Social networking explained (not really)

Published 8:02 pm Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What is this world coming to?&bsp; The other day I logged into my account, expecting to find a cavalcade of updates from my friends regarding what they had for lunch and what they planned to do this weekend, when what did I find but a friend request from my esteemed grandfather, Bob Millard (not his real name).To me, this is truly a demonstration of Facebook&squo;s ubiquity.&bsp; When people in their eighties are using your technology, it has officially reached the point where it&squo;s as big as it&squo;s ever going to get.&bsp; Note that just as soon as octogenarians were getting a handle on using videotapes, somebody swooped in and invented the DVD, which caused a whole new wave of confusion.&bsp; So I take this &dquo;friending&dquo; of me by my grandfather as a sign that Facebook is on the way out.A little history lesson for some context.&bsp; There once was (and still is) a website called‐the first such site to gain widespread popularity‐where you could share yourself with the world and make friends or something like that; I&squo;m not really sure.&bsp; Then made its appearance, basically as a website that presented just the good parts of MySpace, and people flocked to it, leaving MySpace in the dust as a bloated, useless dinosaur.&bsp; Now Facebook itself is becoming a bloated, useless dinosaur and I think it soon will be supplanted by, a site that&squo;s basically just the good parts of Facebook.What&squo;s the point of all these sites?&bsp; Something called &dquo;social networking.&dquo;&bsp; I have no idea what that phrase means, and honestly, I don&squo;t know why my generation chooses to engage in this so-called &dquo;social networking&dquo; practice at all.&bsp; We don&squo;t ask why we use websites like Facebook and Twitter, we just know that we need to use them, mainly because everybody else is.&bsp; It seems self-evident to us that these websites must be used.Case in point:&bsp; Recently, I was asked to give a presentation to the Tryon Kiwanis Club on social networking.&bsp; I gave a Power Point presentation, outlining what such websites did and how to use them, but then people kept asking questions about why someone would want a Facebook page, and I was kind of speechless.&bsp; I could explain all day about how to update one&squo;s Twitter status to reflect an affinity for the music of Erykah Badu, but I was grasping at straws when asked to explain the purpose behind such a decision.&bsp; Much like James Dean rebelling without a cause in the 1950&squo;s, my generation is social networking without a cause.I have no theories as to why these websites are the cat&squo;s pajamas.&bsp; I just know that they are and I must use them.&bsp; If it makes you feel better, rest assured that in a few years some piece of technology will make its debut that will completely perplex me and everyone else my age.&bsp; But we&squo;ll try to use it anyway.

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