Home > Social Networking > The thing about social networking…

The thing about social networking…

…is that it’s not altogether social. It’s antisocial, at worst. At best, it’s a social simulator.

Take Facebook, for example. It’s a network, sure. But social? While it does allow me to reconnect via the Internet to people that I’ve met over the years, it is no substitute for spending real quality time with them, in person. I can take a stand with the click of a group-joining button, but never go beyond that to support a cause in reality. A private email conversation without all the Farmville and Mafia Wars updates is more social.

Twitter, despite the fact that it does get populated with a lot of useless updates, feels more social to me. Not only does it allow me to communicate (sometimes practically in real-time) with people I already know, but it also gives me the chance to make new connections with people I’ve never met before. Where Facebook is good for building a snapshot of who I’ve connected with in the past, Twitter is much more flexible when it comes to the opportunities to forge new ties. If you’re following the right people, Twitter can actually turn into a creative and inventive outlet too. Furthermore, breaking news via Twitter is becoming a big deal – even though the stories are sometimes absolutely wrong (the death of Jeff Goldblum) or outright hoaxes (Balloon Boy).

I’m okay with both as social simulators, though. I’ve met a lot of people over the years. We’re spread all over the country and the world now. I couldn’t possibly spend as much quality time with them all as I want to. They’re busy; I’m busy. We’ve all got hectic lives. So, I’ll take what I can get, which is more than I might have had without Facebook and Twitter.

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