I’m a bit of a nerd/geek/techie/whatever you want to call it. The reason is that I love what technology makes available to me. And, for me, the main attraction is the ease of continual learning.
I’ve begun to realize this is a real dividing factor among people and how they feel about technology and particularly things like Twitter, Facebook and blogs. People often say to me, “it’s just junk.” My response is that if all you’re finding is junk on blogs and social networking sites, you need to connect with different people. You’ve chosen poorly. Find smarter, more interesting people. I find more useful and interesting material everyday online than I can possibly read and absorb.
If you’re a person who wants to be learning something new all the time, you love how technology makes that so easy. If you like to remain connected with people from all time periods of your life, and meet new people who share your interests, you love the options of social networking. Part of the reason I love those connections is related to learning – all of those people have interests and information they can share with me.
However, if you’re content with the circle of people in your world and the information those people bring, this would have less appeal. I guess it’s a matter of degrees. If you are not interested in expanding your circle of friends, and you don’t feel a need to learn new information all the time, I can see that these things would have less appeal.
I may be prompted to go read about a particular town because I meet someone from there. Someone’s interest in spirituals may lead me to connect those with the quilts used on the underground railroad. Yes, I might gather the same information from a book at the library. But, I would have to think of the subject by random, or run across it by accident. While I’m very creative, I don’t like the odds that I will accidentally learn about a 1500’s era shipwreck in Nehalem Bay, Oregon. And some things can’t be learned that way because they’re fleeting and won’t ever make it into print in a library.
I get on Facebook and learn about the lives of people I haven’t seen in decades. I want to know about their lives. I want that connection. They may share a bit of information I find valuable. They may just tell me about their day. They may show photos of their families. Because I care about those things, I want that interaction. Yes, much of it is not earth-shattering. It’s conversation. Much of your daily face-to-face conversation isn’t earth-shattering either. It’s about building familiarity, so you can move to the next level. Facebook allows me to do that with people I can’t geographically be face-to-face with.
As with all things, it’s a matter of interests, I suppose.