Antisocial Networking

January 21st, 2011 by Editor B

Here’s what I want: A social media platform which allows me to connect only to people who don’t know me in real life. As soon as we meet “in the flesh” we’re disconnected online. Yeah, that would be cool.

When I started my blog, very few people read it, and many of the those who did were people I never met in real life. In essence they became a second tier of quasi-friends, cyber-only friends if you will. Now my mom and dad read my blog, and my mother-in-law and father-in-law, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s constraining in a way I didn’t feel back six years ago.

(Oops, make that seven years ago. Have I really been blogging that long. I guess so.)

Social media has evolved since then. Now there’s much more emphasis on recreating one’s real life networks online. But there’s some value in the virtual network too. I still have a number of cyber-friends that I’ve never met in real life, and I have a passel of folks I know primarily through the ether though we might rub elbows on rare occasions. They feel like an extension of my own mind, in some weird way.

Part of the joy of communication is complaining, bitching, moaning and whining, and the primary object of such bellyaching is other people, and all the important people in what is laughingly known as my “real” life follow me on Twitter or Facebook or read my blog, so I can’t really vent without hurting these people’s feelings, and as we all know I may be a jerk but I’m not that much of a jerk.

Moreover, I seem to have a compulsion to communicate, to write about what’s going on in my life and share it with others, but I don’t necessarily need social media to share with real-life friends. Tried and true methods like conversation seem adequate to that purpose.

And so I wish there was a social network that allowed me to share only with strangers, and blocked anyone who knows me in real life.

5 Responses to “Antisocial Networking”

  1. Julie (Marietta,GA) Says:

    I enjoy being a cyber-friend. I’ve followed your blog mainly because of your former neighborhood. You may recall that I wrote about growing up on Jeff Davis and Iberville.

    Since then I’ve loved following your many accomplishments that have made New Orleans a better place.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Brooks Says:

    Cyber-only, etheric second tier. That’s me.

    After the flood, I depended on local blogs for my daily dose of home. Years later, I’m still reading b.rox. You and Kristy have done great things for New Orleans, and I admire you both very much. And I enjoy your writing.

    I don’t tweet and don’t do Facebook, so what I know of you, I know from this blog. Anyway, I’m famously reclusive. If I were to move home, our paths would only cross if you ran me down with your bike.

  3. David Says:

    I thought myspace was the anti-social network.

  4. Garvey Says:

    B, this sounds like a great SOTL topic. Design a study, collect some data, and write it up. Or just stick with your own opinion and write it up for publication or a conference. You’ve already got the “hook” for making it interesting.

  5. Anne Says:

    Start a blog under an assumed name, and then don’t tell anyone about it. People you know in real life, that is. I admit that, taken to extremes, anonymity can lead to nola.com commenters, but it does alleviate some of your issues.

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