Facebook as social rule of thumb?

Facebook as social rule of thumb?

Summary: This new course I'm taking introduces sociology, and I assure all you budding sociologists who read that this new-found knowledge isn't going to my head. It seems for many, especially students who are forced into a semi-confined place as others, take precedent, that Facebook confirms events within our lives.

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facebookthumb.pngThis new course I'm taking introduces sociology, and I assure all you budding sociologists who read that this new-found knowledge isn't going to my head. It seems for many, especially students who are forced into a semi-confined place as others, take precedent, that Facebook confirms events within our lives.

I think a "hypothetical" scenario will make more sense of this. Say a friend of mine gets drunk one evening, and decides it's a brilliant idea to stump up the courage to ask her friend out. For those not aware, this is the process of beginning a relationship with somebody, especially in climes like the UK. He eagerly accepted, semi-drunk himself.

They wake up the next morning, sun blazing through the curtains, huddled in each others arms, hungover. (The real sights and smells are to be somewhat desired; a prettier picture will suffice.) The dilemma is this.

She remembers what she did, but can't remember what he said, and hopes he can't remember. Whereas he remembers, but doesn't know whether she remembers what she said, and if not, whether she remembers what he said. Confusing, right? Her way of solving this difficulty, is to let Facebook decide.

The pirate version of Facebook

Instead of bringing up the conversation, thus indicating uncertainty or invoke discomfort, she's waiting for Facebook to tell her, by means of a relationship status change. A real love story of the modern technology age to tell the grandkids in years to come, I'm sure.

Whilst I was practically pissing myself with laughter at this story, it just made me think what a massive impact an online world can have on a primary and predominantly offline world. It just goes to show that we rely heavily on an online medium to direct us and instruct us of goings on in our worlds, our social circles and professional lives.

Some might say, if we didn't have Facebook, we simply wouldn't know a thing. Let me know your thoughts - if you were without a social network, would you be clued up with the latest goings on? Would you be missing out? Do we rely too heavily on the online world to keep our offline world in check? Your comments if you please...

fb-pirate.pngUpdate: Wow, you guys are clever. The Facebook screenshot is my current language setting. Andrew Mager, my ZDNet colleague reported some time ago, that you could change your Facebook language to "Pirate mode", which mine is currently set to. It makes for interesting reading when drunk, which I am 107% of the time.

Topics: CXO, Collaboration, Social Enterprise

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6 comments
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  • From a different perspective...

    In some respects, I think Facebook also lends itself towards those who were never woefully successful at being social in the real world, but could feel like they were in the virtual one. More real than IM with people you'll never meet, or forums that bring anyone from anywhere, Facebook could make an acquaintance possibly someone you'll get to know better, but also, could open you up further than you might think.

    Anyway, it's just one more way to stay in the loop to be honest, and for some of us, it's a great item.
    clindhartsen
  • RE: Facebook as social rule of thumb?

    As funny as the story is and as lost as I am for a meaning to "nailed up as marooned," the point you make is intriguing. The difference with Facebook and other online social networks is they are just that: online. It's easier for us to check in quickly, whether that's to put up a crazy one-liner about our current status (no doubt some co-workers understood why I considered walking out into speeding traffic last week when I posted that on my profile), check out our friends' pics from their weekend getaway, or delve even deeper to see what groups our friends belong to.

    We can do most of this without online social networking but it takes effort and commitment. We need less post-work or school day social calls now because we see what's going on real time. Do we need to see it real time? No, but some of us enjoy it.

    Are we relying too heavily on these newer mediums? Perhaps. But I like to think of it as personal style. I don't do well at maintaining friendships. No, I actually stink at it. While facebook isn't making up for my shortcomings, it's making it easier for me to stay in tuned with my extended group of friends. It hasn't replaced the way I stay in touch with my closest friends. I still use e-mail for that! ;)
    stimply
  • Hypothetical?

    [i]I think a hypothetical scenario will make more sense of this. Say a friend of mine gets drunk one evening...[/i]

    Wouldn't a better hypothetical be that one of your friends DOESN'T get drunk one evening? ]:)
    MGP2
    • RE: Hypothetical?

      We're students. We're permanently nissed as a pewt.
      zwhittaker
  • RE: Facebook as social rule of thumb?

    This new environment has stolen our ability to function in a person to person situations. Good, bad or indifferent. For some it is bad because facebook can not make a marriage or a livein relationship work. You need people skills, you need to be able to feel and express your feelings to someone when they are in front of you .
    amadigan
  • oh for heaven's sake

    I only left uni 5 years ago, but facebook didn't even EXIST then. In fact, Social Networking as a phenomenon hadn't hit. People seem to forget how NEW some of these things are. A couple of my friends there hadn't even got mobile phones for the first year and a bit.

    Somehow we survived though. Could it be that we actually bothered to meet face to face, or at least send texts and make calls to stay directly in touch, or even go as far into this futuristic world as to send emails? Things don't necessarily need to be broadcast to absolutely everyone in order for your social life to survive. Crikey, most of the world's only had usable internet for about 10 years.

    "If we didn't have facebook, we wouldn't know a thing" .... naaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAh. Personal experience - it's reminded me that a load of people from school who I could, frankly, note care much less about actually still exist, and has taught me an awful lot of stuff that's of little use or interest to me (and in some cases not really any of my business) about the people I do take an active interest in. Almost all, if not completely all of whom I first met and forged friendships with face-to-face. And I'm not exactly the most outgoing, boisterous chap, even after a few pints. What I do know of them that matters came from actually talking.

    It's a fun thing and a nice way to share photos, but, at least in my own circle, isn't actually that essential. MSN messenger, now there's a handy thing...
    tahrey