Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Keeping in Touch, in the 21st Century

I know it’s only Wednesday, but it’s been a weird week, this week. Weird because I’ve bumped into or talked to a good half dozen people that I used to work with, at a previous company. Actually, no, that’s an exaggeration; it’s only been four. Still, though, that’s a lot. I’m not the best at keeping up with people—even when they’re in my MSN Messenger list, as most of these people are—so coming into contact with so many, in unrelated situations, is bizarre.

But it’s not just former colleagues I’m bumping into. A friend—who also happens to be in my MSN Messenger list, and to whom I rarely speak—sent me an email this week, inviting me to join Facebook. This is in addition to the other friend, who invited me to join Facebook.

As an aside, I don’t know why so many people are inviting me to join Facebook; I know that the whole “social networking” thing is very trendy right now, but isn’t Facebook aimed at the college-aged crowd? I’m 32, and I have no urge to reclaim my youth. Next thing you know I’ll also have to sign up for the other ones; and Friendster and LiveJournal and MySpace, etc. etc. In fact, now that I think about it, I think I’ve already been invited, by other friends, to join MySpace.

It reminds me of all of the situation with all of the different chat clients, five years ago or so; I had to have multiple—MSN Messenger and ICQ and some other ones (the names of which elude me)—because I had friends who used each. If you didn’t use the same chat clients, you were in danger of losing touch. Now it’s social networking sites. If you don’t belong to Facebook, you might lose touch with all of your friends that do, and if you don’t belong to MySpace, then you might lose touch of the friends who use that.

The silly thing is that I know for a fact that not all of the people who are signing up for these services are going to stick with it. They’ll sign up for Facebook, and say to themselves “Wow, this is cool!” So they’ll fill out their profile, and upload some pictures, and then bombard their friends with invitations to join. And then people like me will do it, for fear of losing touch, only for the initial person to get bored after a while, and never touch it again.

So I’m still somewhat undecided. I doubt I’ll sign up for Facebook—even though I’m afraid of losing touch with the person who invited me—but you never know. Who knows? Maybe joining Facebook would give me “cred” with my youth group kids… (Just kidding, of course. If I don’t have cred with my kids, signing up for a useless social networking site isn’t going to do it.)