I went to see The Social Network last night. Why not, right? It’s a movie about how Facebook got its start, and Facebook is a huge part of my life these days.
But this post is not a movie review. Nor is it a discussion about how much of the film was fact and how much was fiction.
For me, the story begins on Friday night, when Aaron Sorkin, the film’s writer and director, appeared on The Colbert Report. Sorkin confessed that he doesn’t use Facebook, and then said I think socializing on the Internet is to socializing what reality TV is to reality.
I get it. Facebook has certainly changed the way we interact with each other. The question is, is it for the worst?
Certainly, there have been tons of stuff in the news that might support this. Here in BC, there was a recent incident where photos of a young girl who was being sexually assaulted were posted on Facebook. The question that needs to be asked is, how did the person who posted those possibly come to the conclusion that that was cool?
Are we exchanging quality relationships for quantity? Is it better to have 2,000 friends on Facebook, or 200 with whom you are able to adequately interact with?
I have been really vocal on my position on this. As a single parent, and someone who works alone, Social Networking is a life-saver. I love to interact with people, I need it, in fact. But because of the nature of my work and life, the folks I get to see the most are my son and my cats. I get to “check in” with my friends in a virtual way.
This week I had a very powerful expereince. I got to meet Kate Foy in person. I’ve know Kate for two years, and we met via Twitter. We have worked together (virtually) on the World Theatre Day Blog, and had many, many conversations via email, Twitter, and Facebook about theatre and the life of an artist. On Saturday afternoon, Kate and I, along with Lois Dawson, had that conversation around my dining room table with coffee and cupcakes.
That is a meeting that, without Twitter, and without me being on Twitter, would have never been able to happen, and it was an amazing experience.
So, what do you think? Do you think that social networking is making our relationships more superficial? Or is it exactly the opposite? I look forward to continuing the discussion with you in comments below.