Sunday, February 15, 2009

where it's at

So many changes lately, but they can only be for the better. A new president who seems cognizant of the tough times ahead can only be a good thing. The rise of digital use on so many fronts - work, family, play, is rapidly changing the way we live. The way many folks use the 'net has changed just over the past two years. It certainly has for me. I blog, tweet, and facebook. Yes everyone, the olds have taken over social media. Of course this starts the immediate youth snobbery of "if everyone is on facebook, twitter, etc. What will the kids do next?" We'll have to see, but we won't have to wait long to find out.

In the meantime, facebook is growing stronger. It written up in the mainstream media regularly it seems, so even the farthest flung may now check it out just out of curiosity. It's easy to be dismissive of facebook, with it's goofy applications that have just that whiff of the AOL that your mom is still using. But what I have noticed about facebook is how, once you're on it and connected with your regular group of friends from your email address book, it insidiously takes over your form of communication. A few years ago we were all remarking, some lamenting, that no one picks up the phone anymore, that we email instead. In the seven months since I've been on facebook my personal emailing has dropped to almost nil. Status updates (and sometimes quizzes) are the way to keep in touch. At work email still reigns supreme. Despite efforts to create a "professional" presence by colleagues posting only work-related items, facebook seems more geared towards pithy remarks and restaurant tips. It is truly social. The ability it gives you to arrange and categorize your friends is also fascinating. I have my friends listed by location, association. This is a boon for the Virgo mind. I can decide how much to share and with whom. At a glance I can read updates from different periods of my life, past, present, from all across the U.S., parts of Europe, and South America. I have found (or been found by) far-flung relatives, folks from my childhood and college years, friends of friends. And we all update each other, making the strange soup that is my particular friend's group. Viewing another friend's page gives you a glimpse into their particular soup.

Will facebook kill email? Will twitter? For some, maybe. Will facebook and twitter be able to encroach on business-mode communication? At the moment they haven't figured out how. They might not need to, if they do become the prime method of internet social interaction.

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