The “In” of Internet

Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn – not only do they have us CombiningWords with CapitalLetters in weird places, it has us spread too thin. In author groups, having a MySpace or Facebook page is THE thing to have. I have neither. I have a Blogger and LiveJournal space but they only point here. I am a member of LinkedIn (not sure why, but I am). I’m not part of the “in” crowd.

I don’t understand Twitter. Verbal voyeurism, even for a writer, can only satisfy so far. I love gadgets. I have all sorts of gadgets. I even have a cell phone! It only allows me to send and receive phone calls and not surf the ‘net or check email but that’s the way I like it. It’s the way I like my food, too. I don’t eat a burger with mustard and ketchup. They tend to overpower the main tastes. I think the subtly of lettuce and tomato bring out the wonderful goodness of the dead, cooked cow. I don’t eat many casseroles unless the items put together are balanced and not overwhelmed by one particular spice. Yeah, more evidence I’m weird. But I digress….

I just read an interesting article (Are you a twit if you don’t want to Twitter?) on how “social networking” is starting to overwhelm folks.

It shouldn’t be surprising that quick-hit online communications, the stuff of 140-character “tweets” on Twitter and “status updates” on Facebook, leave some people cold. Craig Kinsley, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Richmond, notes that studies of human interactions reveal that our brains crave networking, online and off, but differentiate between the quality of the interactions.

“Many short contacts may leave the user wanting deeper, more meaningful exchanges. Like a meal of cotton candy, when you come right down to it, there is not much substance,” he says. “A good conversation with a good friend is much more life-affirming than a few tortuously abbreviated or emoticon-filled lines in a tweet that anyone can read. How special is that?”

Our brains crave prolonged social activities. Maybe this is why instant messaging and chat rooms grew to such proportions. We could have cyber conversations with instant gratifications vs Twitting or updates on Facebook.

Earlier in the article:

“Being exposed to details, from someone’s painful breakup to what they had for breakfast – and much more sordid details than that – feels like voyeurism,” says the 31-year-old public relations executive in Washington, D.C. “I’m less concerned with protecting my privacy, and more concerned at the ethics of a ‘human zoo’ where others’ lives, and often serious problems, are treated as entertainment.”

Exactly! Human zoo. Reality shows are taking over the networks, even Animal Planet! Do we really need to surround ourselves with such type of reality? We are too removed from it to fulfill that neurological need. Personally, I’d rather sit at a table at Waffle House and listen to my friend tell me of her soap opera love life. Facial expressions, hand movement, pauses here and there – they speak more than any emoticon ever can.