Social Ghost Archetypes

I met Allie for the second time at a birthday party. The birthday girl is a Social Tech Ghost. Allie is a Pseudonym Surfer and former Dunbarian. Another person at the party is an Infrequent Checker. I decided these remainĀ legitimate strategies to keep from getting drawn into spending too much time online. Since I like to label things, Social Ghosts, stuck in my head. From the perspective of someone relying on social network web sites to communicate, these are difficult people to locate, keep, or reach. Much like ghosts.
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The Social Tech Ghost: This person entirely abstains from social network web sites. This is a person who wants to see you in person or talk to you on the phone. Email is grudgingly accepted. Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and Friendster are accused of ruining friendships due to being impersonal. They are fads to be resisted in order to maintain strong social bonds. Probably this person would be a fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s article Small Change except they do not read my blog post about weak ties, Twitter, or Facebook so they did not know about me posting the article.

The Pseudonym Surfer Ghost: He or sheĀ participates online under fake names. You drop them from your friend list because you have no idea who they are. They might work in an environment hostile to employees getting tagged in photos of wild parties. They might be online to interact with a handful of family and close friends not any random acquaintance who feels they deserve to be friends.

The Infrequent Checker Ghost: This personĀ has a profile. However, months can go by between logins. Peer pressure forced them to get an account, but there is no peer pressure to actually use it.

The Dunbarian Ghost: Too many “friends” causes this person to purge. The right number may or may not be Dunbar’s Number: a mean of 147.8. What is important is the person feels the need to be social with everyone on the list of friends and too many makes that too hard. Therefore some need to get lost.

I am sure there are more. What other social ghost archetypes do you know?

P.S. From the “In Real Life” perspective, I am a Social Ghost. So. Meh.

Dorm, Major, or Race

“College freshmen are more likely to make friends with peers they share a dorm room or major with than they are to befriend those from similar racial backgrounds…”

I barely remember my roommate from living in the dorm freshman year. He was as much a stranger to me as the person you routinely run into at the store. I felt trapped living on campus when I wanted to be a few miles away in my own bed. His leaving town on weekends to go see his girlfriend was good for me.

My initial declared major was pre-engineering. None of my true friends were also pre-engineering, but then again my true friends were mostly met in high school. The few friends I made in college were all over the place major-wise: pre-law, biology, chemistry, philosophy, english, education, business. They were people I met either in class or at work.

The researchers used Facebook as the measure of who are friends. Given most friendships on Facebook areĀ weak ties rather than strong. The people we know well, trust, and hold great affection reflect our strong ties. The people we barely know, but on whom we depend for the information social networks convey are our weak ties. Facebook is excellent for this. From this perspective, if I were a freshman in college today, I probably would be getting as many people in my classes as I could. (This is why so many of my coworkers are in my list of friends. Don’t worry, Glenn, you are more than just an acquaintance. :))

Blog Crush: Part II

Following up on my blog crush post.

The Internet is a much bigger place than just the blogosphere. My previous comments were solely about blogs and strictly within the definition of “blog crush” provided in the qotd, not any of the many other forms of communication offered by the Internet. I have made lots of companions and even several friends over the Internet. I currenly have more companions and friends from online sources than offline sources (though I am currently working harder to create offline, local relationships).

Its a Straw Man Argument to characterize my lack of enthusiasm about making friends through blogs as because I am not open or trusting.

From the definition of acquaintance:

1. Acquaintance, associate, companion, friend refer to a person with whom one is in contact. An acquaintance is someone recognized by sight or someone known, though not intimately: a casual acquaintance. An associate is a person who is often in one’s company, usually because of some work, enterprise, or pursuit in common: a business associate. A companion is a person who shares one’s activities, fate, or condition: a traveling companion; companion in despair. A friend is a person with whom one is on intimate terms and for whom one feels a warm affection: a trusted friend. 3. familiarity, awareness.

I don’t share the intimate details of my life in blogs. Of course, I don’t share the intimate details of my life with anyone other than a handful of people. From the dozens of personal blogs I’ve read (leaves out the newsies, techies, etc), almost all do the same as I in leaving out the intimate details. Other than George, I don’t think the rest of you care very much for the details of some woman sticking her tongue down my throat, the details of who I find physically attractive, or even for whom I am going to vote. This lack of intimacy on everyone’s part is what prevents the creation of friendships from solely the use of blogs.

So what about warm affection? A good test, I think, would be to suddenly read in the blog post that a friend and family member wrote the blogger died. How would I feel? Would I cry over the loss? Would I want to go to that person’s funeral? With Bernie or George, I would really feel the loss and at least shed a tear. Prema, Porsche, and Briana would get a least some thinking about the great memories for a long time combined with feeling of loss. The others? I would feel a little bad, but I would not be devestated. Sorry, Gina.

Certainly, I have been called a Vulcan or even named Tuvok. My interpretation of what is a friend probably is much stricter than most would use. However, I am very open to making friends online. One can always use another friend.

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