To abstain from social media is to largely and (sometimes) voluntarily dis-integrate the self from the social collective…By using [Randal Collins theory of Interaction Ritual Chains (IRC)] to describe how lack of digital engagement threatens solidarity and promotes isolation I not only argue against his technology thesis, but turn it on its head…Interaction partners often continue physical conversations in digital spaces—recapitulating events, adding new conversation content, and making plans for future meetings. The ritual does not so much start and stop as it merely changes form.
I could not agree more with Jenny. Abstention is a dangerous game when it comes social inclusion, especially looking at small groups of individuals across a digital and physical space. Perhaps the most salient point made here is there is the digital and physical divide is eroding when it comes to interactions, emotional connections and relationships. Looking at a small group of people, for example on Twitter, it is one thing to be a part of a ‘twitter group’ with various online rituals, but that does not fulfill all the emotional requirements to form a lasting and meaningful bond; there needs to be a real-world interaction.
I think that this is particularly interesting point to consider when we start thinking about how the social space is evolving and how to create meaningful relationships that carry across the digital and physical worlds, slowly coming to a point where there is almost no distinction. There are not only implications here for individuals and groups, but for the brands as well; what could this mean for brands trying to create true, positive relationships with customers? Is there a way for brands to ‘get in on’ this type of relationship building with consumers?