How to deal with lack of social presence

2 min readSep 8, 2021

This is a work-in-progress post on social presence. Let me know what you think. I will come back to this post and edit it.

Full post will be available in 2 weeks in

There is something about face-to-face interaction that is missing when communicating online. At least this is the impression people often have at the beginning. This missing piece is social presence also called immediate intimacy.

When talking face-to-face people send out signals that say “hey, I’m not just physically present, but I’m listening to you”. Smiles are invitations to continue talking. Hand gestures underline the message. All this is gone in the 2d world of online text. So what now?

Option 1: Do not talk online

The first option is to accept the lack of social presence in online communication as such a big obstacle that it should be avoided at all costs. This means:

  • only co-located meetings
  • no email, go and talk with your colleagues
  • don’t text family and friends, go and visit them
  • don’t move far away from those you love and for sure do not move abroad
  • don’t use social media or WhatsApp or any other similar tool

Option 2: Replicate face-to-face settings

  • use virtual reality for all your online meetings
  • if virtual reality isn’t an option, use video meetings with everyone’s camera on

Option 3: Learn to be present online

Make your messages come to life by including

  • audio (check out Yac)
  • video (check out Loom)
  • emojis
  • pictures
  • gifs

Be explicit. Say things like:

  • I’m glad to hear from you
  • I’m there for you
  • My DMs are open
  • I can help you with …
  • I heard you did ….

I write early in the morning, when the kids are asleep, the birds are singing, and the trucks are passing below my window. Next to me a cup of coffee. Help me stay fueled, buy me a coffee. Thank you.




Behind every problem is a web of connectors and links. I look for patterns and offer solution. — I’m also raising 4 humans: I know problems can be solved.