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Back slaps feels best in person

Over the last few weeks I’ve seen everything from pregnancies, to new jobs, to award wins, to new business wins announced on Twitter – this isn’t unusual – it is a quick and easy way to get a message out to lots of people quickly. 

But then you get the celebrations – all also conducted online. People love to congratulate each other on ‘x event’ and display their emotions for all to see. It may be that congratulations have already been sent via a personal text message or phone call (or soon will be) but there is still an expectation that it will be said online to show everyone else that they are said it too - perhaps it even adds to the impact to congratulate in front of peers…

There is no harm in this but I hope that what is said online is also said in a more personal way – that is, if the person you’re congratulating really means something to you. I know that when we announced my pregnancy we wanted to tell everyone that mattered face-to-face, as it was important to share that moment with him or her in person. Perhaps that’s it – face-to-face is spared for those who matter and everyone else can find out online…. And perhaps real congratulations are also shared face-to-face and the online congrats are simply an add-on. If they happen in isolation I can’t help but thinking they are given as a formality or an excuse to reach out to someone.

The nature of social networks is that we are connected to a lot of people and it might be nice to receive congratulations from an old work colleague, when you don’t see them anymore.  But it could be at risk of watering down that same congratulatory note from someone you regard more highly. In a genuine relationship with someone that really matters, nothing is better than a shake of the hand, backslap or a big hug.

This observation has led me to make a resolution – next time I tweet, text or email a ‘well done’ to someone I really care about, I must remember to follow that up with a phone call, or better still tell them face to face. Saying it in person means so much more.  

Image from Coral Creative.

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