Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Great Equalizer!!!

Social networking media has become the great global equalizer. It pits our best and brightest minds right alongside our…shall we say, suspect intellectuals. From blogging, to Facebook, from MySpace to twitter, from you tube to linked in, social networks have become the panacea for people who can’t bear to have an unpublished thought. At the click of a virtual key our ideas go viral for the world to see and validate… or not! Like democracy at its most functional, the “wheat is separated from the chaff” by how we “vote.” If we like what you have to say then you get tons of positive comments, tons of “…likes your status,” and tons of followers. But by the same token, if we’re bored stiff by your incessant soap box rants and raves, we’ll stop following you, “block” you, or remove you from our blogroll.

Sadly though, the very thing that represents the strength of social networking media is also its weakness. You see, some people haven’t yet learned that not every thought should be published. Do you really think I’m remotely interested in what you had for dinner last night? And seriously, why on earth would I want to “poke” you or “throw” a drink at you? If I don’t do that when I see you in person, trust me when I say that I’m not interested in doing it in cyberspace either. Besides, I don’t really know you like that! The unquestionable benefit of social networking media is found in its ubiquitous nature. You don’t even have to take your personal computer with you any longer in order to be able to access your relational networks anywhere in the world. Your cell phone will do just fine (if you still don’t have a smart phone you probably shouldn’t be on social network media anyway), and in the absence of that you can visit your local library where they have a stock of seldom used internet-ready computers.

Here’s what I love about social networking media: I love the fact that I can find people that I knew in the last century but had lost touch with. I love the idea that I can have a 140-character discussion, or get a 140-character life changing nugget of truth from someone I admire and respect. I love the fact that I can see your family photographs from thousands of miles away, and participate in your vacation as if I was there. I even love the fact that, on Facebook we can agree to disagree on certain issues that we feel strongly about, and still have a bible study together on twitter twenty minutes later, all from the comfort of our individual sofas. But here’s what I don’t like: I don’t want to farm, I don’t want to join your mafia family wars, I don’t want you to “ambush” me with a conversation the second you see me logged onto Facebook (I logged on for a reason believe it or not), and I definitely don’t want you to sell me Percocet, Vicodene, or any other salacious content through comments on my blog!

Oh yes, before I forget, stop “friending” me so I can see your “private pictures” on twitter, Facebook, or any other social network. Finally, in conclusion I’d like to remind you that while you’re enjoying the world becoming a much smaller space through social networking, remember that you’re quotable, and everything you say or do on social network media can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion. Leave a comment!!! :)


Thea said...

I'm offering a big "boo yah" in your general direction....even though I think I may be one of the guilty parties for posting unimportant, uninteresting waste-of-time status updates... None of them, however, include my meals so you have to give me credit there. With 3 children 3 and under and school on my plate, this is often my connection to other adult life-forms and somewhere in my daydream moments I imagine that at least my mom reads the update and smiles :)

Olapeju said...

Social networking gives the ability to reach out and touch. thats all we need - a touch. There is no burden of a returned phone call or e-mail, a promised but never fulfilled visit or even a sameday reply to a comment! When you look at the social terrain you need to cover in your sojourn here, it seems punitive and impossible until you remember the e-enablers! God bless the creators of Linkedin and facebook - my 2 vices!

Ash said...

ha. ha. well said. although, i think i'm about "over it" entirely. i'm on gmail (and therefore gchat and all that google email does) and if someone doesn't care enough to email me once in a blue moon or call (and of course vice versa), then what's fb? eh....perhaps i go through phases. =)

Anonymous said...

I hear you man that is why Arissa and I were so resistant to Face Book. We started one just to get people to our blog if they were interested in updates. Give me a call some time and we will catch up in real life.
Adam P

Zonoma said...

I don't know whether to laugh out loud and cheer you on or apologize for ambushing you on facebook. Guess I'll go with a nervous giggle.

What I love about them is much the same: I get to keep up with friends from all over the world that I've lost touch with - where it would be awkward to try and track down a phone number and call (and kinda creepy!), it is perfectly acceptable to friend them and have the occasional chat. Having lived so many, many different places one ends up with a lot of friends in that category.

What I hate about it is two fold: 1- Emotions cannot be communicated in writing easily and many people have a hard time reading/interpreting things online. I've watched a lot of people alienate friends that way.

2- Online sucks your life if you let it. People forget to go out and live so that they have something interesting to say. They build entire support networks and never meet a single one face to face. Now, an online support group is a fine thing in some circumstances but it is too easy to 'fake' who you are or present a one-sided story and then let your 'friends' egg you on - that leads to bad advice and worse actions.

That's about all I've got to say about that. :)

Joseph said...

Zonoma, well said, I don't think you could have added anything to improve your thoughts here! :)

Adam, nice to hear from you. Trust the family are all well?!