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SXSW: Society Needs to Become Less 'Social'

This process did happen in reverse, which was nice, but numerous times, I noticed that somebody in the same room as me followed me on Twitter and/or sent me a connection request on LinkedIn (LNKD - Get Report), but did not make any attempt that I know of to interact socially. In several cases, I know this as fact because I literally saw the other person in the room. And I'm not too hard to find. Short guy. Long hair. Rough shave. Just like my picture online.

In this situation, I really wanted to go up to the person who decided to "connect" with me virtually and say hello, but I wasn't sure of the etiquette. Is the social media request to "connect" with somebody you're in the same room with a blow off? Is it a way of saying this is about as close as I want to get to you?

I hate to read it that way, but wouldn't it make sense to introduce yourself and socially interact in person and then conduct the requisite social media formalities?

Seems to me that you build online social networks as a way of expanding your world. You can't possibly meet everybody in person so LinkedIn, Facebook (FB - Get Report), Twitter and other platforms facilitate the process virtually. But isn't the goal -- or at least the low-level desire -- to meet these people you connect with in person at some point, if practically possible? And shouldn't we prefer live, free-flowing social interaction to both networking and "friending" somebody you could easily spit at from across the room?

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Austin, Texas.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.
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