I admit it. I have been living in fear. I have had a Facebook page for years, but I only used it for work and I set it up under a pseudonym so my friends couldn’t find me. I figured it was less likely that something horrendously embarrassing might be posted, ruining any future political ambitions (of which I have none, but I always figured it was good to have options – even incredibly unlikely ones), if my profile wasn’t there to attach it to. I have also watched roommates sink hours and hours of what I considered fruitless time monitoring Facebook. Even Benkler’s assertion that Internet time comes mostly at the expense of television (the “deep-fried dough” of social experience) and shopping was not reassuring. (After all, I like TV and shopping.)
So I set up a second Facebook account yesterday. Under my real name even. Interestingly the people who responded fastest were those who live in different cities who I have not seen in years. Already I see what Benkler calls “a thickening of preexisting relations with friends…” (p. 357). I am a horrible correspondent; when I do write, the effort I put into each email to make up for the great deal of time that has passed since last I corresponded ensures that I won’t write again for another year. Responding to a post, however, doesn’t require nearly the same amount of effort or the expectations around immediate response. Maintaining these relations has become a more fluid process where previously it was a largely lapsed one.
Just in terms of our classes’ experience on twitter over the past week, I feel as if we are forming our own little “gemeinshaft” which is both satisfying and surprisingly rewarding. I certainly feel more connected to the rest of #MACT2011 than I did over the past year. Our twitter experience is the first social media experience that I found concretely supported that social media could provide or enhance a social community on more than a superficial level.
Meanwhile I keep getting welcomed to Facebook like the luddite that I now realize I am.