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Response to Coyotl (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 12:04 PM

6. I have a real social network.

 

It includes flesh and blood friends, colleagues, and family that I am present with in meaningful ways every day. That is a real social sphere.

It is impossible to connect to large groups and have meaningful connections. They are shallow and superficial. There is no time for depth and intimacy when you have more than a hundred friends to 'check-in' with daily.

(http://www.amazon.com/Many-Friends-Does-Person-Need/dp/0674057163/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1361030265&sr=8-1)

These connections are based on the persona and not the heart or the mind. A persona is very necessary. It is our first presentation to the world, however, Facebook (and really all social networking) is persona only all the time. If the ego only identifies with the persona then narcissism develops. The persona is all that anyone sees. And the narcissist needs the constant interaction to mirror back a self as there isn't one once the surface is scratched deep enough. Look, we are 'friends' because we like the same music. We are 'friends' because we like the same politician. We are 'friends' because we dislike chocolate ice cream. I can not have a meaningful conversation in the 140 characters of a Twitter tweet.

We need to drop that persona from time to time and disconnect from that 'social sphere'. It allows us in solitude to discover vast depths to our being beyond that of my 'job', my 'stuff', my 'likes and dislikes', and my 'friends wall'. It also allows us time to truly connect with those around us. A simple smile and a hello in a coffee shop is a rare thing these days with everyone checking their Twitter and Facebook on their iDevice mumbling without making eye-contact.

Real friends have boundaries as well as openness. Generation over-share has not learned the value of the first and the consequences of the second. I do not need to know that my 'friend' is struggling with his weight and obviously is having an affair with his secretary based on the photos on his 'wall'. If he and I are going to discuss such intimacies, let's do it in person or at least over the phone in a private conversation. How many young teachers have to get fired because they were stupidly sharing 'party' pictures from their summer vacation?

There is limited if any real benefit to be derived from social networking. With a professional website, I have no need for it even as a marketing or advertising tool. Unless I am targeting people outside of my state or even my city, what value then? Who cares if some young woman in China 'likes' my business? I won't see her as a client locally.

So I will leave you with some excellent articles about just how great social networking really isn't.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/social-media-no-cure-for-loneliness/story-fn3dxity-1226411696064

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/07/08/is-the-internet-making-us-crazy-what-the-new-research-says.html

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/study_why_do_people_use_facebook.php

And my personal favorite:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/print/2012/05/is-facebook-making-us-lonely/308930/

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