Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Virtual Insanity

If you haven't figured out by now, the buzzword these days is "networking." In the past couple of years so many web sites and technological advances have come around that it is impossible for us not to be contacted, unless we don't want to be. And let's face it, who doesn't want to be?

The truth is some of us might not want to be as connected as we are, but the only thing we ever hear about is how many friends people have and contacts they have made. No one wants to be the person who doesn't have friends, so we join these social networking sites. I realized Monday that I may now be too connected for my own good when I joined the increasingly popular networking site "Twitter." Personally, I felt the concept was a little mundane, but I was assured by many "Tweeters" that it most definitely was not. So on Monday night I joined and let who ever wanted to know that I was watching Sex and the City before going to bed. If that's not mundane then I don't know what is.

Like a sign from the online social networking gods though, I was confronted with a New York Times story about Twitter first thing Tuesday morning: (
What I didn't realize is that Twitter can change the world as we know it. In a definite, serious, and possibly needed way. The whole essence behind Twitter is simplicity and convenience. Just letting the world know where you are, what you are doing, or what you are thinking in 140 characters or less. You don't have to actually give any personal information away, and following people can be either a two-way or one-way stream of communication, which is why so many celebrities have taken to the site. Many companies are also on the site, which is how Twitter is capable of changing the world. Companies can use the site as a quick, efficient, and free means of marketing research. They can also share with their followers, developments in their organization.

Of course, since everything in life is a point/counterpoint situation, later on in the evening I found an article that reminded me of why I didn't want to join Twitter in the first place:
It explains the dangers of immorality and narcissism with such free range and ease of opinion and information sharing. Currently I am a member of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and then there's the whole world of Google that I don't even want to go into. When I think back to why I joined any of these sites I would like to think it started with wanting to keep in better contact with friends while off at college (Facebook), which lead to gathering and sharing information (Google), and has now progressed with making myself marketable as a result of all of these people and information (LinkedIn).

In my littled red book that actually gives me most of my answers and guidance in life, "Simply Mom" by Pamela Folli Scholl, there was an excerpt on her conception of networking. She says this of the subject:

Get to know lots of different people and remember their stories.
You never know when someone might benefit from the information you have gathered.
Share information and contacts. The value of networking simply cannot be measured. You may say it's priceless.

The wonderful thing about all of these sites is that they are priceless, free of cost. Yes, it is a scary thing to hand the world absolute freedom of speech. However, if we are not able to decipher between morality, values, and ethics from harmful extremities then it is probably time to close your web browser and actually step out into this world that everyone is "tweeting" about.

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