Thursday, September 30, 2010

For The Record

With the opening of the new film The Social Network this weekend, all the news channels are jumping on the opinion bandwagon regarding the phenomena that is social networking. I've heard everything from "I don't get it" to "it's perpetuating our narcissistic society". It seems the news reporters (and some celebrities) have some pretty succinct reasoning as to why they are or are not participating in social networking. With all the sharing of opinions on the matter, I wanted to take a sec and chime in with my own.

For the record, my usage of "the twitter" (thanx Betty White), Yahoo, Facebook and MySpace is in NO WAY narcissistic. In EVERY case, these wonderful networks are simply sounding boards. It is probably true that no one wants to know "what I am doing now", but what I am doing now isn't what I'm communicating. I share what I think and what I feel, giving away little pieces of who I am to the world that may or may not include "what I'm doing now"..... it's called C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N. The social networks are today's version of "quill and fiber". It is how the world IS communicating and we, as a society, will not be going in any other direction. Those who aren't communicating via social networks will be liken to the people who refused to jump on the fleeting fad of those new-fangled talking boxes... what we know today as telephones, or more accurately, phones. There are multiple applications (what we used to call programs) now that actually integrate ALL the social networks together to allow users to communicate on multiple platforms at once... which is BRILLIANT BTW. And in SOOOOO many cases now, if you aren't linked into a social network (because this is quickly becoming the preferred method of communication by many), you will miss some pertinent information. For example, you wake up, get ready for the day and head to a local furniture store to replace the chair that was on it's last leg and finally broke. You just walked out your front door not knowing that earlier that morning the furniture store you were heading to just sent out a tweet that said, "FREE chairs 2 the 1st 5000 customers 2MORROW". Not being part of our new-fangled "social networks" could potentially keep you from being connected to our ever changing society, and could cost you more for it.
Now I will add that I'm not thrilled that our current method of social networking appears to perpetuate literacy problems. Since social networking and text messaging are all set up with restricted communication and character limits, it seems that EVERYONE (myself included sometimes) has a reduced vocabulary. Every message is reduced and, with no better way to describe this, everyone on the networks seem to be "hooked on phonics" in that they only communicate phonetically.... ALL THE TIME! I'm wondering if there is not a better way to communicate at the speed we are currently communicating without "dumbing down" the communication itself. And while spell check was a blessing for this technological age, it's not even on the radar anymore since a majority of all communication is a jumble of misspelled words. Heck, it's so bad, we've discovered that evnmy wskd cin be moskehlld ayd ywu cyn seufl rend tje metshge. Are we just that used to having to understand the broken communication? hahahahhahaha!
Social networking might be a double edged sword, but it is how we are communicating and will be communicating into the future. You just might be missing a lot if you're still on the fence.

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