I received a cartoon from a reader that got me thinking about the current sensation known as social networking. Although it's primarily a rage among the younger generation, many older folks are into it as well. Some readers might remember my telling earlier this year about a long-time family friend (and ivman reader, I might add), a widower in his eighties who met a widow in her eighties using eHarmony. They are now happily married.
Anyway, below is the cartoon I received:
Facebook is a intriguing concept and being "friends" on Facebook is an interesting phenomenon. People are able to get back in touch with people that they have known but with whom they've lost contact. It's been great fun to find an old acquaintance on Facebook or to hear from someone out of the clear blue and get caught up on their lives. Once in a while, though, when someone asks me to become friends on Facebook, I really have to think hard to come up with how we know each other. If I can't think of it, I just confirm, rather than hurt someone's feelings. As of this writing, my "friend" count is 632! One colleague (and ivman reader) is 41 friends shy of 2,000! It was fun last week to have over 80 friends "write on my wall" to wish me happy birthday in at least 4 languages, some even offering condolences! Most of those people, however, would never have known or remembered it was my birthday, had it not been for Facebook. There are all kinds of other forms of social networking out there, some better than others, and some far worse than others.
One form of social networking that I have not explored and am not sure I would even want to is Twitter. This fall I attended a workshop during Faculty In-Service called "To Twitter or Not to Twitter." The presenter of the workshop has a business where he requires all his employees to Twitter. I cannot imagine that there would be that many people who would be interested in wanting to get frequent updates on my every movement and thought. Do any of you Twitter? If so, what do you like about it?
I saw a cartoon a while back that kind of sums up what I've seen happen on several blogs I used to visit....
I don't want that to happen to my blog!
Living in an age of technology and almost instantaneous communication, we might be surprised to learn how advanced some older societies actually were....
Ancient Social Networks
After having dug to a depth of 10 meters last year, Scottish scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 100 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago.
Not to be outdone by the Scots, in the weeks that followed, English scientists dug to a depth of 20 meters, and shortly after, headlines in the English newspapers read, "English archaeologists have found traces of 200-year-old copper wire and have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a hundred years earlier than the Scots."
One week later, "The Kerrymen," a southwest Irish newsletter, reported the following: "After digging as deep as 30 meters in peat bog near Tralee, Paddy O'Droll, a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely nothing. Paddy has therefore concluded that 300 years ago, Ireland had already gone wireless."
One of the fun things about Facebook is viewing and accessing pictures posted by your friends. Our daughter Megan recently posted some pictures of our grandson Drew who enjoys pointing to his facial features to show he knows the words. I've put them together in a collage....
We're looking forward to some wonderfully real social networking later this month when we rendez-vous for a weekend in Cincinnati with our daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. I'll tell you all about it in a future blog post. 🙂
I cannot begin to list all various social media, but here are a few - online social networks (like Facebook), blogging, e-mail, text messaging, instant messaging, Twitter, etc. In many ways social networking strikes me as paradoxical - it focuses on relationships and community, but it also seems to encourage our human bent towards narcissism. The whole concept brings many questions to my mind. What are your thoughts about some of the various forms of social networking? Do you participate in it? Does it strengthen or weaken relationships? Does it deepen or cheapen friendship? How many close friendships is it possible to maintain at once? Are there dangers in today's social networking? I look forward to some good discussions in the comments to this post.
"Our hearts are idol factories." - John Calvin
Your secrets are safe with me and all my friends.
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