My social network grows every day. I am also learning more and more about different networking sites almost daily. I think we really underestimate the true power and influence social media and networking has on our lives. I have two sets of friends; the ones I talk to on Facebook and Twitter only, and the ones I talk to off Facebook and Twitter. When I talk to my “elders” about this they have no idea why I would have separate groups of friends. It is hard to describe to someone who is not already living in the iGeneration what social media is and why everyone is so addicted to it. I have friends I would talk to in person, and people who I would rather not–I think everyone has those kinds of friends. I have noticed how much less I talk to my friends in person just to catch up. If I wanted to know what they were doing last weekend, what they ended up wearing to the party, or how their day went, I check Facebook. It is easier to hop on my Facebook app on my iPhone then to call them up or send them a text. It is convenient.
I think convenience really drives the world of social networking. That, and the desire to know everything about all of your friends. Our lives are literally broadcast onto our favorite social networking sites. If I am going to the movies, mall, or on vacation, the odds are high that my followers already know I am busy before I actually leave. Afterwards they also will know my feedback. It limits the actual social engagement needed to know what I am doing for the day and how my day actually played out. I think that is why many are opposed to social media and networking, because it limits face-to-face interactions. I also think that social media opposers also do not understand why many people aren’t concerned about privacy. My take on this is much like Zuckerberg’s Law, we double the amount of things we post online every 12 months. It is because we become comfortable with our followers. It is also because Facebook launched OpenGraph which allows websites/apps like Spotify to automatically post what you are doing when you access the websites–only if you allow them to. I think the more you post, the more everyone knows about you. I personally don’t mind sitting at my MacBook Pro all day just posting to my friends on Facebook, tweeting interesting articles I read and tweeting about what I am thinking before I actually have a chance to think about it on Twitter, pinning things on Pinterest, figuring out how to use Google+, and soaking up information from Mashable. Actually, I like it a lot. I think we have added Social Media into our DNA, it is a part of us, it defines who we are. But, as one of my professors, Spencer Striker, said, you have to work on it. I think Dr. Ivan Misner, New York bestselling author and founder of BNI said it best, “Networking is not about hunting. It is about farming. It’s about cultivation relationships. Don’t engage in ‘premature solicitation.’ You’ll be a better networker if you remember that.”