03
Dec
09

facebook and sociality, a clarification

Since writing this post, I’ve talked to some people who have expressed their views on facebook and the era of sociality that we seem to be entering.

Often, the argument is some defense of the facebook-type sociality or just the plain fun of facebook games (I can’t relate to this fun, but others insist that it exists). However, this is a misunderstanding of my argument. My claim is not that web-mediated sociality is bad. As I said, it is a type of information exchange in some cases and a type of entertainment in others. Nothing wrong there.

My only point was that we better not think that what we’re doing on facebook, blogs, and twitter is being social. As I explained, sociality must take place in real time because it relies inherently on repartee, quick thinking, face reading, and the timeless arts of changing the subject, enduring platitudes, and making jokes.

Are there benefits to being entertained or educated by our electronic contrivances, sure. Do such advantages outweigh the ossification they wreak on our ability to interact with others? I doubt it. But this is not to say that there are no benefits to these new forms of interaction.

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