Over the weekend I was bestowed by the wonderful Pervisha the One Lovely Blog Award, which made my wee heart very happy. Thanks so much Sweetie, that was very kind of you.
Blog awards are interesting little things. We fellow bloggers award them to one another for the same normal award reasons, we want to recognize in a formal way the enjoyment we have felt when we read the awardee’s blog. These awards can help to promote a blog you love, and a lot of times these awards ask the recipient to pass on the award to other bloggers (almost chain letter style, but with good intentions). Sometimes it can be difficult to come up with the required number of new recipients, especially if you are new to blogging. In their own way these awards are trying to help build our blogging community.
This got me thinking about the terms: blogging community and social networking. These are relatively new terms as they did not exist about ten years ago, but they seem to be a part of our current vocabulary. The terms are used with such frequencies that I personally tend to be dismissive of them. We bandy them about and give them the greatest of importance. You MUST have a Facebook/Twitter/Youtube account, it is imperative that a business maintain contact with their customers through social networks, blah, blah, blah. And while I think technology is good and can help us connect, I think we need to hold our horses and prioritize. Technology is a tool, it is not the ends, but the means with which we communicate. We should not be forced to adapt to it, rather we should use it as we see fit for our lifestyle.
I then thought about how technology has been integrated into my personal relationships. I have a lot of friends who are not local, so having an email account has saved me a lot of long distance calls. We can email and text one another and keep in constant contact. I also have a Facebook account which is thoroughly ignored. I did not enjoy reading posts that were in my opinion inane (not all of them mind you, but somethings are left best unposted), I do pop in every so often to check in with some distant pals and reconnect. But if you’re really close, we would probably keep contact in other ways than posting public messages. What I have enjoyed the most has been blogging. I feel like my blog is a virtual home that I’ve crafted. A place where I can post what I like. In my mind it’s like a little cottage that I have set up and furnished (furnished with words, pictures and video links) so that I can invite some lovely friends in. I have met many wonderful people through blogging and commenting. I really enjoy the exchange that we have and look forward to it as part of my day. The blogs I read and comment on feel like neighbors and friends, so I do agree with the term blogging community. But the term social networking comes across to me as trite, it demeans the quality of the relationships in my opinion. It is a hyped word that business people who aren’t really doing it, but see a lot of folks (i.e. potential customers) doing it, use. To me there is a belittling action in it’s usage, it’s over-usage almost guarantees that it will one day become passé. I know this is just my opinion, but that’s the good part of being in one’s own home with friends, you can make silly declarative statements that may or may not come true but echo your current thinking.
My last thought is: remember the pet rock, or more aptly, remember MySpace? Technology is always changing, but the one thing that is not replaceable is our humanity (artificial intelligence is science fiction because we can never create an algorithm which mimics human feelings, creativity, and thoughts).