Social networks : changing conversation

By | 01:17 3 comments

I’ve been sitting at home the last few days due to my foot injury and have had a lot of time to just gather my thoughts.  Easy task ? Hell No !

I had found a post that I wrote months ago but never published on ‘The Art of Conversation’ which I have now posted up.  It got me thinking on a few other things which have been coming to mind.

I suppose we all have ‘real’ conversations wherein we talk and communicate with each other.  However ‘who’ are those conversations with ? People at work ? People at home ? People that we meet at a social gathering ?

The next question I ask myself is ‘how real’ are those conversations ? They are pretty generic when I look back at my own conversations with these people albeit with a handful of people whereby the conversation stems to a deeper level than just ‘hi, hello, how’s it going’.

So how do social networks come into play with this topic ? I suppose with the advent of various social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Hi5, Friendster, Linkedin, Internations, ASW etc there has been an increase in the number of ‘friends’ that we now have as compared to say perhaps 10 years ago.

There was a time when ‘friends’ were people whom we were close to and / or grew up with or went to school with or went to university with.  They were also people who belonged to our local neighbourhood, playgroups, sports clubs etc.   These friends changed as we moved along in life i.e moved to another city or country; changed schools; changed jobs etc.   Of course we all have our ‘good friends’ who have known us since our childhood days and despite all the changes in demographics – we have maintained those friendships.

With the development of social networking platforms, even if one were to move countries, it is now possible to still be ‘friends’ with those from our past.  There is a way to reconnect with people from our yesteryears – so much so that my uncles and aunts are now on sites such as Facebook and catching up with THEIR old friends via their children.

Let’s take Facebook as an example.  If you take a few minutes and go through the wall posts and photo comments of ONE friend – you are more than likely to find them commenting on at least 30 different people.  There are people such as myself who have almost 1500 ‘friends’ on FB.  Funnily enough – I actually ‘know’ most of these people either by way of having gone to school (I went to 3 different schools growing up) with them, university,  and work (3 different countries).  Now add on to this that I am now living in a 4th country for the past 2 years and have met a huge number of people between work and my social circuit too.

A lot of these people are acquaintances; and a few are social friends i.e. people who I can count on to go out and have a few laughs; even fewer are my close friends and they are scattered globally.  So YES – I am able to stay in touch and communicate with all these people – perhaps not individually but what FB allows me to do is send out a ‘global’ ‘mass’ message via my status updates that lets me put out my thoughts and it allows me to connect with my immediate circle of friends as well as my outer circle – whoever may be ‘online’ at the time and therefore enable us to strike up a conversation quite literally out of nowhere !

We are able to organize our friends and family on a particular networking site; catch up with friends via photo and video uploads – so you can keep track of what’s going on in their lives even if you aren’t really a part of it on a regular basis.  Not to mention, all the events being organized in your own city via business networking and social stuff as well !

Mobile-social-networks-value-mapI was reading a really interesting article titled Social Networking : Changing Conversation Not Friendship – which talks about how we are now making online-friends and developing new ways of communicating with each other.  Another really good read was on the BBC website titled Social Networks are ‘new e-mail’. 

There was a point where we would communicate by way of meeting face-to-face; use physical letters & post cards if there was a geographic distance; the internet came along and we progressed on to emails; IM services came about followed by Video Conferencing services; and now we’re passively able to communicate each and every thought to a mass audience without specifying a certain person.

I think it’s a brilliant advance for us all – and technology is going to constantly be evolving so who knows what the next generation will be doing to communicate with each other !


Carol said...

I think you are thinking too much, smile. Sorry to hear about your injury. Now for the social networks. I am always wondering if and why. But as usual I go to them say hi, meet a few new people and on I go. Hummm.

Dreaming Eyes said...

hello...nice post...and sad to hear abt ur injury..get well soon..

and yeah now am following ur blog to read more gud stuff..;)

take care..
keep blogging..

Luggage for sale said...

My uncle has to get a new job, and it was recommended that he join some social networking sites such as LinkedIn to gain connections and speak to others in his profession. I was asked to gather a list of these sites for him, but the only thing I can think of is LinkedIn. I know there are ones like Facebook and MySpace, but I mean more professional-geared sites. Any suggestions?