Saturday, May 12, 2012

Social Networking and Me

     About eleven years ago I remember my first internet days as full of awe. My first search was simply the word castle and they continue to be a fascination for me that I'm certain will never die. How do I know that's true? Well, I have been researching and reading about castles for years- a long time before the internet ever came to be as popular as it is today. I have books on castles that I bought and have perused from the time I was a teenager. Through the years I spent any extra money I had on books- not just on castles but they have been a particular obsession of mine. My free-time preoccupation piqued with my dream trip in 2001 to see a portion of the castles I read about and fawned over in large photographic tomes.
     As a result, I may not appear to be a very sociable person most of the time except in more recent years, of course. Don't get me wrong. I feel very comfortable meeting people in all walks of life whether they are in cultural functions or stimulating situations and events. It helps when people are of the curious type such as myself. Since 1977, the largest part of my days were spent talking with and working out myriad problems with mostly females of all ages, professions and backgrounds. I learned a lot, during the heyday of my manicuring profession, about women that may have remained a mystery to me for the entirety of my existence. Just being a woman doesn't prepare you for the things you learn from women but it certainly helps, all in all. Sisterhood wins out in a way brotherhood could never measure up. That being said, people are just as important to me as my interests but it always helps if we forage new grounds together.
     This brings me to my subject of internet social networking of which I've only dabbled with during my time online. I've tried some traditional and not so traditional forums but to me they are very alike in that there is a division between those who are looking for a mate and those who truly want to engage in socializing on a somewhat less personal level. My forte is the latter rather than the former and is one of the reasons that I have never delved much deeper than my blog, e-mail and occasional IMing. You won't find me on Facebook for a very good reason, in other words, not neglect. I've used MSN Messenger for IMing which I still prefer to tweeting (I'm not on Twitter), and LinkedIn has become a necessity because of my ambitions and the fact that it is a superior forum for serious professionals.
     Facebook is self-described as being a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. This service is meant to help people keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, post links and videos and learn....etc. What concerns me the most is that through MSN Messenger and their Live Spaces (which started out as MSN Spaces- blogs, basically) and their unique way of connecting people, Facebook has taken its place and offered none of what the internet truly has to offer. That would be the world itself, in all its splendor. My opinion is that Facebook and copycat forums do nothing more than sport the superficialities of people and don't offer their adherents a chance to explore anything else. Actual web sites offer a lot more than Facebook ever will and there is more to be said about exchanging e-mails with someone half-way across the world that you genuinely like than a person with an enticing photo who, in reality, would probably pass on the other side of the street if you'd been beaten and robbed and don't look anything like their photo, in reality, to boot.
     To me, the internet connected me with a world I ordinarily would have to get in a plane and gallivant all over the globe to find and chat with and if I'm wrong someone show me clear evidence to support otherwise. It is not a place to reinvent yourself because that's just conceit. Perhaps it is a place to make your dreams come true. I have no problem with that because it's what I'm basically doing and enjoying immensely.  
When dreams die life is a barren field covered with snow... -Langston Hughes

The Castle Lady

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