Asocial Networking vs. Social Networking

Thinking out loud here…

The term “new media” is thrown around a lot. The definitions shifts just as often. One thing that always makes me smile is the use of “new media” when discussing people coming together online. In fact, bulletin boards precede the Internet. Are forums and chat rooms fundamentally different from tools that help you stay connected to people within your “social graph?”

One thing that has certainly changed over time is the use of the Internet to keep in touch with people you already know. Many of the bulletin boards and forum sites facilitated typically replaced the need for phone/face to face contact. Many of these areas became replacement for more traditional human contact. You got to know the user “xyz” as “xyz” and not John/Jane Doe.

The tools are similar but the use case is very different. I spend some free time on forums focused on road biking. I don’t know a single person that participates and feel very comfortable being pspande and hanging out on the boards reading and discussing topics of interest. Essentially, I am being asocial.

If a member of that forum tried to friend me on Facebook I’d be talking about the action as Facebook spam. Facebook is for me to stay in touch with people I like and know personally. It is a social tool.

Have I just done one too many red-eyes this month?

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