Saturday, January 29, 2011

Is Social Networking Really Social?

Confession: I'm usually the last one to get on board.

It's true. When something new and trendy hits the streets I will not be one of the first ones to be involved. I just got a Blackberry seven months ago. I'm aware, just not that interested. I'm not a naturally curious person. My mother, on the other hand, has the latest iPhone and an iPad.

Social networking is on everyone's mind these days. We discuss it everywhere. We had a seminar last week at work about it. Everyone is discussing the importance of staying in touch, of being informed, of knowing the latest. Everyone is on Facebook, everyone tweets. I know bloggers that have put themselves on self-imposed fasts from tweeting and facebooking because they spend so much time engaged in these activities.

I had no idea.

I've been on FB for a few years but I only really use it to store and share photos with my family and friends. Some folks from high school have contacted me but it pretty much ends after the initial, "How are you? conversation. I haven't discovered the value in knowing everytime this girl I went to high school with goes to boot camp aerobics. In fact, there are several of my "friends" that I have had to remove from my newsfeed because their posts are random and annoying. Most of those people are in their twenties. I don't want to un-friend them because that would be rude. I also realize that most people are just "friend collectors" and could care less how I'm doing or what I'm up to.

Is social networking really social? Or is it a lazy, superficial way for people to sort-of make contact. After all, it's not really contact, is it? Is it? I've been to actual social events where people spend more time on their smart phones texting, tweeting or whatever they are doing instead of engaging with the real, live humans that they are sharing air space with.

When I think about it, this form of social networking should be perfect for me because I can't stand a crowd and I'd prefer sitting on my couch sending emails or blogging instead of putting on heels and going to a party. Case in point: It's 9:00 pm and I'm at home blogging.

Anyway, I decided to conduct an experiment of my own. I'm going to do a full court press on this social networking thing. I now have a Twitter account and I'm going to consistently tweet and post statuses on FB for the next month and see if all this "networking" is really effective or if it's just a big time suck.

Check out my twitter updates to the right and if you are so inclined, follow me.

9 comments:

Ca88andra said...

Actually I rather enjoy FB - but only because its the main way I keep in touch with friends who are geographically distant. FB chat is perfect - phone calls are too expensive and too restrictive, but FB chat is free and I can be doing other things while I'm chatting. I've got a Twitter account but don't use it much. Good luck with your experiment!

Kat said...

I'm in the same boat. I need to know all of this for work. But I find some of it a waste of time & energy. I'll be interested in what conclusions you come to after your experiment.
I do use FB to keep up with some family & friends who live far away. I have made some nice "friends" on twitter. I also like keeping up with industry news (library & information - for me) but there is a lot of stuff to sift through. (And yes, the high school friends that never actually talk to you are annoying.)

Kristy said...

Yes, I have not started twittering yet. I have been a twitter resister. Someday I suppose I will fall into it.

Rose said...

I am into facebook. I have come across friends from childhood, good to see they are fine and I move on. I get a lot of info but haven't quite seen the benefits of networking. No requests for booksignings, or no requests for speaking engagements- that's what I would like.
As far as twittering goes- I only ocassionally send out a tweet to my followers- I know I would not want all those tweets coming through my phone getting on my nerves...

Let us know what your research provides...

Diva (in Demand) said...

I've had to take twitter breaks before.....I figured that I was being unproductive. But at the same time I've done well at expanding my social networking side for my empire so I think it balances itself. LOL

I typically use Facebook only to play the games but this past week I reconnected with somebody and it has really been great.

I'm interested to hear your thoughts at the end of the month.

TJ said...

I play games on Facebook, but I'll post something from time to time. I've met some nice people on Twitter and I follow a lot of news sources so its a quick way to get updates and stories on what's going on in the world. I also get a lot of good information from the people I follow. Call me old fashioned, but I don't feel the need to leave every detail of my life on either :).

Tracy said...

I use facebook so much. Yes it is the lazy way of doing things. But I've also learned so much about people in the building that I work in that I find it easier to come up with casual conversations.

Tarsha R said...

I am currently taking a break from my non-food Twiiter account and even FB if it doesnt relate to food. I really did waste plenty of time on Twitter, FB not so much. My Twitter "fast" was supposed to end tomorrow but I've already decided I will be extneding it. My productivity level has been amazing since I don't have my face buried in my BB! LOL

Sandstone said...

I think that the social networking sites are what you make them. To some they are used to connect/reconnect with friends and family. To others, used for business purposes. Personally, I use them for both reasons. The key to not being overwhelmed by them is to set a time limit for daily use. Most people are on them ALL day and I wonder how productive they are with other aspects of their lives. Hmmmm?