Thursday, June 4, 2009

Online Social Networking: The New Wine for Our Old Bottles

Serendipity is the blood of the internets. Web 2.0 entities have worked best for me when they've brought me to something or someone I didn't even realize I was looking for. Here's an illustration in the form of a just-so story:

I have a problem with [X], and I decide I'm getting nowhere conducting a direct search for [X] in all the places where there are supposed to be answers about [X], so I move on and happen to see that someone in Facebook, or a blog, or a discussion forum, or twitter, or yammer, or whatever mentions [X]. I follow up with that person only to find that I've found a bottomless trove of answers on it. I would never have thought to connect this person with [X] in a million years. This person is, moreover, in no way findable in the places where there are supposed to be answers about [X].
This has happened to me more times than I would even try to list. Maybe I just have a lot of [X]'s, but I don't think so.

In a related context but in the grips of a different mood swing, a balding fountain of despair with whom I work observed as follows:
I haven't logged into FB [Facebook] in a very long time. I can't remember the last time I checked in. No one is interested in what I watched on TV last night. I know that is weird but that is just how it is.
And I responded with my usual mix of bravado and charmlessness:

Of course they're not the least bit interested in what you watched on TV! You're not even interested in what you watched, if you can even remember what it was! But they most certainly are interested in commenting on it and making fun of it and telling everyone how much they like/dislike the TV show you watched. And in turn you don't give a crap what shows they like/dislike (and neither does anyone else) but you might be interested in responding to their sass-mouth with some of your own.

You just don't get web 2.0. You are stuck in the old thinking in which things should "make sense" and "have a purpose" and "be interesting." That's completely f--ed out! It's over!

The human species tried that approach for thousands of years, and it failed decisively. Now we're embracing the pointless, trivial, and idiotic, and seeing where it leads. Does it hold any promise? Almost certainly not! But at least it's not trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results -- no, it's trying something slightly different over and over again, something that's ludicrous on its face, and expecting results we can at least make sassy comments about.

I say we're finally on to something.


Anonymous said...

I am not balding you gnat, I've balded. I've reached a point of folical equilibrium and am no longer in the act or process of going bald. I will address the despair at a later time.

Now get to posting something about the pictures of the broken down Benz I sent you.

Anonymous said...

folical? wtf? I shouldn't use my iphone to post comments.