I read a list of predictions for 2008 that included something about how we would get sick of social networking and endlessly invitations to “join my community.” I belong to far more of these so-called communities than I would otherwise because I’m researching the whole phenomenon of online social networking – and continually pointing out the social networking is nothing new. In fact, it’s as old as humans, and older, some say, than anything we would call a family. I can’t keep up adequately with my real life family and friends, let alone form new relationships online. In fact, that’s one of the big questions about online community: is it simply providing new communication tools for people who are already connected or is it enabling people to find people they would not already know?

But, to return to 2008, I want to quote from an email received a day or two ago:

Invitation from Mr. NAME NAME NAME IV

Karen,

Please join my Reputation Network on Naymz. As A Naymz user, like me, you will enjoy these FREE benefits.

… [you can imagine]…

To accept, please complete the form to the right or click here….

If this had come from a friend or colleague, it would be bad enough (“my Reputation Network”). But it came from someone I once interviewed for a job, three or four years ago. I remember the name and am fairly sure that I made the mistake of clicking accept when he invited me into his LinkedIn network. He was a very nice man, but there really is no reason for us to stay in touch. And if he really needed to contact me he could just write to me like anyone else. What a waste of time all round.

In the meantime, I am getting daily reminders to update my Twittr, and emails from my “friends” at Shelfari, Facebook, TeeBeeDee, Gathr, Dopplr, and a couple of others. I don’t read any of them – though I do sometimes throw off a text to Twittr, as that one rather amuses me. I don’t check back on ones that don’t alert me, which means I won’t know if friends using Dopplr turn up in the same city as me – but then I won’t find time to update my own travel there anyway. Then there is Flickr, YouTube, and probably a couple others I foolishly put my name and email into.

My curiosity and my resistance are, I hope, instructive here at Berkshire, as we are about to put in place group blogs and discussion related to some of our projects. We’ll try to do what we do tastefully and sympathetically, and humbly.  —————-
Now playing: Academy of Ancient Music, Carolyn Watkinson & Simon Preston – Magnificat in E Flat, BWV 243a: Esurientes Implevit Bonis
via FoxyTunes

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