Social Media…Is It Really Social?

I just went on a walk, played Tumbling Tower, and Blind Man’s Bluff with my wife and daughters. We made silly jokes and laughed hard enough to make our bodies ache. It was totally unplugged and it was a blast! The rest of my day was spent building a website, setting up a client’s Facebook page, and dialoguing with assorted friends online. I love that kind of stuff and theoretically I was ‘connecting’ with loved ones all day long. So why does this last bit of social interaction with my family feel like the first bit of social interaction I’ve had all day?

I have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, You Tube, Flicker, WordPress, and a variety of other forums, networks, and social media platforms. My Google Reader probably has over 300 unread blogs on it, and that’s because I just read through the last batch 1 day ago (I think….it all becomes a blur). These are all fantastic ways of touching base with people. There is a primal part of me that wishes the internet would mysteriously stop working throughout the world, but for the most part I do not wish to jump the cyber ship.

However, in light of all the technological advancements toward effortlessly communicating with anyone, anytime, and anywhere in the world, I think a question needs to be answered:

“What is community?”

It’s a buzz word. “Community” is used to describe just about any internet social media platform around. Is it merely people sharing ideas and feelings? Is it an exchange of knowledge between individuals? Or is it something more? I would purpose that it is.

I have my own thoughts on the subject, but what do you think? Does social media constitute as a real cyber society, or is it just an amazing way to relay information? Can the internet foster true community or is a pseudo society the best it can offer.

 

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Author:Alex Weber

I am a Catholic husband and father smitten by the love of God. 2 years ago my family and I came into the Church after spending a good part of 10 years in Protestant ministry. A career change was needed so I picked programming. I am currently in college working toward a degree in computer science. Follow my blog
http://www.reginawebsolutions.wordpress.com
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  • Brad

    I think you raise an interesting point.  What the perception issue is in my opinion is the misinterpretation that the social web is a replacement of physical social interaction.  The web is transforming into a “social web” in that we can share through connections across great distances like never before.  These social components do not replace, but rather enhance our interactions with others both individually and within a community.  But when one perceives the “social web” of a replacement to offline social interaction, that becomes a disconnect.  We are social beings by nature, and the web today allows us to enhance that within our lives a great deal.

    For example, Craig invited me to contribute here because of things I had posted elsewhere and participation on forums. He is in an entirely other part of the country than me.  I have never actually met him, but would like to one day.  We’ve “connected” because of the social web.  Would I have ever really been able to make that “connection” before?  No.  The means just weren’t there.  Likewise, the great site he created brings together Catholics sharing the same ideas and questions regarding tech within the Church and faith life like could have never been done before.  So all can benefit from this little (and growing) online “community”.  

  • http://twitter.com/CatholicRWS Alex Weber

    When I was typing I had the word “contribute” rattling around my head too.  I’m on the same page as you.  It’s a community enhancer…not a community maker.