Understanding Social Networking

Scoble had an interesting post the other day about when there was a block party in his neighborhood and he was able to meet many of his neighbors.  The fact is, Scoble is a lot more out there than many of us geek types anyway, let alone the average non-tech person.  He mentions:

Some of my neighbors couldn’t quite rap their heads around the fact that I could send video of them around the world from my cell phone. They had heard of Facebook or MySpace but I had to explain over and over how Kyte worked. They acted like they had met someone from the future.

He goes on to say:

I shouldn’t make all my neighbors sound like Luddites. They are very educated and well traveled people who’ve done interesting things with their lives but it’s interesting to see just how far ahead those of us who live in the tech echo chamber are. One common thing? They all have heard about Facebook and are wondering what they’d do on it.

I’ve had similar conversations with people, trying to explain what Facebook is or what a blog is or any other Web 2.0/social networking type site is.  The reality is that I don’t even know what to do with Facebook, it’s kind of fun, I guess, I have a lot of friends out there.  That’s leads into another question, are online friends really friends?  In a way, they are, but in a way, maybe not so much.  I have a draft of another post on this topic, sort of and I have had this discussion with some online friends whom I have met in person.  That’s another realm to this equation altogether.  I guess when you meet, in real life, an online friend, maybe then they truly become a friend.  But, in some cases, you could truly have already been friends.  Confused yet?

How do you describe blogging and Facebook and MySpace to non-tech people?

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0 Responses to Understanding Social Networking

  1. Wha? ;)
    Hummm, I must say that here on the Eastern Panhandle of WV, it’s a good thing if people know what the web is, but they don’t quite catch on to this Web 2.0 thing. I think the older generations are weary about the web because of all the identity theft news scares to be open enough to dive into the web 2.0 world. I have one friend that straight up told me “why do I care about whether or not I have a blog?” (That friend is 44 btw)

    As far as “online friends”….you and I haven’t met “in-person”…yet, but when I tell others about the power of Skype, I refer to you as my “internet buddy.” And in my book, we’re already brothers, and we’ve spent a couple of hours together “on the phone” so I consider you a friend.

  2. Jim Walton says:

    Amen, brother! I agree, you are a friend of mine, as well. Someday, we will meet, I’m sure. I have actually talked with you more than any other “online” friend, for sure, but there are others that I consider friends that I have never spoken with.

    I didn’t word the end of this post well because there are a lot of people online that are really friends but if I step back and think about it, it’s hard to imagine that could be the case.

    I appreciate your friendship, dude!

  3. Bill says:

    The question I often get from people over 30 is why? why should I care about facebook, to them it seems like a lot of work for nothing.

    I explain it to people that it is like a constantly updating news feed on what your friends are doing. You can see pictures of places they’ve gone, you can read things they’ve written and you can see and comment on the music their listening to and the movies that they are watching.

    I tell people Facebook isn’t a place to “make friends” as much as it is a place to easily track and cultivate relationships. Particularly people who you may not have proximity with, old friends, friends who live far away etc..

    Facebook isn’t the meat and potatoes of a relationship. You need to spend time with people and connect with people in the flesh, but Facebook is just another “layer” in that relationship.

    I know for the church, it isn’t merely a place to connect, but it is also a very useful place to “communicate”. Since like minded people are connected, a church or group can communicate strategically to those it needs to about events and other information.

    Facebook may take some time to initially set up, setting up the profile, added some friends and adding some key apps, but once it is set up, it runs in the background of my life with little to no maintenance or time commitment.

    That is how I may explain Facebook to others….

  4. James Gibson says:

    Hows it going there Jim…

    A penny or two for my thoughts? I will agree with you that facebook is not the heart of a friendship…but unlike myspace it is aimed at those friends you already have…

    I have never met you…I dont know much about you…but i do know that you have a sharp mind and are a brother willing to voice his opinion…just in the fact that you and i bounce ideas around that makes us ‘internet friends’…not actually friends but on the ladder to that point…

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