Many people say social media will never replace a 1-to-1 connection with a donor, claiming that relationships cannot happen or lack authenticity on Facebook and Twitter. While I agree that social media is a different kind of communication, I don’t believe that means that eliminates a real connection.
These tools have allowed people to develop a whole new kind of relationship with people. I know people who are advocating for 20 or 30 nonprofits by voting and commenting on various social media platforms. Using Twitter and blogging I’ve had an opportunity to connect with people from all over the world, many of whom I will never meet in a 1-to-1 setting. But, that does not mean that I have not established real relationship or connections with these people. These relationships have been important for me in creating my regular work plans, network me to other donors, and help me take the temperature on my community. On a personal side these relationships have provided me vacation advice, professional references, and even celebrate my birthday.
Social media has provided an opportunity for us to have another kind of relationship. People search the internet for relationships, shop online, and look communities to join. I don’t think the 1-to-1 connection will ever go away. But, with the emergence of Facebook Friends, LinkedIn Connections, Twitter Followers, etc. we have an opportunity to invest in relationships on a large scale. Through status updates we can keep track of a larger number of people than ever before.