The Importance of IRL in Social Media

When we talk about social media, many think of a bunch of people sending out TMI to their old friends on Facebook and random followers on Twitter.

Lonely hearts spending Friday night’s on OK Cupid. Loads of pictures of Junior doing…well, pretty much everything. Over 200 “S*** so and so Says” videos on YouTube. And, of course that’s part of it.

But it’s not the meat of it.

It’s not what keeps us logging on and checking in and making new connections with like-minded people around the globe. People are social animals. We love to share, don’t we?

Something we often overlook when speaking of social media is the importance of bringing online relationships offline. By bringing online conversations into the “real world,” we are able to see the humanity. When someone is just an avatar and a handle, it’s harder to truly connect and identify with them – to see the differences and the similarities. Connecting via a Facebook group or on Twitter is a great way for a shier person to continue the conversation, but it’s important to think about how to take the next step.

As we approach Social Media Week, I want to touch on one of the things I think it so important about it: the real life connections that people will make, through attending events, through watching panels, through collaborating on projects, through bumping into each other in line for the bathroom at the closing night’s party. Real life, face to face, in the flesh interactions.

The beauty of this interaction is that it can help us make stronger bonds. To develop stronger and better relationships.

When we speak of  collaboration through social media, people coming together to work to bigger and better goals, it’s important to note the importance that personal (IRL, we call it) interactions play in this process.

So, while attending your Social Media Week events, make sure to take a moment to look up from your tablet or smart phone or lap top. That person you are Tweeting with might be somewhere in the room.

Wouldn’t your conversation be so much more fruitful with more than 140 characters?


Briana is a social media professional, community manager and facilitator, obsessed with the ever-changing use of social media platforms as tools to connect people and make lives better. For more of her thoughts on the evolution of social, visit