Cut me (to the) quick

29 August 2010

I’ve been looking closely at my social media connections – Facebook, specifically – and have been a little uncomfortable with the mashup of my professional and private life that Facebook has made over time. I resolved to separate the two using the advice on Lifehacker. In doing so, I discovered that my father has disconnected himself from his single remaining connection with me, his firstborn son. Not that we were close at all – far from it, I suppose – but it hurts nonetheless.

Facebook, like many other social phenomena of the Internet, is a wonderful tool of the new age of connectedness. I am a user and advocate of using technologies like Foursquare, Last.fm, Blipfoto to immerse yourself into the networks of humanity all around us. This new experience, however, leaves me sharply aware of the brutal nature of the new communication channels: there’s nothing like the rich exchange between two humans sitting face-to-face, using the complex emotional streams of facial expression and body language to be clear. Even that is hard enough. When you are reduced to a few words of type, or the 140 characters of Twitter, care has to be taken in disambiguating what is meant.

The most eloquent of communication, though, is tacit exclusion. It really, really hurts.

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