We now live in an age where you can be super connected to people you do not see or speak to everyday. This has been made possible by the ubiquity of social networks, and mass adoption. Everyone is not online, nor on a social network – but we are getting there.
For those of us at the bleeding edge, we tend to see the same networks “friend” each other on the latest network du jour.
Some of the time a service gains mainstream appeal and the rest of our friends catch up. See Facebook.
In any case I am starting to appreciate a kind of ambient awareness I have to family, friends, and acquaintances that I would not otherwise have if these services didn’t exist.
I understand and appreciate the drawbacks and criticisms surrounding privacy and participation online bring, but the practical social value is very real for me. I have found myself explaining services like Twitter, Zynga, Foursquare, by virtue of the real world value they bring to me.
By knowing a friend checked into a movie theater over the weekend, I can ask about what movie he saw. In addition, knowing someone went to a great restaurant I want to try out will prompt me to ask that friend for a review next time I see them.
The same goes for Twitter – folks posting great pics of events, updates on projects, and other examples give fodder for great catch up conversation I would not otherwise be privy to. Sure you could argue that its great to get things from people in person and catch up about everything, but I would rather know about a lesser known milestone through an ambient update than having to hash through everything in person.
I think the net benefit outweighs everything else – and I actually feel closer to a number of friends because of it.Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter