Human beings have always wanted to connect. It is the nature of who we are. You may have seen some of those documentaries where babies were not given the proper physical/emotional connection with their mothers. They end up rocking uncontrollably in the corners, cerebral synapses needed to function correctly just couldn’t connect, and it can’t be undone in most cases at that level.
Then as children, kids automatically start trivial little clubs with their friends….the desire to connect with others and identify with others. Whether it’s a negative environment (teenage gangs, etc.) or a positive one (communities coming together to help those less fortunate than themselves). We can’t help it. We convene, we group together, we reach out. When we don’t connect with other human beings at least on some level, I don’t care how ‘solo’ you THINK you are (for those self-proclaimed loners out there reveling in themselves), we as individuals head down a destructive path…from mild depression to suicide or other violent behavior if we don’t connect with other people somehow. This one of the few common elements in every single human being.
I know at this point you are probably wondering if I’ve fallen off the deep end and “where the hell is he going with this?”
I’m a kooky bastard but I’m getting to that I promise.
Facebook On It’s Own
I use Facebook A LOT, more than your average dude for sure. All my ‘friends’ know it. I’m sure about 80% of the people who are my friends probably thirst for a way to effectively filter Rich Harris. I’m ok with that. I do stuff on Facebook for a living so I’m on it all day, making it easy for me to be active for long periods of time. When I created my Facebook account awhile ago, I first started reconnecting with current co-workers, then co-workers from my previous job, then with as many co-workers as I could remember in my entire career.
Slowly I started finding people from high school, then junior high school, then elementary school, and of course my own immediate and distant family members.
Now, whenever I attend an event for business, almost every new business contact I make is on Facebook. I then find and connect with them.
Facebook is Way Bigger Than Facebook Whether They Realize It Or Not – Keeping Humanity Up-To-Date In Realtime
I realize that MySpace is one of the originals in this social frat party phase of the web but I’m going to use Facebook here since it’s more sophisticated, refined, and people are starting to at least subconsciously feel how it has unlocked something amazing that was hindered before, and rumors about that peeople are starting to bail on MySpace.
The lack of technology: essentially the great wall that existed due to limitations in communication methods, coupled with the shear size of this planet, and lastly, the randomness that holds true when it comes to where each individual ends up geographically while living their lives as adults.
While I do credit the overall Information Age with opening up doors to people/places/products in other parts of the world that we never got to see before, Facebook has started gluing humanity together. It has proved synergistic in catalyzing something that has always been in our genetic makeup since humans first walked the earth: Connecting with other humans.
It blows my mind that I now have friends all over the world, to varying degrees of closeness, that I now always know what is going on with them, with their kids, their careers, their health, their hobbies…with pictures and video. If there is someone that I knew that was associated with that person, regardless of where THAT person maybe, I actually have a decent shot at reconnecting with them. This is really cool for an obsessively social bastard like myself and maybe scary to those who are much more private.
While I don’t feel obligated to communicate with some of the almost 1000 people I’m connected to on Facebook/MySpace via email or private/public messages more than once a month, if even at all, the fact that I can “like” something they posted or quickly comment and nothing more, puts me in touch with everyone worldwide on some basic level at almost any given moment without really invading their privacy. They’ve kind of ‘opted in’ by posting it. I now get such an amazing 360 view of the world, where everyone’s paths have gone and continue to take them and their families…and they are sharing it, almost constantly. I’ve even noticed that friends of mine who are much more introverted in-person, have no problem throwing it out there on Facebook for everyone to see and comment.
One dynamic that is hilarious to me is that I have pockets and clusters of friends, with varying degress of spirituality, believing in different religions or none at all, different types of humor at various levels, progress in their career, different types of careers, developing chapters in their lives, etc. No matter what I say or post, how liberal or conservative, how right brain or left brain, how logical or abstract, how sensitive or harsh, various clusters of people are drawn in to comment or participate who have commonality with each other and with what it is I had just posted…..affirmation that we are all very different but we all have something to say.
Human beings could never interact like this before. It used to be that after high school, you graduated (hopefully) and then people went to work or to college and just kinda got lost out there in the world. It used to be a freak of nature moment to re-connect with a childhood friend that had gone away from the town where ya’ll grew up to go to college or to travel on some exchange-student program. Now it’s almost expected that we get to stay in contact with these people the rest of their lives instantaneously.
My 3 sons will never know what it’s like to not be able to find someone as all their friends are being raised to use Facebook/MySpace. I think it’s gonna be one cool way to keep their minds open to new ideas and paths that they can take in life. Life is about choices and the nature of Facebook helps remind us that you can do whatever you want in life at any time.