10 years ago today, Alex West, Ben Yau, and I got together at my brother’s house in Huntington Beach with several computers and a bunch of scary snacks that Ben brought and we coded & launched Barflies.net to build on the Barflies mailing list that I had been running for the previous year and the SocialD message board that Alex had been running for the 4 years previous.
In the normal way of things, I should have thrown a big party tonight to celebrate 10 BIG YEARS on the internet. I have spent the last two months trying to find where all the early contributors of the Barflies.net have gotten themselves off to (Hey Amber & Erik Jansen, where are you? Email me!), so that Julie Wanda and I could throw a good thank you party and Hey, We are Still Going Strong party.
In typical, Wanda and Jen fashion, we are running fashionably late. Expect a party announcement soon.
Happy 10th Anniversary to Barflies.net!
Tonight at dinner, Erika and I had a long talk about my Facebook post from last night: how each of us use it, why I hate it, and why it is the first social network site that she has really gotten into. We talked at length about synchronous vs. asynchronous communication, public vs. private, the open web vs. the closed web (like MySpace or Facebook), preferred modes of communication, and which worked better when. It was a great conversation over excellent food at Fu Rai Bo in West LA.
All the while we were discussing Facebook and styles of communication an early 20s-something couple next to us was on a date and the whole time the girl kept taking phone calls and texting, all the while she was leaning across the table to smooch the fellow. When they left, I pointed out the extreme difference to Erika.
Not once during dinner did either Erika or I touch our mobile phones, I did not take photos or check my email, she did not take any phone calls. We talked. Then again, we weren’t on a date, just having a fun debate over issues. Yet, the youngsters were completely ok with continuous partial attention and smooching in between communicative interruptions.
One of the things that Erika pointed out to me during our discussion, of which she should know as we have been friends for over 18 years now, is that if I strongly don’t like something then it is a guarantee that 80% of the rest of the planet will strongly like it. I have a problem with intuitively not being mainstream. Thus, if I don’t like Facebook, you should probably go buy stock in it. Well, if they were public that is.
I got home tonight and found this post over at The Spittoon and have concluded that I must not be “Miss Con-GENE-iality“:
If Facebook is starting to take over your life, maybe your genes are partly to blame.
While I am good at keeping up with a wide circle of networks, I don’t enjoy nor have I gotten sucked into Facebook. As I stated to Erika tonight, it really comes down to the open web vs. the closed web and how services like Facebook & MySpace encourage folks to remain in the closed web and get dumbed down by the confined space. Erika argued that folks like the convenience of the closed web spaces like Facebook & MySpace that allows folks to do everything in one place.
I don’t want the internet to become an slightly more interactive version of the brain dead Boob Tube (TV), but a place where folks can grow and become more creative and alive.
I have social networking fatigue and I have had it for years.
I jumped on my first alt.music board/list in 1994 and have been full bore ahead on mailing lists, alt.music, bulletin boards, message boards, groups, friendster, myspace, flickr, twitter, facebook, jaiku, ad finitum, ad nauseum ever since. Fifteen years later, I alternately love the online spaces that allow me to really connect and be fed by others, and I am overwhelmed by the ones that sap my attention and energy.
I hate chat/IM/AIM and text/sms is not far behind in my book, as they both demand that one reply immediately and in a shallow fashion. I really do prefer asynchronous communication in which I can take the time to reply in depth if necessary to instant now chat. I prefer to be able to check in on [insert name of service] when I have the time and post / reply at my leisure. It is for this same reason that I only pick up about half of the phone calls I receive. As a bouncy adult who is easily distracted, I have learned that I need to think before I respond.
As a creative who has had her own consultancy / freelance web design & development business since August of 2000, I have learned that if I want to be a good little citizen and pay my bills on time I really need to focus on the task(s) at hand when I am working.
While continuous partial attention may be a great catch phrase for the current cultural zeitgeist, if I practice it at any length it will toss me out of my house and I will be living in my car. My car, while wonderful, does not have a comfy bed & a hot shower. Thus, I need to focus and concentrate on work and the online leisure activities that feed my life and soul – like blogging, researching, creating, and communicating in a constructive manner.
Ok, so that is my explanation for preferring email & phone calls and avoiding chat & texting. Now let’s talk about social networks….