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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMun8MqmKyc&w=560&h=349]

Every year at SXSW I happen upon Jeff Pulver, known most recently for producing the 140 Character Conference. When I see Pulver I simply turn the camera on him and he goes on an impassioned rant about how we’re connecting and engaging in social media. This year, Pulver’s rant was about the fact that social media isn’t just about engagement, but rather we’re really starting to touch people in a meaningful way. Even before the Internet we’ve had social media and communicated and we moved people. Why should it be any different to be moved by a tweet or a Facebook post? As Pulver notes, social media is becoming more soulful and more meaningful. We’re starting to say things that are affecting people in a spiritual way. The Internet is filled with unintended consequences, said Pulver. If you’re going to engage, be prepared to respond if you’re successful and touch someone’s soul. This is not just a person-to-person social networking issue. Brands have to deal with the humanization of their own brand. A company is not just a press release or a logo. There’s a human dealing with the communications. “If a customer is emotional and opens up to you, you’re allowed to open up as well. You’re allowed to be a person,” Pulver said. “Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. You’ll be surprised that you’re not alone on this planet.”