2014: The Year to Be Countercultural

By now we’ve all made those resolutions for 2014 and maybe even started to break a few. And, the big snow storm in Atlanta really got us off track … literally. Sitting in my car for many hours during that snow showed me that most of us want to reach out to others. Not just our loved ones but other people too in times of crisis and in times of happiness. We want to interact with each other not on our devices but face-to-face.

Sure, social media was burning up during the Snow Jam but it was the person-to-person interactions that reassured me the most. The guys who walked up and down the street checking on people in their cars and pushing them up hills. Other Good Samaritans reached out to those stuck and even opened up their homes. Businesses stayed open and offered people food and shelter. For the most part, we naturally seek out other humans to interact with because it makes us feel safe and secure.

With that said, my resolution for 2014 is to talk to more people face-to-face. Yes, I still need to build my followers on Twitter, post blogs, and participate in conference calls but I really want to talk to people in person so I can see their face and reactions and they can see mine. I’m also going to recommend to clients that some type of face-to-face communication be part of their public relations strategy.

I’m not alone in this. Most people still prefer this type of “engagement.” In their award-winning book called “The Face-to-Face Book: Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace,” authors Ed Keller and Brad Fay discover:

  • 90% of recommendations that lead to consumer action happen offline.
  • People perceive face-to-face communication as more optimistic and credible.
  • 75% of all conversations in the U.S. still occur face-to-face.
  • 10% of all conversations are over the Internet as chats, emails, texts, etc.

In this age of trendy new devices, apps, and social media, that’s downright countercultural!

It’s understandable because who hasn’t had a text, email or Tweet that’s been misinterpreted. Even with an emoticon it can be hard to determine what someone means. If that same statement had been made in person, you would be able to pick up all those other cues — tone of voice, body language, facial expressions — that make up our common language.

So join me in being countercultural this year. In fact, let’s sit down and have a face-to-face conversation about it!