It occurred to me this weekend, having had a great time outside, that I pity those (paid or unpaid;community or otherwise) that need to define(or advertise) their own level of engagement or activity for the sake of online social interaction.
I love being outdoors, busy, exhausted, but alive, and can’t for the life of me see how others demote their own merriment of activity into a status update or ubiquitous tweet. I hope I’m not preaching, but its a sad reality when I, after disconnecting myself off the net for a few dies, find uninteresting status updates or tweets waiting for me. Again. I’m not preaching, I’m just wonder sometimes “don’t these guys ever turn off their computers?!”
I fully understand that one reserves the right to communicate to whom and to what lengths. I do. If I had a wife and newborn I’d most certainly plaster my social communities with pictures of us-as they can use said information to revel in my excitement. I of course do not have a family, so instead share my life and experiences with friends…under a modest spotlight. I get it. I get the photo-sharing with friends or family in Oregon, or a sibling or spouse overseas. I get the social aspect of being social, and I enjoy it. I just cringe over some of the relative nuances of networking. There has to come a moment where someone says “Ok, that’s enough, I want my life back. Time to go outside.”
I have a supplemental story to add to this entry, one that possibly illustrates the oddity of social communication: I received a friend invite from someone via Facebook who shares a mutual friendship with me(e.g. we know the same person). I’ve never understood the “mutual friend” option, as it only suggests that I might know this person through the basic requisite that “hey, you might know THIS person because you guys are friends of THIS person”. To me, that’s not enough.So, I accepted this gentleman out of respect for the friend we share, and before I could browse elsewhere, I’m notified via email of a message waiting for me in my Facebook inbox.
It was from the person I just accepted as a friend.
He seemed agitated.
He thanked me for adding him, and then inquired to why my photo albums were blocked(name dropping the friend we share as evidence of his trustworthiness). Sorry, name dropping alone isn’t enough to invite most people into Club T. I embrace my privacy settings for a reason: I let you see what I want you to see. I must even admit, that I even blocked former co-workers from various regions of my Facebook. Why? because they’re former…co-workers? I thought about responding to him, explaining that I don’t let anyone view aspects of my Facebook profile(much like in real life) for I need to know more about a person. I was going to, but I decided not to. It would be me repeating myself(again), and though he hadn’t done anything wrong, I’m sure he understood from my non-reply that “hey, maybe I should get to know him before I just dive right in).
Maybe? Definitely is more like it.
I might have been guilty of accepting or requesting Facebook friendships in the past based on this thinly corded “mutual bond”, but not anymore. Paranoia aside, social networking has it’s alleyways; and in these alleyways exist the asocial, amoral, pervertedly-kept. I can’t accept that everyone “native” to social networks are out for my benefit. I can’t presuppose that whenever I mutually befriend someone that they’re going to improve our meekly formed acquaintance-ship(Yeah, I’ll accept acquaintances over rarely met, rarely communicated between mutual friends) into something better. I’m aware of the secret numbers game people now play(looking to measure their popularity by how many mutual or un-mutual friends they have). I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Many social networks remind me of High School, or to a latter degree High School politics: You’re only as important as your physical or implied vote.
The time will come when all this social engaging will serve nothing but to tether us to our computers, attached to a pseudo existence that surpasses actually existing outside said digitize space. Where we’ll befriend and share with “friends” of social networks, but who secretly spy enviously;leafing through our photo albums with mixed intent, as to satisfy their own mission statements. There will come a time where people will advertise their summer vacation in Aruba from their cellphone or laptops instead of…enjoying their summer vacation away from their laptops and cellphones.
Has this come so soon…?
Note: I wrote this entry on my Android. I’m going to make it a formal habit to engage social communities on my terms, when I want to, and not because I have to, for fear of missing something native.