My husband (PLSS) has a very young uncle, Uncle Skip.* He called yesterday and we swapped jokes. The one he told me went as follows: “There are three kinds of people. Those who know how to do math problems and those who don’t.” That joke has a real resonance for me when I think about social networking as a concept and particularly when I think about application creep as well as application fanatics/adventurers/explorers. Let me explain.
I was obsessed with facebook for the first 72 hours after I got my account–just before MCN 2007–in early November. I added friends, tried applications, sent emails, perused the status of my friends, etc., ett. etc. Then, it grew tiresome. I’m not going to waste more space here explaining why. I’ve already done that in an earlier blog. I still have my facebook account and check it every couple of days, add friends, look at emails, and occasionally, very occasionally change my status. That is about the sum total of what I do. I do not accept zombie bites, or beers, or flowers, or join eco-friendly groups, or compare movies with friends (although I did see which Jane Austen chararacter I most resemble recently), or add places I’ve visited to my map.
For me the telling point in the above paragraph is I don’t bother to change my status anymore and the reason is: the bulk of the people who are my friends on facebook don’t really need to know my status, nor are they particularly interested in my status at any level. Who cares, really, except my family and close friends and local housebreakers, what city I’m in if I’m not at home. There are a very few people on facebook to whom I might–these days–disclose a distressed mood, but I am more likely to do that privately in another format. Mind you I’m not criticizing you folks who do use facebook this way, it’s just not comfortable for me to do this anymore.
I find that the place where I am most comfortable changing my status is on Skype. My Skype account has, until very recently, been limited to close friends and family who know me well. Unless absolutely necessary, I don’t intend to grow my Skype account to include everyone I know personally and professionally, I’m happy with the 14 friends there and the 5 on Windows Live Messenger. These are the people with whom I truly socially network on a regular basis. They are the safety net for me, and I hope I am a safety net, of sorts, for them. They are the people who understand my (possibly) bi-polar daily melodramas and can judge from a changed picture or quote whether a “ping” is required or to be avoided at all costs.
To be honest, there is another thing I like about Skype, because I am both old and old school. I like that the name Skype starts with a capital letter. I’m tired of the all lower case world. I’m actually quite comfortable with, though not actually very good at, capitalizing words, grammer, and punctuation.
[Okay bizarre sidebar here. I'm going to throw this question out and if see if anyone answers. If you don't understand the question, it probably doesn't happen to you. Does anyone else out there ever visualize interactions with others or situations in terms of punctuation? Particularly in a tired state when you are reviewing events of the day or thinking about other things at the same time? End bizarre sidebar]
Linked-In, well just like everyone else I know, I’m part of the Linked-In network. It hasn’t really done much for me yet other than a couple of old friends have turned up as part of it. I can see how it might be useful for folks although haven’t really experienced any benefits of it myself.
By the way, I have an answer for those of you who are out their mumbling to yourselves as you read this, If you don’t think anyone’s interested in your status on facebook, what makes you think anyone is interested in your long, boring stories here?.
The other day I blogged about my friend Annie with a second life as a folk musician and she wrote the following note:
What in the name of homegrown rhubarb scones makes you think your brilliant museum colleague types would have the slightest interest in a couple of over the mound moms dressed like Lucy and Ethel singing wanna-be Simon and Garfunkel harmonies about their xanax days with Neanderthal husbands…
My response was: I’m a blogger–it’s essentially an exercise in narcissism. I don’t have to worry if my readers are interested in what I write, I just write about things I’m interested in.
I do worry about what you think out there–but ultimately a girl’s gotta blog.
* We call him Uncle Skip because his given name is John Holmes and if you get the reference shame on you.