Spending hours on social networking is easier then other forms of human interaction and it's possible to find flares of satisfaction as long as I maintain a steady rate of hit's on Facebook and Twitter. Is this a better way to live?
Yet we don't ask this question, much less have an answer, and we will all flock to be a part of the latest social network: Google Buzz.
Surprisingly, especially to myself, this news was recieved as a burden and not with excitement. I worry how various social networks spread us increasingly thin and the end result is not better relationships and deeper community - instead we get a reduction and simplification of sterile communication.
It has become increasingly taxing to keep tabs on everything. I ejected Myspace years ago to focus on Facebook, and have done everything I can to integrate it with Blogger and Twitter.
That being said, I am a die-hard gmail fan and it will be nice to have integration. Even here I have reservations. Compared to email, I have found that people are even less likely to respond to a deep thought on Facebook (because FB is not perceived as a place for deep interaction). Buzz could cause more and more people to perceive their gmail account as a quick fix for social interaction as well.
I find myself being more and more skeptical of where we are going with the internet. Such potential for effective communication and collaboration, but I spend so much on mindless banter.
The reality is I am more likely to get feedback and discussion on Facebook about a Chinese man throwing his bicycle at a thief on a moped than this post. But if I was on Facebook looking for a quick social fix, I probably wouldn't be reading this far anyhow.
I feel confident that I will enjoy Buzz, but I am even more confident it will do nothing to turn the tide of this mounting frustration with the dilution of meaningful relationship, community, and communication.
To engage more on these ideas:
- I read the article Tech, the Church, and the Death of Community on the eve of Google's release, which no doubt got the juices flowing.
- Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith. Very level headed book that will make you think without making you feel like you need to get rid of all the technology in your life and be Amish.