Social Media and Relationships
Just so that you know that we are not all dead in memesland, I just read this article by John Birmingham on the Brisbane News website. His argument is that despite the popular stereotype of the social media user being a sad, lonely, loser, alone at a keyboard, his experience is the opposite:
The net and its various ways of connecting people is not driving us all apart. Quite the opposite. It’s creating virtual communities which can easily, and often do transform themselves into real world friendship circles or social networks, to use an uglier, more sociological term. I’ve been online for years now, and although I gathered my oldest and closest friends to me long before I sent my first tweet or wrote my first blog entry, most of my new friends, and they are real friends for the most part, have come from the unreal world of the web, from the supposedly isolating, distancing digital realms.
Most of the friends I connect with regularly on Facebook, Twitter, and other networks we have developed over the years are people I knew before the relationships moved online, the social network provides another channel to exercise that relationship. There are also people I only know through social networks, and I look forward to meeting them in person, sometime.
My eldest is an avid user of Twitter, and on turning 18 started attending the monthly meetup of Brisbane Twitter users, moving hitherto online relationships to face to face ones.
I know of research being conducted that suggests that this sort of social media use—using online mechanisms to enhance pre-existing relationships—is common. Maybe a bit more about that later…
In the meantime, Birmingham’s take is a refreshing antidote to the doom and gloom that usually surrounds social media use.