The Social Network

I went to see The Social Network last night. Why not, right? It’s a movie about how Facebook got its start, and Facebook is a huge part of my life these days.

But this post is not a movie review. Nor is it a discussion about how much of the film was fact and how much was fiction.

For me, the story begins on Friday night, when Aaron Sorkin, the film’s writer and director, appeared on The Colbert Report. Sorkin confessed that he doesn’t use Facebook, and then said I think socializing on the Internet is to socializing what reality TV is to reality.

Click on the screenshot for the link to take you to the video

I get it. Facebook has certainly changed the way we interact with each other. The question is, is it for the worst?

Certainly, there have been tons of stuff in the news that might support this. Here in BC, there was a recent incident where photos of a young girl who was being sexually assaulted were posted on Facebook. The question that needs to be asked is, how did the person who posted those possibly come to the conclusion that that was cool?

Are we exchanging quality relationships for quantity? Is it better to have 2,000 friends on Facebook, or 200 with whom you are able to adequately interact with?

I have been really vocal on my position on this. As a single parent, and someone who works alone, Social Networking is a life-saver. I love to interact with people, I need it, in fact. But because of the nature of my work and life, the folks I get to see the most are my son and my cats. I get to “check in” with my friends in a virtual way.

This week I had a very powerful expereince. I got to meet Kate Foy in person. I’ve know Kate for two years, and we met via Twitter. We have worked together (virtually) on the World Theatre Day Blog, and had many, many conversations via email, Twitter, and Facebook about theatre and the life of an artist. On Saturday afternoon, Kate and I, along with Lois Dawson, had that conversation around my dining room table with coffee and cupcakes.

That is a meeting that, without Twitter, and without me being on Twitter, would have never been able to happen, and it was an amazing experience.

So, what do you think? Do you think that social networking is making our relationships more superficial? Or is it exactly the opposite? I look forward to continuing the discussion with you in comments below.

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

Comments 9

  1. Bec, as someone who is retired from full – time employment, living alone and in a delightfully fairly-secluded place I, like you, rely in large measure on social-networking to keep in touch personally and professionally. I also enjoy the fact that my network of friends/colleagues/contacts extends so widely and provides me with potential diverse points of view.
    Yes, we will continue to experience challenges in dealing with what can, as a tool for communication, be used from everything from uncivil discourse to weaponry – but then, so can the pen, as I recall. It’s the pusher not the pen that has the power. I’d urge not throwing out baby with the bathwater, but that’s one metaphor too many at this time of day!
    PS It was a good meetup Saturday. Last night I met, shared a meal, saw a play and talked for the first time face to face with Janice La Couvee. Wonderful. Today’s first with Simon Ogden, another twitter/blog ‘friend’ will, I have no doubt, be just as stimulating and rewarding. Never mind thw width, Mr Sorkin, feel the quality – oops, a metaphor just crept in …

  2. Kate, I was going to wait until a few more people commented before I put this comment in, but I’m bursting after reading yours, so screw it.
    Like almost everything, Facebook is a tool. And it is in the hands of the users that it becomes a weapon or a powerful connector.
    Guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people, right?
    I agree–people in Vancouver were all up in arms the last few weeks when those photos appeared on Facebook. And that was a horrible and shameful thing, but it’s the fault of the person who posted, not “The Facebook.”
    Next comment! I’m shutting up, now. 🙂

  3. Rebecca,

    We met because I saw you on Face Book which led me to your Blog where I found and purchased your book about Social Networking.

    I followed your advice in your book and I started my own Twitter account @susanopera and my Blog http://scwr4.wordpress.com

    Without FB and Twitter, La Fábrica, Contemporary Arts and Culture Centre in Queretaro, Mexico, @lafabricaorgmx would not have even known about WTD 2010. (Well, I certainly did not, and thank you Rebecca for involving me in WTD 2010).

    The founder and artistic Director, Alonso Barrera, @barerraalonso, of La Fábrica Contemporary Arts and Culture Centre in Queretaro, Mexico WAS NOT EVEN SURE HOW TO USE TWITTER before the success of his accepting to participate in WTD 2010 and then convincing another local Mexican theatre company of the value of participating and performing for free at La Fábrica to a SOLD OUT audience during WTD 2010.

    Are Alonso Barrera, and now La Fábrica, benefitting and growing their local, and I dare say, national and international theatre audience by being on Face Book and Twitter?

    WELL HECK YES!

    Alonso just successfully cast his new musical WONDERLAND, (he wrote it, will direct it, and this world premiere will happen in April 2011), and where? ALL ON FACE BOOK AND TWITTER! What an ingenious way to conjure up support and an ongoing contact with his audience!!! He also posted links on his and La Fabrica’s Twitter to announce the auditions and the results…..

    La Fábrica will enthusiastically participate in WTD 2011 on March 27, and even add an “Opera” component ala “A Talent Search” at the Moser Café Kultur hosted by the Opera and Wine Lovers Club that is launching in November. Now this is a partnership made in heaven – both businesses drive building audiences and support for the ARTs in Queretaro, Mexico.

    Needless to say, it was for me and my husband a pleasure to meet you and your delightful son Michael at the Granville Island Water Park this summer, IN PERSON. This would never, ever, have happened if FACE BOOK and TWITTER were not my lifeline to the rest of the world.

    Once again, I happily say, “Yup, none of this would ever have come to pass without Face Book and Twitter”.

    And really Aaron Sorkin – get a grip, (and not just on all the money you are raking in because Face Book exists so you can make a film about it!)

    OR

    Was your appearance on the Colbert report just a PR gimmick??? I wonder??? Does anybody else out there wonder???

    Rebecca, thanks for sharing such a joyful post!

  4. When I moved to Chicago two years ago, nearly every person I met in the theatre industry was someone that I had previously corresponded with via social media — particularly Facebook and Twitter. And even though I moved back to Atlanta a year ago, I’m ecstatic to still have the ability to keep in touch with them on a very regular basis — certainly more often than I would normally make a phone call!

    For me, social media is a lifesaver.

    Also, great picture, gals, but I wanna know what Rebecca is laughing at 😉

  5. I agree with all the responses so far. As a mom, entrepreneur and artist who is also a serious introvert (who takes a day to summon the energy to make a phone call), I would be way more isolated without facebook in particular. And the connections I’ve made through my enewsletter/blog/FB wouldn’t have happened. These connections have kept me in touch with people far away, people who’ve bought my work, or who have contacted me about exhibitions and other opportunities. I don’t have a massive following, but there’s no way I would otherwise keep in touch with the hundreds of people who appear to be interested in what I’m up to.

  6. Thanks for your post Rebecca. I say that social networking is allowing us to deepen connections with people in our own cities and worldwide who we would never have met otherwise.

    It was great to meet Kate Foy last week. I’ll have tea with Lois Dawson soon when she’s in Victoria, and we’ll get a chance to connect too! Soon.

    I value my online connections SO much and appreciate that many people will take those connections offline too.

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