Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why update?

my friend recently wrote to me about my facebook habbits. he asked "do people really care if your eating ribs?" and later asked "Are people bored?"

i have no idea. it could be boredom. the idea of describing your blow-by-blow activities in such detail seems absurd. why would you subject your friends to your daily minutiae? each little update is insignificant on its own, even supremely mundane and so brief it's virtually meaningless, but taken together, over time, the little bits coalesce into a surprisingly sophisticated portrait of your friends’ and family's lives. sometimes you learn things you never would have otherwise discovered. 

i read other people's updates and everyone seems to have very interesting and rather busy lives. i know it seems like a huge time waster or i hear "i don't have time for things like that, i have more important things to do," but it actually doesn't take up that much time. believe me, it isn't as cognitively demanding to skim through those updates as it is to read a text book or even an email. i'm so busy that without those one or two line updates, i wouldn't have time to keep up many of my social ties. the constant online chatter has made those ties immeasurably richer. 

i find out more than just what they happen to be eating at the moment. i find out about these mile stones in their livevs, that they are getting married, or getting divorced. a new job or one lost. heck i found out my friend kat is in labor right now. three weeks ago i found out my friend's father passed away and all these people wrote to give their support and condolences. it was amazing. 

i think it's great for business networking or for those loose acquaintances. before FB and twitter you might quickly faded from someone's attention, but because they "see" you all the time it's essentially a reminder that you exist. it keeps you socially intimate enough for them to want to help you out if you need a little something one day.

it's a way to be with people without actually being with them. they are with me when i'm waiting for a smog check or some other random in between moment. can't i just be alone you may wonder? yes, absolutely! and i cherish the moments that i am, however, who said i need to have that all the time?

my friend also mentioned that he's "more private than that," however i don't exactly feel that telling people i had sushi for lunch is really a privacy issue. 

facebook, twitter, all that crap, give it a chance.

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