Do you know anti-social

Social media are "unsocial"

Facebook, XING, Twitter and Co. produce loose contacts at best, but no reliable career networks

Facebook, Xing, Twitter and recently Google+ are enjoying increasing popularity. Many millions of people are active on the various platforms every day, networking and sharing thoughts and information with others. Some people use so-called social media almost exclusively for private purposes, others, however, in order to be more successful in business and to come into contact with relevant decision-makers or target groups. But virtual contacts are not resilient and reliable relationships. Only a few people manage to achieve the added value on the Internet that they are hoping for: for example, more sales, valid relationships with buyers or colleagues, or greater awareness.

Contact initiation?

Social media are well suited for establishing initial contact and for collecting information. They are also useful for communicatively maintaining contact. But the number of friends on Facebook, contacts on XING or followers on Twitter says little about a person's own relationship value. It cannot be deduced from this whether and, if so, how far your own network really supports you when it matters. A button is clicked quickly, a contact is quickly confirmed - but knowing, understanding and supporting each other is something else. Almost nowhere is there so much whitewashing and self-expression as in social networks. There you can look even less behind the beautiful facade than in real life - a circumstance that makes trust difficult and inevitably disappoints. The personal impression cannot be replaced by Facebook, XING and Twitter. The virtual, optical impulse on the net is no substitute for the intuitive gut feeling that one person triggers in another when faced with him.

“I like it” is not a proof of love

But anyone who wants to be professionally successful needs real relationships with other people. The decisive industry tip, the best recommendation and good advice rarely come from the Internet. All of this comes primarily from partners, colleagues, friends, employees and other personal acquaintances - from real life and work. The social media can generate a lot of initial contacts and fulfill the function of a self-updating address book, but they do not lead to relationships in the first step. However, social media are a practical way to maintain contacts and maybe later convert them into a relationship.

Social media as a tool

As a communication and information platform, social media are therefore worth gold. Innovations and current information about the person, the memory, happy birthday and professional and private changes are "delivered free of charge" - a great tool. But just an aid. What was previously noted in the memory or in the notepad is now known by the social network. And yet: How personal is the birthday wish via XING compared to a handwritten letter or personal congratulations? People are social beings and not virtual message recipients. Today, those who call in person or send a suitable small present stand out.

Nobody has been promoted because they broke the 5,000 friend mark on Facebook - but many because they were able to set the right personal relationship levers in motion. “Relationships only hurt those who don't have one” - this business truism remains unchanged. Therefore, it is often better to actively participate in events, to attend the company party or to join real career networks than to gather virtual contacts.

"Better than twenty real friends in key positions than 1000 contacts on the Internet."

If loose contacts are to become stable relationships that promote one's own career, these five rules should be observed:

  1. Loose Internet contacts should promptly follow personal conversations, because business is always done by people who know and trust each other.
  2. The principle of quality instead of quantity applies. More than 40 to 60 really strong relationships can hardly be actively cultivated. Relationships are work and also require being interested in and participating in other people's lives.
  3. Reliability and honesty are decisive success factors. Only those who keep what they promise virtually and in real life can count on positive reactions, recommendations and support.
  4. You must first invest in relationship networks before you can make use of them. First give, then take and always stay active is the motto. Creating benefits and keeping an eye on the benefits of others is in demand and pays off in the long term.
  5. Patience is a virtue - especially in strategic career networks. Anyone who expects quick success and immediate income can easily speculate. Whether in your own company, associations, business clubs or contact exchanges - trust has to grow first. And trust is the basis of success.


Social media are “unsocial” - at least as long as purely virtual contacts remain. Their strategic use for their own career goals should be critically questioned. Sometimes less is more here. The mix is ​​crucial - virtual presence and participation in social networks is fundamentally helpful, but what is decisive in the end is real dialogue and personal communication. To be successful means to let it “humane” personally.