The holidays are over… most of us are back to the grind. No more eggnog and Bourbon at 11 am. No more catching up with old friends and cradling the newborn additions to the family. Was it a good week off? Yes. And not just from work either, but also perhaps a break from our digital life. Rarely did I look at Twitter or Facebook. Even fewer times did I read my daily Blogs and nerd sites. Hell, I didn’t even watch Hulu! It was as if my entire digital life was on pause.

What’s strange is that I didn’t even miss it. Or rather I didn’t need it. All of my time was spent re-building old relationships. Then before long, I found myself back at work catching up with my digital relationships on Twitter and Facebook and it made me wonder…How far can we take a digital relationship before loosing the personal connection?

As direct marketers we are often using social media to get someone to click on a link, share content, and hopefully go where we want them too. So it’s not a stretch to say that social media is the truest; or rather the closest form of personal relationships in the digital realm. For, in personal relationships we also share tidbits that we think are relevant. Yet somehow it seems more personal. Why? Is there a point where we will need to re-build digital relationships like we do real ones? I think so.

The things that drive digital followers away probably aren’t the same as those that drive our real friends away. Not agreeing on Obama’s Health Care initiative for example isn’t a friendship ender for your personal friends, but it might be for your digital friends (I’m neutral). There are instances where we can push the limits of our digital content - really see what people put up with and what will drive them to follow you, or your brand. This is not un-like a real friend. We’ve all experienced conflict in our personal relationships. For better or worse, those usually end up having a stronger bond for it.

So, I dare say to my fellow digital marketers and social media adventurists: re-build your digital relationships. Then make them personal, and push the limits of your content. Sure, you might loose a few, but I guarantee you gain a more relevant new friends and even evangelists.

Don't believe me? Well Stefana Broadbent is smarter than me and she agrees in this TED Talk on How the Internet Enables Intimacy (below).