Online, in technology jargon or terminology, indicates something that is connected, while offline something that is dis-connected. Yet...
When we spend so much time meeting new people and balancing those encounters with people we may already know in person, our communications flatten a little.
They become broader as they get thinner.
Imagine you have a wallop of dough, as you knead it and start making it wider, it necessarily becomes thinner...
So do conversations
Do we dilute ourselves? Maybe a little. What I observe is that everyone comes to it with their own persona -the authentic self we like to put forth as we spread our own content and impressions. Online can also mean scheduled. With many blogging and now Twitter services, you can post for tomorrow, tonight.
Have you scheduled posts, for example when you travel, or if you accept guest posts at your blog? It's a great way to provide a spring board for someone else to meet your readers, and for your community to learn from a new point of view.
It's different with email
Email is still very personal - it's in you in box. It's something that comes directly into your space, where you correspond with those friends who have a priority line on your attention. I'm not counting pitches, of course. To date, the good ones have been few and far between.
Your mail inbox is sacred. Many protect themselves from spam by asking you to identify yourself via a software tool. Others have the unsubscribe reflex - they pull the trigger as soon as the email hits the box. All I'm going to say is that the delete key is a beautiful and vibrant member of my keyboard.
Offline on time
It's even harder to find the time to meet in person these days. That's probably why email has become a welcome substitute to making a call. You have a few minutes, want to connect with someone, you fire off an email. But wait, weren't you connected online?
Nice try. There are just so many things that you can say in a much more private setting. Email is that much more private - and if you have credibility and honor - safe haven where the real business gets under way.
That's why it's more important than ever to make sure that your customers and potential contacts have invited you in their inbox. It's their offline world.
Which one do you prefer as a private method to contact you? Direct tweet, phone call, email? Or is it all out in the open?