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June 25, 2007

I've Joined a Social Network....Now to Find Some Skills to Go With It.

My wife is away this week visiting her mother, which means I am spending most of the day by myself, in conversation mainly with the cats. One of them has arthritis, which he complains about bitterly each time he stands up or sits down. So we talk about that, for example. Also, about the role of Bukharin in the Comintern. The latter discussion tends to be rather one-sided.

Anyway, Rita is way more in touch with IT and Web culture than I am. (Before she left, I gave her a copy of She's Such a Geek, which was well received). But in her absence, I have somehow managed to get myself signed up for Facebook.

So if you are in that, uh, neighborhood, or whatever it is, by all means, feel free to say hello. Keep in mind that I have almost no idea what I am doing. Actually "almost" is probably overstating it.

Posted by smclemee at June 25, 2007 8:43 PM


I figured you for a MySpace guy, Scott!

Posted by: Josh Glenn at June 25, 2007 10:03 PM

I'm really more of a mimeograph person than anything. This whole "Internet" fad will blow over any day now.

Posted by: Scott McLemee at June 25, 2007 10:11 PM

You might want to check out this blog entry and i's accompanying essay before you become too devoted to Facebook:


Posted by: Chip Beckett at June 26, 2007 1:24 AM

Thanks, Chip. Actually I have seen that. Rita tells me the author, Dana Boyd, is one of the few people talking about youth and Web culture in an informed, unhysterical way.

It actually had something to do with my decision to go do a little "participant observation" at Facebook -- in that it led to a conversation with a colleague in which I learned that one of the younger staff members at Inside Higher Ed had created a Facebook group.

I've seen plenty of MySpace pages (the fan site for Complete that I listed here a few days ago for example) but had never looked at Facebook, much less been aware of the social and cultural distinctions in effect. It's all very Bourdieu-esque.

Posted by: Scott McLemee at June 26, 2007 6:42 AM

I was happy to add you as a friend Scott. :)

Posted by: richard at June 27, 2007 9:55 AM

Thanks, Rich. So noted, and "friended" in return, as with a few other people.

Now perhaps someone can explain what the hell happens next. In other words -- and this question may be an index of my semigeriatric cluelessness about the whole thing -- what do you actually use Facebook for? I'm not dubious about it, or being sarcastic, or anything of the sort. It's just a matter of trying to get my bearings.

Posted by: Scott McLemee at June 27, 2007 10:04 AM

I'm on MySpace and a whole big mess of other "social networking" sites, but not Facebook. While MySpace is often butt ugly, Facebook has always seemed lame to me. I'm not sure that anything happens next.

With MySpace I've been able to reconnect with people I haven't seen or heard from in 10 years, but each site has a different dynamic. Some fall flat for me, but some are actually useful. I've been connecting with many of fade theory's readers on Flickr. And seeing their photos (not photos of them, but the photos they take) gives me a better idea of who they are. I've gotta admit, I like that.

Posted by: rachel at June 28, 2007 2:58 PM