A social network service focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among people, e.g., who share interests and/or activities. A social network service essentially consists of a representation of each user (often a profile), his/her social links, and a variety of additional services... Social networking sites allow users share ideas, activities, events, and interests within their individual networks. --Wikipedia
Online Social Networking. Le sigh.
This lovely lady wrote a paper on the performance element of blogging (which I never heard any follow up on--cough cough). Well, yes. Sissy Jupe? Character, alias, avatar. Sissy Jupe is a character from the Charles Dickens novel Hard Times and my description of her is edited from Wikipedia ("the embodiment of imagination, hope and faith. She does not understand the difference between a life based upon facts and one based upon fancy, like hers") and I feel that I at least admit to (and wink at) this role-play by choosing a literary character to title my "adventure" (plus I'm a dancer, I love performing, right?). For whatever reason, when I decided to create a blog I decided that, in my online persona, I would try to embrace anonymity and it has sort of just stuck for the most part.
So when does all this role-playing and performing cross the line? The online line? When are we no longer comfortable with it?
On one hand, I think it's a wonderful way to feel connected to people you know and love as well as people you may find empowering or inspiring, interesting or talented. I think it motivates people to try all kinds of new things that would otherwise not be included in their repertoire (i.e. cooking a great meal, reupholstering a chair, taking up photography, learning to use photoshop, learning to knit, setting goals--it's endless!). I think it motivates people to participate in and share with others the hobbies they already enjoy. I think it provides individuals with a support group to keep on-track, to congratulate you on your progress, to say "I think you're neat" or "smart" or "have good taste"--which I think is really great. I mean, if you're reading this post I'm guilty as charged, right? It's really nice to get that random comment...
On the other hand (I can't ever write that phrase without thinking of Fiddler On The Roof), I think there's a serious line (yep, that pesky online line again) where it's no longer about motivation to try new things or share thoughts, lists, projects--what have you--but where we start living our lives vicariously through a *website. I feel so over-saturated by profiles and pics and specs and html, by people's children, by status updates, by P90X and Isagenix (I'm not judging you if you do this, I just don't want it in my face all the time...). There seems to be a superfluous amount of information and an incredible lack of filtering options.
So--what does this mean? why does this matter? I don't know. My friend C said:
Facebook sucks sometimes and causes people to get upset because they are not talking face to face and can't read eachother like human beings are supposed toAnd maybe that's it? All I know is that I'm quitting Facebook at the end of this week after I compile a list of email addresses I'd like to have. Are we nearing the end of books, of conversations, of magazines, of tangibility? No, I really don't think so (maybe I'm just not apocalypticly-minded enough)(?). I'll still be in plenty of online places (here, for starters) but I'm looking for less Facebook and more real books. A little more unplugging and a little more doing--more meaningful interactions. Let's face it, Facebook just isn't any more interesting than it was the last time you checked it. I'm not anti-networking, I just want less of it.
*If I were a "professional blogger" and making 6 figures by doing this then f*** yes I would live vicariously through my blog--whole-heartedly, but, unfortunately, that's just not the case.