Twitter and Facebook have become omnipresent.
Access is built into almost every wired and wireless device. It’s exciting and it’s creepy.
The onset (onslaught) of new technology is so rapid I wonder how many people take time to ponder the broader implications of such rapid changes in communication style. Technology is amoral. The way we use it decides whether it will harm or help.
Facebook: A great way to keep in touch with people (particularly those overseas). It’s also a quick and easy way to look up that girl that flirted with you when you were 19, and toy with some dumb fantasy in which you basically cheat on your spouse. In the situation of relationship breakdown things can get very messy indeed on social media. Some even cite tools like Facebook as being a factor that lead to divorce.
The Internet allows both convenience and faux anonymity. Two factors that lead us to do things that we would not normally do in other environments or contexts. Those of us that have made heroic messes of our life at times (like me) need to be careful what we devote our time to.
As at the beginning of 2010 Facebook demographics are changing rapidly. The biggest growth area is that of ages 55+, followed by aged 35-55. Ages 18-24 are trending downwards (as a percentage) – a year ago this group made up 40% of Facebook users, now they are 25%.
The Great Twitter Experiment
Twitter’s had some great press over the last 12 months prompting explosive user growth, yet I believe that few use it regularly.
Twitter: Narcissist’s dream come true or builder of deep and abiding relationships?
My experience with twitter has shown that the former could have some truth, and the latter – not so much. It’s a great tool for getting blog updates, and inspiring words from great thinkers. Outside of that it’s a little weird to tell people what you’re doing as you’re doing it.
Life becomes a commentary rather than… life.
There is a great temptation to make Twitter a rollercoaster of highlights – carefully devoid of anything that is not a highlight. Here’s some tweets that you don’t see a lot of:
“I’m desperately lonely today”
“Just had a brutal argument with my husband”
“Sat in a chair and watched TV for 5 hours straight. I’m so bored.”
I guess nobody wants to read that stuff, so we make out that life is a nonstop fun-parade.
Social media is not a way to build deep and abiding friendship. It allows you to throw your net of superficiality to places you never thought possible. Without these tools you would have little to do with most of the friends/followers. That’s because with social media most communication becomes unintentional. You broadcast yourself, and hope that people are watching/listening. Yet the bigger the net of superficiality, the more of a blip on the horizon you become.
I know people who have 200+ friends on Facebook, and yet tell me face to face that they don’t really have any real friendships.
The question is: Are we still lonely? Surely the Internet with its wondrous ways of finding anyone anywhere would make us feel more connected?
I’m not seeing that. But I do see people becoming ‘commodified’ – items to fit into our agenda and to-do lists.
Maybe instead of taking 2 seconds to type out a ‘tweet’, I need to take 20 minutes to make a phone call.