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Comment on Social Networking Tools and our Future Society

Xarene Wed, Nov 19, 2008
You're right on with 'shared experience.' It is the embodied experiences we share that makes friendships and connections 'real'. If the digital connections were enough we would hold, for example and since it is coming up, Thanksgiving dinner in Second Life or make a Thanksgiving Dinner Group on facebook and all stay home.

I have found numerous occasions where email exchanges or twitter updates were recited and its emotional effects replayed in physical meetings. If the digital exchanges were adequate, why should there be a replay of the events and communications? Do we meet over lunch to have the same conversation as yesterday?

Social networks have employed brilliant marketing by offering something we already do, which is making friends. They are capitalizing on the 'popularity syndrome' and have reduced everyone's mentality to Junior High and how liked and popular one is, is proportional to how many facebook/myspace friends one has. This number doesn't say anything about one's character other than 'collector'. What we do not realize is how these tools have actually stripped away our ability to physically connect with other people; to understand what true friendship and human connection is; to understand the values that make a human relationship a 'friendship' rather than 'acquaintance'.

Try poking one of your facebook buddies to bail you out of jail. It is not funny considering that is the only kind of friend some kids are growing up with.