Friday, April 24, 2009

FB- couldnt have said it better about the past resurrecting in strange dimensions

Online social networks are so new that it’s impossible to know their long-term impact. There’s some evidence that college students have mixed feelings about being guinea pigs for the faux-friendship age. One student interviewed for a study of why and how college students use Facebook, which was published last year in The Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, admitted that being privy to the personal details of “friends” who she had not seen in years made her uncomfortable. “Someone from earlier in her life had broken up with a boyfriend,” an author of the article, Sandra L. Calvert, a professor and chairwoman of the psychology department at Georgetown University, told me. “She felt she knew all these intimate details about this person, yet they hadn’t actually been in touch for five years.” On the other hand, a study published in 2007 in The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication suggested that hanging onto old friends via Facebook may alleviate feelings of isolation for students whose transition to campus life had proved rocky. Evidently they took comfort in knowing that “Dylan is drinking Peets.”


That may well be, but something is drowned in that virtual coffee cup — an opportunity for insight, for growth through loneliness. Perhaps my nieces will find a new way to establish distance from their former selves, to clear space for introspection and transformation. Perhaps they will evolve through judicious deleting and updating of profile information, through the constant awareness of their public face. Maybe the Greek chorus of preschool buddies will be more anchor than albatross, giving them strength to take risks or to stick out tough times. It could be that my generation was the anomalous one, that Facebook marks a return to the time when people remained embedded in their communities for life, with connections that ran deep, peers who reined them in if they strayed too far from the norm, parents who expected them to live at home until marriage (adult children are already reclaiming their childhood rooms in droves). More likely, though, the very thing that attracts us oldsters to Facebook — the lure of auld lang syne — will be its undoing. Kids, who will inevitably want to drive a stake into the heart of former lives, may simply abandon the service (remember Friendster?) and find something new: something still unformed, yet to be invented — much like themselves

1 comment:

A.Decker said...

I value solitude and "growth through loneliness"(love that phrase)so much, I haven't a clue why so many are so attracted to "staying connected" as they are these days. But I'm pretty sure that your concluding suggestion, that they will find "something new: something still unformed, yet to be invented — much like themselves..." is most likely the case.

Interesting observation/musing.