What is social about social networking? That is a question I’ve been asking myself for a while. There is a lot of interaction with the computer and by extension other people who are using their computers but it is far from truly a “social” experience, right?
I don’t really know where I stand on these questions. I have used electronic communications as part of my everyday existence for so long that I really cannot imagine a life unplugged. Much of that communication has been for business but a substantial portion has been with friends and family. That sounds like the very definition of social to me. And yet there is something distinctly unsocial (perhaps even antisocial) about relationships that are purely based on electronic communications — the complete lack of physical face to face human interaction.
When TWTTR first emerged it was an SMS service with the simple idea of enabling friends to let each other know what they were up to. But that was geeky and boring and unprofitable and so now a significant number of tweets have nothing in them about what a person is doing. Most of them have a url and a lot of them are intended to sell something. That is Twitter in 2010. (And yes this blog uses twitter to get traffic too.)
Facebook was fun at first — catching up with people who I’d not talked to in nearly 20 years was cool. Finding some people who I was sure I would never hear from again was awesome. Even the games were fun at first. But then it settled down and the games and apps began to get old. There was a growing sense that the lil green patch couldn’t possibly be doing anything to help the environment. And gradually there was a realization that maybe the reason I’d lost touch with some of those “old friends” was because we really didn’t have all that much to say to each other anymore.
Suddenly I find that most of my facebook time is with people that I do have real relationships with. But that we are no longer calling each other or even emailing each other. Suddenly online social activity is replacing REAL social activities! And that doesn’t seem so social.
And one more thing…I was not a fan of my high school when I was 17 why on earth would I become a fan on Facebook?