I think I get it now. Social software isn’t just about getting in touch with people you used to go to school with and looking at the ads on the sidebar that are tailored to your browsing behaviour. It’s not just about broadcasting yourself to the world, or collecting pictures of pretty/funny/interesting things you have found. It isn’t even just about conducting social interactions with people who are geographically distant from you. Social software is about amplifying our existence. Its about letting us do the things we want to (and have always wanted to) do in ways that are faster and more convenient than they have ever been.
Is it ironic that many people don’t know the names of their neighbours but spend hours developing online communities? I’m not sure. A few years ago, my brother moved from a small town in Northland to Brisbane. He was telling me recently about a group of people who congregate in a park across the road from his house to fight each other with big foam swords. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but it pings their thing. If someone who lived in a small town was interested in battle re-enactments with foam swords, they might have a hard time finding a critical mass of participants, but because there are more people altogether in a city, the interest groups have enough members to form sub communities. I guess web2.0 has made the internet into a really big city, and enabled lots of little subcultures.
Have I enjoyed writing this blog? Sometimes. Will I do it again? Probably not. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I like my conversations to have a face attached to them. I like my productive time to be spent producing something that I perceive to be useful, which to be honest this blog really isn’t! The exercise has helped to consolidate my understanding of a few Social Media concepts, but I think my next ‘study session’ will involve a few friends and a bottle of wine.