Thursday, October 28, 2010
I (Anti-Heart) Social Networking...
I've been a traveller in it all the way since its early days...back in the days of text only. Gasp! (My daughter did!) NO pictures. At all.
Remember those days? With "gophers" and other such oddities?
I remember sitting in my dorm room and managing to somehow "surf" into the Oxford University Library. I was so excited I sent a message to whomever it was that was named in the contact box. I felt like I'd flown over there and could actually see and smell the books (all in my head, of course).
The other day, I was explaining to my children how the Internet isn't really all that old. Well, not in its current form, anyway. And it's continually exploding with exciting new features. They were amazed. It wasn't always around? Really?
Online social networking isn't all that old either. In the early days of the Internet, chatrooms were all the rage. With a username you could go into the same ones (if you were lucky to find them again) every day or explore others. It was fun, but it was also a clique-maker. An early and easy way to find yourself on the outside looking in -- but this time with people you didn't really know...at all.
Fast-forward about 15 years.
Now you have Twitter...and it's everywhere.
I joined Twitter about a year after it started.
And I couldn't really figure it all out. What was its purpose? I had a terrible time trying to boil down my thoughts into 140 characters. 140? Really? (It gets easier with practice I learned.)
The newness gone, I just stopped using it.
Then came Facebook...and it's everywhere, as well.
Again, I was left wondering why? What was the purpose? But I was sucked into it and suddenly I reconnected to friends I hadn't seen or heard from in decades.
It seems that it's not necessarily, or actually, a new-friend maker...or an old-friend reconnecter. (Well, not for everyone, anyway. It seems you have to be in the right "crowd," so to speak. Some friends seem to have endless chats with their friends. Idlegrass again.) In fact, I would venture to say I talk less with/to some friends now than I ever did. It's almost like they've "seen" me online so they don't need to chat with me anymore.
In fairness, I've probably fallen into the same trap and talk to/e-mail friends a whole lot less now, too.
So what to do?
I wanted to just quit both worlds (easier said than done, I found out). I felt so discouraged. But I decided to stay on and do an experiment to see if it would get any better.
I returned to Twitter, following a several-year hiatus, and found it was still who you were/who you knew. I tried to connect with people, comment on their tweets, tweet my interest in their daily happenings.
My last personal tweet after a year or more of trying was: "Always on the outside of the window, looking in, nose pressed on the glass, watching the fun.... With that, I'll bid Twitterland goodbye...."
The only one who tweeted back was my then-12-year-old daughter, saying how sad she was for me.
Nothing from anyone else. Not even the crickets.
I guess it was a social-networking-experiment-gone-wrong? Or maybe it worked? It showed me that some people have it; others just don't.
Oh, well. I've never been much of a social butterfly anyway....maybe more of a moth with friends?
...to be continued...