Thursday, March 26, 2009

Twitter, Multiply, Friendster, Anyone?

For millions of years, human interaction has been limited. Social intercourse had to occur face to face, through messengers, smoke and light signals.

But with technological advancement such as the cellphone and the Internet, billions of people can now reach out to touch friends and strangers thousands of miles away.

We may now be able to say things faster to more people, but what we say is another story.

I have an account in Multiply and Friendster. There, dozens of people provide constant updates that can be classified as the death of structured writing. They range from "I want a new camera!" or to the occasional ad ``We are selling a brand new Ipod Nano…"

It is easy to criticize the instant-messaging culture but we shouldn't blame the messenger. These social networking sites thrive because they tap into primal forces. It upholds that most cherished human value: freedom.

I can say what I want to say, when I want to say it, or not say anything at all. Direct interaction is unpredictable. Technology relieves us of that burden. It allows us to control the face we show the world. (Look at those glossy, edited photos posted on everyone's profile).

Social networking sites feeds our inherent narcissism, allowing us to talk on and on about ourselves, our thoughts, our views, without fear of watching boredom spread on the listener's face or someone cutting us of.

And on the other end, it allows us to be voyeurs. To secretly watch the lives of other people unfold, check our exes' new lovers, spy on where your boss went for vacation.

Nevertheless, as I roam the blogs in cyber space, I can't help but realize how ordinary most people are. The deepest mysteries of life are always there to tackle but these are the eternal questions: How are you? How was your day?