Friday, September 28, 2007

I actually know these people!

I have to post this blog now, or at least soon, or the following sentence won't be true.

Most of my friends on Facebook and LinkedIn are people I have met or spoken to in the real world before I friended them in the virtual world. Because I have a couple of hundred connections, I am not overly embarrassed to make this admission. However, the more involved I get in social media, the more I feel that I should be humiliated not to have a greater following of virtual friends who have never met me and probably never will.

It's so simple these days to "meet" people. The nametags we wear online are so much more useful than the ones we wear when we go to events. The nametags show our faces, tell something about our education and profession, about our interests and our kids. Striking up a conversation is easy, but why bother? You already have a conversation going on your blog or mini-blog, so you can even find out if you like someone without ever having met them.

Fear of rejection is a faint memory in this online world. If someone you don't know doesn't accept your friend request, you just figure they are not into the whole social networking thing. It is not like asking for someone's phone number and being laughed at. The person getting the friend request may think you are off your rocker, not up to their standards, or pathetic, but, you never have to suffer the body language or verbalization that would let you know that.

Every geek's favorite thing about the online world is that your popularity typically is a result of your personality, insight and ability to communicate those insights. Good looks and ability to kiss up are of limited value. Likewise, moxie (guts/chutzpah) is becoming less important, because of the ease of friending and the limited impact of rejection.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the real world works differently, and in many ways, in completely the opposite way. What does this mean for how our society is developing? What does it mean about our contributions to our local as opposed to global communities? What does it mean we should teach our kids about getting along with others? How is it changing how we manage our real friendships? How is it going to affect those who don't have twitter accounts as opposed to those who do?

I'll think about all those things and keep blogging. I hope you'll join the conversation.

No comments: