Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The digital age

Back in college one of my high school friends came across a new thing on the internet and promptly roped me into it. It was one of the first “networking” or “social” websites. If memory serves, it was something called Circles. It was fun for about a week. Not too long after that Friendster came out, so we all ditched Circles and signed up. Again, fun for a couple weeks as you tracked down people you hadn’t seen/heard from in a while, but then our interest fizzled out. Enter MySpace. Again, another mad rush to sign up, call on the same people to be your official friends, play with some of the more novel features, and then lose interest. A couple weeks ago I was mildly peer pressured into joining Facebook.

My resistance was due to an inevitable repeat of the cycle outlined above. Did I really need yet *another* website floating around in the ether with my name and info on it? Was it going to be of lasting interest? Would I get anything out of it?

So far it’s been true to form. I found a lot of the same people that I’d found on the previous sites. I also found quite a few I hadn’t – that was cool. I never did go back for my 10 year high school reunion so I was happy to see some folks I was actually curious about. But once those first few weeks passed, it’s back to “meh” status. The initial mad rush to find and be found is over. The messages and updates are few and far between. (Though the IM’ing function was cool last week).

What I don’t understand is that the people who I already have email addresses for (and some phone numbers!) message me more via MySpace or Facebook than they do via regular email (or over the phone). Do we really need that extra layer of technology between us? Do you really not think of me unless you happen to see my profile picture? I find it strange. Perhaps we’re more voyeuristic than we’d like to admit. We like to check in on people by looking at their profiles and updates but heaven forbid we actually make some sort of contact with them. [Gasp!] That just might lead to an actual conversation! Heaven forbid!

I won’t play a complete hypocrite here, there are some people that I am curious about but not curious enough to start a conversation. I’ll admit it. What I’m more confused by are the people I consider closer friends than that.

I’m also surprised at the number of people who made a point to invite me to be their friend when I barely knew them in high school/college/grad school/here. No note. No message. Just the invite. I feel used – like they’re just trying to inflate their “friend” numbers. Whatever. Monopoly money as far as I’m concerned.

I guess blogging is just another, less involved version of the social/networking websites. Hell, some of them you can even post blogs to. I choose to view my blog more as a “mass email” for sharing news/ideas/humor than anything else. I know you all can keep some tabs on me with it, and I do the same to you. But if it’s something important, you’ll get a personal email. Or, (are you sitting down?) an actual phone call. Promise.


Post a Comment

<< Home