Saturday, June 30, 2007

Brad Paisley Shows Us Our Own Ridiculousness, Again

Brad Paisley's latest music video humorously depicts internet behavior. In "Online" he discussed the persona shifts that sometimes come along with online interaction when a user portrays themselves in a stronger, more confident way.

I discussed social networking the other day and, while I think online interaction serves some purposes, it can not replace face-to-face interaction. Our lives are different online than they are in the real world. As I write this, I am wearing a faded 15 year old t-shirt and baggy cotton pants, yet I could present myself as a cutthroat business person if I so chose. I could not, however, walk out my front door in these clothes and elicit the same response. Don't misunderstand me; I don't mean to imply that one of these is the right way, the other wrong. I think both real world and online interactions can be enlightening, educational, even empowering.

Brad Paisley has yet again analyzed our society at a wonderfully basic level. See some of his other observations in "Celebrity" or "Alcohol." Reality is always entertaining.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Join a Social Network, Or Else

"If you don't belong to some kind of social network, you soon may not belong anywhere." So claims Daniel Tynan of US Airways magazine's "Our Digital Life."

Social networks come in all shapes and sizes. You can find one for almost any interest you have. Socializing online carries a number of conveneniences. Many networks involve leaving messages for others, which means you can squeeze it in whenever you have time. Chances are low that you'll experience that so-what-do-we-talk-about-now awkward silence that often occurs when meeting new people in the real world. It's a great way to have your questions answered, or learn how others have succeeded in a project you are currently facing.

Online social networks aren't exactly new, they've just evolved. I agree with Tynan that they can be valuable resources, but don't go just for the popularity factor, go for the experience.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Social Networking for Kids

The adults that haven't picked up on Second Life may now be invading the kids online virtual world, Webkinz.

I just learned of this new hit from a friend of mine who saw patrons of all sizes carrying small stuffed animals in the mall. The way it works is you purchase a Webkinz stuffed animal, then go online to adopt your new pet. Upon adoption, you are given a room, food, and KinzCash to be spent on more food, adornments for your room, or even more rooms. Your goal is to keep you pet happy, healthy, and fed.

In Webkinz you can play games at the arcade (and earn more KinzCash), speak to your pet through a menu of phrases, or interact with other Webkinz. It's social networking for a littler crowd, except, like Beanie Babies and Harry Potter, the adults are taking this fad over. With parental monitoring, however, this could be a fun way for kids to interact with a computer.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I've Missed My Blog

I've written in earlier posts about the amount of time many of us spend on our computer and how this affects our personal relationships. I am generally in favor of stepping away from the computer.

Odd phenomenon, though. I've actually felt guilty for neglecting my blogs lately. I've been traveling, working long hours, cheering on little league games, and otherwise ignoring my computer for weeks. I became anxious to write again.

With those that have left comments here, I feel a certain camaraderie. For all of the readers that have taken the time to find this little blog, I feel an obligation. This is part of my social life.

The internet is a remarkably significant part of my life. I've missed my blogs. It's good to know they've been here patiently waiting for me.