Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Social Network Tango

I'm not much of joiner. I don't belong to any clubs. I don't do organized volunteering. I've only rarely been involved in any kind of professionial organization. I never even liked the chatrooms when I subscribed to AOL. So this social networking gig is like pulling hair.

But I'm forcing myself to do it, both as research for work and, frankly, because it's not healthy to be a hermit. I've signed up for Facebook already. This weekend, I joined Linked In. I hope to find a few others to jump into--such as Change.org.

Already I've noticed a few interesting things about these spaces. The relationships these sites foster really are different. Specifically, they spend enormous energy to support, encourage, maintain, and grow very tenuous connections. These are the "friends of my mom's boss" kind of connections.

In the old days, we'd relegated those people to our contacts file or Christmas card list. Now they can be right in front of your face, all the time, any time. Just like real friends. Only this is a new kind of friendship. Perhaps a better description would be "deep acquaintances" or "close contacts."

I'm not the first to notice this. But it's new to me. And like new boots, it's gonna take some time to get use to it before I can kick ass.

Interestingly enough, when I search for old friends or school friends on these networks, I find none. Birds of a feather, guess...

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