« e-Waste | Main | What is genuine? Does it matter? »

December 02, 2007

"MYSPACEBOOK.PAST: Friending, Ancient or Otherwise"

"MYSPACEBOOK.PAST: Friending, Ancient or Otherwise" is the title of an article published today in the New York Times. The author, Alex Wright, contends that sites such as Facebook are not necessarily brand new methods of communication. He compares them with ancient communication methods, rituals, and ways that our ancestors made friends. Here is a short excerpt from his article:

"The growing popularity of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Second Life has thrust many of us into a new world where we make “friends” with people we barely know, scrawl messages on each other’s walls and project our identities using totem-like visual symbols.

We’re making up the rules as we go. But is this world as new as it seems?

Academic researchers are starting to examine that question by taking an unusual tack: exploring the parallels between online social networks and tribal societies. In the collective patter of profile-surfing, messaging and “friending,” they see the resurgence of ancient patterns of oral communication." -Alex Wright

If you're interested, the rest of the article is accessible at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/02/weekinreview/02wright.html?em&ex=1196744400&en=a6d2efd9a3ec07fa&ei=5087%0A

I find this research quite refreshing. It highlights humans primary need to establish connections with each other. I see the internet as a wonderful communication tool. However, as the article suggests, the importance of face-to-face interaction should not be underestimated. I think that true, lasting relationships are more likely to be established only after personal, real-life meetings. Therefore, perhaps the internet should be viewed as a beneficial supplement to human communication.

Posted by leslieph at December 2, 2007 02:54 PM


The idea that these social networks are not actually new is very interesting to me. My grandmother is very active in the Order of the Eastern and it is definitely her "social network," if you will. It's similar to Facebook in that you can spend a lot of time with it and get little return from the perspective of someone not involved. Many of their activities take place according to preset rules and regulations. People may argue that Facebook isn't regimented but it is, everything is formatted and accessible at Facebook's whim. Mr Wright is on the ball.

Posted by: srmschlg at December 2, 2007 10:00 PM

Login to leave a comment. Create a new account.