The Evolution of the Social Butterfly

By Michelle Miles

Things just are like they used to be. Back in the day, to socialize with your friends, you had to “know” people. You had to get invited to all the best parties. You had to show up and be that person that everyone wanted to hang with.

And nowadays? You just log into Facebook or Twitter or MySpace to socialize with your friends and family. I confess, I’m a Facebook junkie. I love it. I check it daily. I have the iPhone app and have several of my favorite people on Speed Face so I can check their status at only a touch. I love commenting on status updates. I’m not so much for the games, but I do love seeing what my friends and family are up to on a daily basis.

It’s funny to think about how things were fifteen years ago. Man and I watched the movie True Lies the other night. It was made in 1994. There were things in the movie we noticed that wouldn’t be permitted in today’s world. Like the guy smoking inside the hotel lobby. And when Arnie boots up the guy’s computer at the beginning of the movie it clearly says “Windows 3.1”. We laughed.

Isn’t it amazing how far we’ve come? Why, there was no internet back in 1994. At least, not the internet like we know it today. We certainly didn’t pay bills online and the only wait to check our checking balance was to either go to the bank or an ATM. Back then, I was logging onto a local BBS (bulletin board system) that was strictly for chatting. I thought I was totally cool when I had a 14400 band modem. I was more popular via the online chat site than I was in real life. And then I discovered MajorMUD, a text-based role-playing game much like Dungeons & Dragons (I was Poison Buttercup in that life).

And now? We have online games galore. We “socialize” by “friending” people online. I have over 1200 friends on Facebook and I’ve been asked if I really know that many people. Um, no. But in my defense, my “friends” are mostly writers. I love networking with other writers because, after all, this is a lonely business and who wants to go through it alone? I sure don’t.

It’s hard to believe how much things have changed in such a short amount of time. I wonder where we’ll be in another ten or fifteen years? Will we have vid-phones? Webcams as standard on every computer? How will we socialize with our friends then?

I’m sure the social butterfly will evolve yet again!

Michelle Miles is an avid movie watcher, a coffee drinker, a shoe collector, and can be found on Facebook daily. She runs her own fan page as well as the Red Shoe Divas page. Come socialize with her! Or just visit her website.

Comments

  1. Online socializing is definitely just another branch of real life socializing. My husband is shy in the outside world and also on Facebook. When he's feeling good he's on Facebook regularly. When he's very insular, he doesn't update his status or respond to friends' comments.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with you Michelle about networking - I think facebook and twitter are great to network with writers/filmmakers - people who are in the same creative field. You never know where it can lead - might just be purely social but it might lead to a collaboration as well. And I would also add - that as writers we do spend quite of bit time alone - and while that's fine - we sometimes miss the water cooler or coffee break chat that goes on in an office environment - so social networking sites provide that outlet as well. Fun post!

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  3. I seem to have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Okay, that may seem a little extreme. But it seems to me that we're being strong-armed into being on Facebook when it doesn't really suit some of us. The thing is, people now expect you to go to Facebook to interact, but suppose you're not that comfortable doing that? I also think we're losing a sense of privacy, and, in the future, there will be a turnaround and people will seek privacy more. Kinda like what I heard the other day - that in the future "celebrity" will mean being private and not out there because that's where the regular people are. lol! Interesting to see what the future will bring....

    ReplyDelete
  4. Back in '96, I was very active in some online forums. Back then (the Compuserve days) since you had to subscribe there was no 'anonymous' messages. If you were being 'flamed' or 'trolled', you knew who the party was! People could be and were banned by the Sysops who ran the forums. What a contrast!

    Back then, I attended a conference to meet and mingle with some of my online friends and it was there I met my husband! Hah!

    These days I find that I actually feel closer to some of my online buddies than friends I've known for years. There is more consistent contact, ironically, since it's easy to dash off a quick comment on a status update or dash off a quick email. Nowadays we might think, "I don't have time for a lengthy phone conversation, I'll just send a brief email."

    So there's that. But Kathy's point is good and intriguing. In a world where everyone is visible, and fame appears to be more important than cash, will the value of privacy shoot up?

    I go back and forth. I enjoy FB (though I'm rarely on MySpace these days) and did enjoy Twitter, although the focus there can be too much. However, when I realized one day I'd written nothing but Tweats and updates while my WIP languished, I pulled back. Waaaay back. *laughs*

    What I find most exciting is how fast technology and communication are accelerating. I just read today about the possibility of a mobile phone with video messaging!! That's the future, baby!

    Great post!

    --Chiron

    ReplyDelete
  5. BBS’s – I remember those!
    I was reminded how quickly everything’s changed when I recently revised a story from only a few years ago, and the technology references were laughable. Yikes. And now we can do everything over our cell phones.
    Now I have to subscribe to Wired to keep up with it all. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. It'll be interesting to see the next gen of social networking indeed! I'm finding that whenever I'm on Twitter or Facebook, there are also some good publishing/entertainment/book news there as well some book related appearances on the tv or radio. And I wouldn't have even known about it unless I saw it there! I love the networks for that alone. :-)

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