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Social Networking

2 August, 2010

I’m sure that we have all heard the tired cliche that the world is changing quickly.  I certainly have.

In fact, at the time when a lot of the trends that were affecting the way we communicate were being rolled out, I was riding the wave of these trends.  Somewhere between 1998 and 2001 – maybe it was to do with the new millenium thing – we all collectively realised that the way we were doing things just wasn’t working anymore: something needed change.  And that something was us.

  • MSN became popular, consigning chatrooms to perpetual refreshes with ever-dropping numbers.
  • With the Nokia 5110, mobile phones became standard, changing the way that we expect to be able to find people.
  • Blogging became something, if not done by all, then at least viewed and trusted by all.  The concept of anyone being a publisher was new, but took hold quickly.
  • Even blogging became streamlined with Twitter.  The gloss is wearing off this medium, but it is still a popular means of communication.
  • Other trends flashed onto the scene and left, leaving behind Myspace and, then, Facebook as communication devices of choice.

These all changed the way that we communicate with people.  Rather than someone having to be near a desk for them to be contactable, they are contactable at any time they choose to be.  Combining mobiles with Twitter and Facebook meant that we never had to be without the latest news from our friends and contacts.

This social networking is unprecedented.  When we are around other like-minded people, we are able to generate ideas that we couldn’t have conceived had we avoided them, or not come into contact with them.

It’s no accident that universities are formed with spaces for conversation.  These are the spaces that produce original thought, produce creativity, produce genius, produce breakthroughs.

With this in mind, social networking can just as much be a tool for people.  Not only is there the capacity for keeping in touch with friends from primary school and the like, but there is the capacity for being put in touch with like-minded people.  People who can advance us, make us think and do things better than we thought we could.

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