Monday, August 11, 2008

The Social Networking Phenomenon

I have to admit it.

I've become somewhat addicted to social networking. Or at least the concepts behind it all.

And it's not just me. My wife, daughters and son all participate in on line social networking in one way or another.

Web sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and of course Blogger really intrigue me. What is it about these web sites? What is it that makes them so popular? What draws people of all ages from around the world and all walks of life to them?

I've thought about this for a while. Well, not for 'really' long, but long enough to develop a hypothosis.

I believe that these on line communities (in one form or another) have become a substitute for the close knit families and neighborhoods that have disappeared during the last few generations.

Friends and families are often dispersed across the country or even around the world. This is much different than in years gone by when multiple generations of a family would live in the same city, neighborhood, or sometimes even in the same house!

In the last few decades, our modern societies have lost their connection to family and friends. I really think that we miss that, and that it has adversely affected our society and culture.

Social networking is really nothing other than a mechanism for people to communicate with each other again. Family and friends are finding each other; catching up on years of missed events and news; reconnecting with people that they really love, people that they have missed.

We are also making new connections. We are finding new friends and developing relationships without actually meeting each other in the physical sense.

I believe that social networking makes technology truly personal, almost in a human way. We are connected again.