Monday, December 27, 2010

Another Facebook Article in the New York Times

Central Park got about 20 inches of snow and just about everything is closed.  I am off from work anyway so I am stuck in the apartment all day.  On a normal Monday I would read the New York Times on the commute, but today I read it at home.  The magazine section featured short biographical sketches on many celebrities who passed away in 2010.  An article by Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary anthropology at Oxford, titled You've Got to have (150) Friends caught my eye.

I have made several comments about friending and unfriending people in the Facebook sense in this journal.  Let me quote Professor Dunbar directly:

"Social networking and other digital media have long promised to open up wonderful new vistas, all from the comfort of our own homes. The limitations of face-to-face interaction that have, until now, bound us to our small individual worlds — the handful of people we meet in our everyday lives — would be overcome.

The critical component in social networking is the removal of time as a constraint."

There is only so much time that we have to socialize with people face to face or over the phone.  Sites like Facebook give us more time to virtually socialize with our "friends".  We can go to their walls and see what they are doing.  If we are acquainted with them in a business context, we can observe what they do outside of work.

I observe that one colleague is a real social butterfly outside of work.  Another young lady from another university gives me the impression of being a kook when I read her Tweets and Facebook posts.  She seems quite level headed when I see her at professional meetings.

Tomorrow is another day and I'll be able to venture outside the apartment.  At least there a super and a custodial staff who shovel snow.  I will have to clean out the area near my garage, but I won't have to use the car for several days.

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