greed.”

As a social-networking genius, Mr. Hoffman’s honesty is refreshing. We get hammered by affiliate marketers and search-engine experts telling us these very sites are a necessity for survival in today’s marketplace. Without them, we’ll sink to the bottom of the rankings in a sea of virtuality, never to be seen again. But as a small business owner, is this all there is?

Are we simply the sum of our collective tweets, LinkedIn groups, and Facebook posts? If this is true, can businesses exist, let alone thrive, on virtual value alone? Are Facebook hugs as potent as physical hugs? Are my thousands of Twitter followers really listening to me? What’s organic and what’s synthetic in the world of all things social media?

A young boy climbed downstairs to tell his mother he was too scared to fall asleep alone in his dark room. His mother told him he had nothing to fear because God was with him. She told the little one to go upstairs and get to sleep. Thirty minutes later the little boy returned. His mother asked, “Didn’t I tell you God was with you?” He said, “Yes, but I’d prefer something with skin on.”

My father, the late Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, amassed a library of thousands of books throughout his lifetime, many of them priceless first editions and historical biographies. When he passed, those treasures made their way into countless hands to change their lives as they had his. What if he had accumulated all of these on Kindle? Could he have bequeathed his lifetime journey to others? Not until every book ever written is published in an electronic format and everyone on the planet has the same technological platforms readily available. Then, all we’ll have to worry about is sunspots, natural disasters, and world wars knocking everything off the grid.

Most people believe that the meaning of life is to leave the world a better place than they found it. Pass It On and Servant Leadership have become our mantras as we evaluate everything we do in both our professional and personal lives. Now I love social media, but I also love interacting one-on-one. I like to think I’m bilingual. I can communicate in both languages. They key, as with all things in life, is balance. As long as you walk among the material and virtual with balance, you’ll be able to get the best out of both worlds and speak to everyone in their native tongues.

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