It’s kinda funny, really. Here we are, spending all day working online with world-wide Internet access, and yet it’s so easy to cut yourself off from the rest of the world. Does working online isolate you from the world or are you tuning the rest of the world out so you can work online? And, either way, how does it effect your business?
Let’s face it, one of the biggest reasons people hate their jobs is because of the people they have to work with. If you could eliminate the Office Gossip or the Office Jerk or the Office Slacker, that office job would be a lot easier to take. And that’s what makes working online so attractive for most people, the idea that they can work from home and, well, avoid people. They choose to isolate themselves from the world and working online allows them to do just that.
On the flip side are those people who are isolated from the world because they work online and, in a way, this is a choice, too. They’re highly focused on their business and don’t want the distraction of dealing with other human beings. You might call them “Workaholics” or “Type A Personalities” because they’re driven to succeed. So much so that they’re willing to isolate themselves away from all distractions. In fact, isolation isn’t even a conscious choice, it’s more like a result of their work ethic.
In the end, though, we all have to deal with the fact that we’re humans, and humans, by nature, require human interaction. The reason movies about the apocalypse or the end of the world are always so successful is because they confront a basic human fear: What if you were the only person left on Earth? Yet, day in and day out, millions of bloggers around the world sink deeper and deeper into isolation, whether by choice or circumstance, while they have the potential to communicate with people all over the world.
Obviously, there are benefits from shutting yourself off from the rest of the world. You have fewer distractions so you can focus on your business, and if you’re the type of person who prefers to be alone, well, so much the better.
But there are several drawbacks to isolation, too. For one thing, in those “last man on Earth” movies or the movies with guys who get stuck in solitary confinement for months on end, the person usually goes insane because there’s nobody to talk to and they end up eating spiders and bugs, just for the heck of it. So if you’re going into self-imposed isolation, at least get yourself a dog or a parrot so you have someone to talk to.
You also risk alienating your audience when you cut yourself off from the world. If you don’t interact with them via emails or comments then they’re going to feel snubbed. And if you completely isolate yourself you miss out on current news and events that has an impact on your audience. You’ll alienate them simply because you’re no longer relevant.
Trust me. I’m a Type A personality and I’ll be the first to admit that I love the isolation of working online. But I also realize that I communicate better with my readers if I get out into the real world at least once a week and make real human connections. After all, that’s what your readers are – real humans. And it’s easy too lose sight of that fact if you’ve cut yourself off from the rest of the world.