Brave New World of Digital Intimacy


I resisted getting a facebook account for quite some time, it wasn't until I was graduating from Carroll and I wanted to stay in contact with my friends which went to various colleges, in different states. Before then I was worried about the idea of having information online, I even unplugged my computers from the internet when I didn't need it. Over time I realized that I could "control" who can view the information that I put on facebook. Later I found out that third parties can sometimes access facebooks accounts, but by this time I had become comfortable putting information online. I am however careful what I do put online and am surprised at what others post online. However, I have enjoyed the ability to keep up with friends, and not have to ask basic info like birthday, etc... Also, I can share things, such as photos and have friends comment on them which is fun.
With the success of facebook many other social networks came into existence; such as twitter which is much faster and shorter updates, often from a moble device such as a phone. However, even if twitter's many random updates add up to a meaningful portrait of the person, I find that thought out posts can be much more meaningful and interesting. Such as on facebook, updating how ones day went verses updating every step on twitter. Also, facebook allows for detailed profiles, and photo albums, etc...
-Joseph S.


This article intrigued me especially because I have experienced this "ambient awareness" that is referenced in the article and loosely described as "something that's hard to understand until you've experienced it", and it's completely true. I am completely within the demographic that Facebook was created for, and I haven't been there since the beginning, but I've reaped the maximum potential benefit that someone can from a social networking site like Facebook.

Years ago when I was still in high school, Myspace was the rage, and the first glimpse I had into online social networking. I originally thought it was stupid and a little pointless, but eventually caved to my curiosity on what I might be missing out on. It was strange at first, I got over that, but I still used it very infrequently after creating my initial friend's list. I simply had too much of a social presence in physical life, and didn't have enough time, interest, or need to cultivate a social entity on the internet. However, similar to Joseph, when college struck at the end of the summer and all my friends seemingly evaporated overnight, I was left with a dire need to keep in touch with them. I had Myspace, but it felt antiquated and the remnants of awkwardness from my original attempts still lingered. I'd heard about this other site that was supposedly a lot better, called Facebook, I gave it a shot. A few years later, Facebook is now one of my largest sources of communication, and there is no comparison to how well I would have stayed in touch with so many of my high school friends without it.

I thought Twitter was stupid when it first arrived on the scene, but after realizing that it's appeal is basically what I find appealing about Facebook, short blurbs about the lives of people I know, I find myself interested in giving it a chance. The article wonderfully captures the significance of such seemingly mundane blurbs, and I find I was doing something all along and never knew it. That I was piecing together all of these blurbs to continue painting a mental picture of so many of these people who I don't physically see anymore. That I, in fact, found their online presence to be much more engaging and interesting than their real presence because of the sincerity and introspection that they had due to the indirect nature of the internet. That constructing and maintaining my virtual identity is important to me because it's how so many people will view me and I want it to be as accurate as I can make it. I realize that I participate in communities, engage in activities, and uphold values and I didn't even realize it. The transition to this new age of digital contact happened so seamlessly and swiftly for me, it didn't even make a splash, which is the author's point at the end of the article. That this isn't a fad or some transitory period, and a shift in society and communication as a whole.
-Matt Burroughs



Karen H.

So I kept falling asleep while I read this article, should I tweet this to all those tweeters out there? Maybe I'll add the tidbit to my facebook status? I must admit that I use these social technologies and follow my friends and my fringe friends, but there is something to be said about the loss of privacy. It's hard for us to turn off between cell phones, twitter, facebook, email, news feeds, even tv. all invade my time and my privacy.Sometimes I don't care to be in constant contact. I feel the need for a vacation right now just thinking about all these social obligations. But alas, I would probably bring my laptop and cell phone and tweet away all my adventures while on vacation. "Oh what a tangled web we weave." Sir Walter Scott.

Wendy Lohr

Okay, I'm not a huge fan of Facebook, although I do have my own Facebook page, and I really don't like Twitter, but I am cognizant of the fact that most individuals in today's society are willing participants of these social networks. The only reason I have a Facebook page is because I had to create an account in order for me to be able to view my best friends' pictures of her son. I have friended people from high school and some people from where I used to work, but it's rare that I will ever get on Facebook to see what's going on with their lives. I truly have no interest in whether Julie just had an epiphany with her artwork or Mike reached the next level in Mafia Wars. And anyone who has friended me will never see updates on me because I never post anything. I view Facebook, Twitter, and most any other form of social networking as something that works for some but not for others, just like most anything in life. Some people will think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread and others will find it to be a waste of time and energy. But the true fact is, these mediums exist regardless, and just like the Internet, they have their pros and cons. It's all a matter of what works best for each individual and how comfortable they are with the various forms of social networkings that lie at their fingertips.

Alvaro Giorgetta

I remember I used to make fun of my friends when I found out they would spend hours updating their profiles on Facebook. I found it uninteresting, and lame. I just couldn't understand what was so special about this site. For me Facebook was just a website where you go to find out what's going on with people's lives. It wasn't until a few months ago that I created an account. In my case I created a Facebook page because I work as a DJ on weekends and I have to admit that The event feature on Facebook is very useful to tell all of my friends when and where I am going to be playing music, in just a matter of minutes. However, a few weeks after I created my account I realized that I was using facebook not only to post my events but also to stay in touch with friends, to express my mood and also to see what other people where up to. Basically, without even realizing it at first, I just became a Facebook addict! It wasn't until my friends started to make fun of me (because of my anti-Facebook position for years) that I realized I just became one of them... When I was reading this article I felt identified with Marc David words Yet it is also why it can be extremely hard to understand the phenomenon until you’ve experienced it. Merely looking at a stranger’s Twitter or Facebook feed isn’t interesting, because it seems like blather. Follow it for a day, though, and it begins to feel like a short story; follow it for a month, and it’s a novel" That's exactly what happened to me.

The article also mentions that in the past sychologists and sociologists spent years wondering how humanity would adjust to the anonymity of life in the city," a world of lonely people ripped from their social ties". When I was younger I read a short story by Luis Fernando Verissimo called "trash" related to this concern, in which two neighbors that live in a building know about each others private lives by going through their trash. I guess that thanks to facebook I won't have to go through my neighbors' trash anymore to find out about their lives, a left click will suffice.