Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pondering Social Networking

I was reading a friend's blog this evening. She talked about how is overwhelmed with the various social networking sites and how they make her feel like leaving society entirely to live in solitude.

I agree there are so many of these sites that it can be overwhelming at times. I've learned to ignore most of them. However, I do see some profound value in them.

For starters, I saw The Other Boleyn Girl in a friend's Netflix queue. I probably wouldn't have ever watched it on my own. However, since I knew that my friend liked and that there's a certain overlap in the films we like, I made a point of watching it.

And I loved it.

I never would've watched if I hadn't seen it on her Netflix queue. The preview just didn't grab me when I saw it in the theater. However, once I saw it, I loved the film.

Facebook has enabled me to keep up with various people that I knew in high school, that I've seen around town or that I've worked on one project or another. These are folks who aren't my closest of friends, but I still like knowing when something big happens in their life.

Because of Facebook, I found out about two engagements, a marriage and the birth of several children that I wouldn't have otherwise known about.

It's also a good way of arranging a time for everyone to get together in the flesh, which is a challenge with the schedules that some of my friends have. The pizza party at Gracie See's this past Wednesday was simply the latest example of this.

So, yeah. I'm pretty much hooked on Facebook and loving it.

In the interests of keeping my life simple, I've written off MySpace. Because all of their profiles are customizable - and people add so much crap to their MySpace profiles - things often take too long to load.

There's the fact that MySpace allows people to come up with any screen name that they want. That, plus some goofy profiles photos, means I really don't know who some of my MySpace friends really are.

"Love, what does it mean to you?" Interesting question, but that is "name" one of my MySpace friends. I have no idea who he or she is.

It's kind of hard to "network" with someone when you don't know who they are.

Oh, and the fact that some people will have a half dozen or so MySpace profiles is kind of annoying. Again, I'm never really sure who or what I'm networking with.

So, to summarize my entire diatribe, these social networking sites have their advantages. It's just a matter of weeding the good parts out from the bad.

6 comments:

D-Tales said...

Bah. People are in your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. All Facebook et. al. does is eliminate Fate's unpredictable nature. If I'm meant to run into someone later in life and find out about births and weddings and whatnot, it will be much more meaningfull to me if it happens at some random location in person than via status updates on Facebook--Friendships Depersonalized, Inc. Social networking websites have just become another excuse for people to not ACTUALLY interact with each other. I mean, if you're spending all your time pseudo-stalking all your friends' various profiles, you're not out in public actually spending quality time with them. If you want to know what movies I've seen recently and liked, just ask...because otherwise it's a little, well, creepy knowing that you can view my Netflix queue and know everything I've watched and rated and plan on seeing before I've even had the chance to tell you. So when I say, "Oh I saw this, it was good," and you say "I know"--creepy. Save something for the bar, you know?

It's all silly. And borderline stalker-y. I'm through with social networking. If someone wants to get in touch with me, they can call/text/email me so I can dutifully ignore it, as God intended.

David said...

i just got rid of my myspace acct (good riddance) and switched to facebook. i agree with d-tales' argument to a point but must say that facebook now has me back in regular contact with so many people that i simply could not keep up with otherwise.

interestingly, my very closest friends aren't on it, and I have not asked them to join. I wouldn't want our friendships to devolve from hanging out lots to posting lots on each others "Walls" about how we should totally hang out sometime.

D-Tales said...

David, we should totally hang out sometime.

FrankNemecek said...

D-tales: I would ask you on a face-to-face about what movies you really like, if I ever got a chance to SEE you face-to-face.

And since I'm straight, we both know how often that happens.

inprogress said...

D-Tales... I agree, face-to-face communication is becoming a lost art. And it's a good thing that BLOGGING isn't a form of social networking, otherwise you'd be in trouble. Oh, wait...

david... I agree, Myspace is crap on a stick, at best.

Voices in Frank's Head... I agree that if done right, social networking can lead to some meaningful connections.

We are social creatures. Grrr.

darling24_7 said...

I still have people asking me if Ive opened a facebook or myspace account and I havent.

Maybe one day but for now Ill gladly take advantage of the minutes I get with my cell phone.