It was in 2004, when I got my first cell phone, but used it very rarely. Even today, I still restrict my phone use. The main reason is because it irritates me that people can't hold a conversation without having their phone buzz with a message or phone call. Even on the train, people can’t sit quietly and read, or do work or whatever, they have to be talking loud on a cell phone. I find it funny how we were all able to walk the streets just fine without a phone 20 some years ago and beyond. It seems younger people; 18-27 always need to have that cell phone in their ear talking with someone. It’s like a security blanket. It's strange to me. There are so many times when I want to walk in silence and think. Don’t people do that anymore?
I, then, was given the opportunity to test Social Networking (SN), and this was only because it was introduced to me (almost forced) by several incidences: first my daughter was on MySpace and Facebook (FB) (once they added High School students to the mix). The reason I was on it was to regulate, given my concern about the nasty things I heard about child predators on the internet; second, my PhD advisor was an expert in SN and I took a class that introduced over 20 SN tools. (This was when FB was just that, not used widely by the public only some students in college); and third, I was asked to be a guest speaker talking about my experiences with SN, which forced me to dive in and try out test scenarios. (Active and applied research has always been the way I learn).
I very recently went back through my emails, on gmail, to clean things up since I was on Gmail account (Gmail finally added a folders option on their system to organize, yeah, I like organizing!!). While going through this “organizing Gmail” exercise, I realized how many people (if they weren't on FB, LinkedIn, Sisterhood, or some other widely used SN) got lost in the shuffle.
During this past year, when I was taking time off, doing things for me, traveling to meet my 1/2 marathon in 25 states goal, writing, spending time with my husband, etc; I was introduced to so many people along the way. I think without SN I don't think I would have gotten to know any of you. And I am grateful for SN for that one reason.
Although, now I have to make a conscious effort to break from the habit of going on FB every few minutes during the day, I find it takes away from my other things. I am working hard to put a concrete schedule for me to focus on other things during the day, to stay out of cyberworld. I am grateful, but it also is a problem. I'm working through it.
- There is a certain level of "raw" honesty that goes behind meeting someone virtually. No doubt, meeting someone in person, face-to-face is wonderful, but people reveal more to one another when their faces are hidden. Their insecurities are flushed out by a computer screen. They can say what they want. They can also lie, however, when you do find a friend online, it can go either way ---good or bad. You just have to use your inner judgment and sixth sense, if you will. More and more people are falling in love with the persona of people, not necessarily the outer shell, and that's a good thing. You sometimes get to know the real person through words. Like many people say, writing a letter is more revealing than speaking your mind. People come out more in "text"---whether by pen or by keys. (Deb Pasquella)