Now then, those who regularly read this England's England place and take an interest in my spoutage will know that I'm an early adopter of social networks. As soon as one comes along, there I am camping outside overnight waiting to gain entry so's I can, well, explore and fiddle before anybody else.
In theory I should use them to 'talk' to other people. I suppose I do a bit, but it's all a bit superficial and they are usually people I don't actually know, just share some vague common ground with. In contrast, I note even the most cynical of folks are hammering away day and night on Facebook or Twitter, stopping only for short periods of sleep. They actually live their lives on social networks with an addiction that I'm sure isn't healthy.
I think I last saw this level of addiction to social networking when CB radio was popular in the late 1970s. People would live their lives around their CB sets much as people seem to live their lives around soaps on TV.
For me, as a person who was highly addicted to CB, I'm not saying I'm above social networking, just saying I don't find too much satisfaction from internet based social networks, despite fiddling with them and understanding them.
In many ways modern social networking has gone further away from the days of CB. In those days you heard the actual voice of the person you were talking to, and they were usually not that far away. These days social networking has moved backwards to be based on the written word, and, like in the days of having pen-pals, the person on the other end can be anywhere on the planet.
For most users of Facebook, the experience is far more like the old CB experience. People are communicating with others that they will also meet up with in real life. It'll be their long term friends and current family or work colleagues that dominate rather than friends or relatives who have moved overseas or have lost touch.
Facebook has become an extension of actually socialising with people, such that having gotten home from work or the pub, people will typically carry on communicating with those who were there for real at work or in the pub, only this time via their mobiles attached to Facebook.
To be fair, there are similar dependencies playing out via Twitter, although that network doesn't lend itself to deep and extended conversations with just the same people. It is, however, excellent for 'broadcasting' information to the whole planet, rather than just keeping in touch with close mates.
Anyway, the other day I was snooping into a conversation on Facebook during which one long term addict who was now finally on Twitter, was singing the praises of Twitter as a campaigning tool and suggesting that because of Twitter, the population had managed to sway decisions being made in the House of Lords (yeah, whatever!).
A rather disgruntled Facebook addict, who uses the social network to talk about his relationship problems, to communicate (argue) with his other half, to discuss everything he possibly can with his work colleagues, and, well, basically, live his entire life via Facebook, was not happy at being encouraged to join Twitter. Indeed, he refuses to use the proper name and calls it 'Twatter' or 'Tw@tter", and always seems so negative when Facebook discussions turn to what people might have seen on Twitter.
His killer outburst was, "I'm not on Tw@tter, I have a life".
Ha ha ha ha. How I laughed out loud. A life eh? Spending all day and night on Facebook is a life? You couldn't make it up! But it is funny how people like him can't see themselves for what they actually are, and how the one major thing lacking from their experiences actually is a 'life'.