When social media feels like work: Networking with an over-stimulated audience

“It feels like work.” Those were the words spoken by a twenty something university student in response to the question, “How active are you on social media?”

“Jane” went on to explain that the insidious nature of social media has taken all of the fun out of it and that it now has become an expectation. As a result, she has abandoned Facebook. She rarely tweets.
When social media feels like work: Networking with an over-stimulated audience

“How do you network?” I ask, completely flummoxed by the conversation.

“Over coffee or during a walk,” she replied.

“Ohhhhhhh… this is a new thing right?” The conversation is getting more and more curious, and I feel like I have slipped down the rabbit hole into an alternate universe.

“No,” she laughs. “It’s not a new thing; it is what we did before social media took over our lives”.


This article was going to be about the differing platforms that are most attractive to Generation Y to help facilitate the exchange of ideas but now has now taken a decidedly different turn.

If the emerging Millennials are beginning to shun social media because it now is feeling like work and if these same Millennials are our future client/participant/attendee, the question now becomes: How can we balance the needs of everyone – the needs of our audience who are now embracing low-tech/Luddite ideology in response to an over-stimulated environment and the needs of our social media addicts who are never far from their smart-phone?

We meet in the middle.

We get to know our audience and then respond accordingly. We recognize that everyone has differing learning styles and embrace both old and new technology.

Here are some great examples of programs, which actively involve participants on many levels:

  • Adrian Segar understands the value of knowing your audience. Adrian is the author of Conferences that Work: Creating Events that People Love (www.conferencesthatwork.com) and is an amazing resource for those in the meeting and conference industry who are willing to step out of the box and try something different. He focuses on highly interactive, innovative, and attendee driven events which equal an experience that folks rarely forget.
  • Meetovation is another interesting concept that is quickly finding its way into the meeting vernacular. Meetovation (www.visitdenmark.com) is a brainchild from Visit Denmark and leverages four elements for a successful meeting: active involvement, responsible thinking, creative set-up and local inspiration.
  • Bl!nk – Do you ever wonder what you miss when you blink? Bl!nk is a unique, rapid-fire presentation concept which was introduced so that attendees can get to know one another in different, meaningful ways and as a result, find connections that they didn’t know existed. These presentations are about what we miss, about discovering the magic among us. It’s a great way for associations to engage new members, curate content and discover connections.

Perhaps one of these are worth a try at your next meeting or conference. Thank you to “Jane” for reminding us that there are ways in which to network, learn and engage that don’t require a Wi-Fi connection.

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