Celebrity speaker Mike Handcock, billed as “New Zealand’s only Global Speaking Fellow and international bestselling author on entrepreneurship,” is urging small business owners to reduce their use of social media in favour of “authentic relationships and purposeful business,” which he says are the real keys to successful business.
Handcock said: “Relationships remain the core of business success throughout the world and contrary to what many people say, you cannot have a relationship through social media. You go online to take people offline.
“Social media is only useful in so far as it provides a huge pond of potential customers, but as soon as you make contact, take them offline and start focussing on relationship – nobody wants to do business with machines; we want authentic connection.”
Handcock’s dig at social media appears to be an attempt to raise awareness of The Global Speakers Summit, to be hosted at Sky City in Auckland in late February by the National Speakers Association of New Zealand (NSANZ), which he will chair.
However he is far from alone in trying to discourage use of social media. Health food company, Sanitarium, last week issued a press release saying: “Growing dependence on digital devices and social media could be having a negative impact on Kiwi waistlines according to a new Ministry of Health report.”
According to Sanitarium, “The Ministry's report found that watching television while eating increased food intake in children, adolescents and adults, even in the absence of food advertisements, and that this effect may also be present with other screens including computers and phones.”
Trouble is, this was old news: the Ministry’s report, How We Eat, came out in May 2017.
Sanitarium nutritionist Stephanie Polson said more awareness was needed on the impact of distracted eating on New Zealand children - growing up with access to digital content at their fingertips.
“Watching TV or your phone while eating can prevent us from focusing on our eating behaviour - where we would normally be more attuned to internal processing food cues as well as being able to exert a habitual dietary restraint,” she said.
While Handcock’s and Sanitarium’s attacks on social media are clearly self-serving, they are not without substance. Usage is growing, and New Zealanders appeared to be among the most enthusiastic.
According to a report from online marketing specialist Adhesion, published in January. “The amount of time people spend on social media is expected to increase yet again during 2018. … More specifically, 81 percent of online Kiwis use YouTube, 79 percent use Facebook and 46 percent use Instagram (more than most countries including Australia, US and UK).”