Friday, August 14, 2009

Social Networking - Part I

About 10 years ago, I was having a discussion with a friend who doubted that online social networking would ever catch on. And actually, I didn't realize myself just how huge this phenomenon would later become as I had tried to convince him that people would change their tune later. Who would have thought he'd belong to Facebook before me?

Anyone who knows me has had the experience of dealing with some resistance from me through the new waves of technology over the years. The first time I came in contact with a computer was ironically at the library at CSULA when I was a student in 1984. They started out with one or two catalog terminals back then. If you were to walk in there now, it seems as if the computers have taken over the library. Who would have thought?

Shortly after my first introduction to computers, I found out that the small company I was working for then was taking that forward step into technology as we all got our own computers. No more tedious work on an electric typewriter for me!

For 15 years, my viewpoint was that computers were about making work more efficient. Not about meeting and connecting with people online. The whole idea of going online just seemed bizarre to me when a boyfriend tried to explain how it worked. Time and time again over a year's period, he tried to convince me to just try it. The only thing I was willing to do on his home computer was play solitaire. Finally, one day I decided to take that next first step in the land of technology- the Internet.

My first experience involved going into an online chat room which for a hard-of-hearing person was a dream come true. I could understand what every single person said in my open and private conversations in that online room without having to ask anyone to repeat themselves. If I had known what a life-altering experience it would be, I would have tried it out much sooner. I will admit I did become quite addicted to going online to chat to people all over the world. I do still have some cherished friendships from that time even though I no longer have gone to chat rooms for quite some years now.

Back then, if you admitted that you had met someone from online in person, people would often look at you like you were crazy. What sane person would do that? Was it even safe? That was the the just tip of the iceberg. Online dating sites were fairly new but starting to become popular slowly in the late 90s. I have taken that route before and have met some interesting people but never found love there as some have.

For me, it seems technology has taken me full circle as I once viewed it as a way to achieve your work more efficiently. Social networking now has become a visible and viable way to live your life. From myspace to Facebook, Twitter and so much more, it can include every facet of your life- from school to work to hobbies and more. It still astounds me the explosion of technology in what seems a rather short time in history.

My next installments are going to cover various social networking sites as I attempt to familiarize myself with more of them. I've had quite a few myspace accounts that I've opened and deleted until I stuck with the current one I have. In the last year, I've had countless requests to open a Facebook account. I just roll my eyes as I say, "I don't need something else to worry about online." I already have multiple e-mail addresses, a myspace page and a Twitter account I had opened up back in December and forgotten about till I was recently reminded of when a couple of friends added me. That doesn't even include the message boards and blogs I hardly visit any more due to a lack of time or forgetfulness. So whether you're a seasoned social networker or a newbie, follow my journey in becoming more knowledgeable.

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