Over at RevGalBlogPals, KathrynZJ writes: I had the joy of spending time with Songbird last weekend, someone I would have never met had it not been for the blogosphere. Now we keep in touch using a large variety of methods: blog (hers a lot, mine not so much lately), facebook, twitter, text messaging, chat and email. So far there has been no skype.
It got me to thinking of the pros and cons of these relatively new means of communication and interconnecting and so I ask you the following:
1) What have been the benefits for you of social networking (blog, twitter, facebook, etc...) Too many to list here. Personal benefits have been great, but it helps me in my spiritual life and my work, too. I'm part of a connectional denomination, and I believe we are more connected than ever thanks to social media. And because I work for an organization historically related to the denomination, it's a big advantage in my job.
2) Which medium do you use the most? Or if you use them all, for what do you use each of them? I figure I use FB the most, even though it's not my favorite. I'm on there because other people are on there, and there are lots of advantages to being connected in that way.
3) If you could invent a networking site (with no limits on your imagination), what would it provide? What would it not provide? I'm a big fan of not reinventing the wheel in this regard. In the past year I've been part of a team that has tried to encourage conversation among United Methodists in our geographical area, and the decision was made to go with a non-FB platform. Hardly anyone uses it. I think there are probably deeper reasons why people don't want to discuss in a dedicated public forum, but I suspect it might've been easier for some to do so if we had just piggybacked on what many people were already using. (The person who said he wouldn't participate if it were on FB because he didn't want to be on there? Well, he hasn't signed up on this other network, either.)
4) Who have you met that you would not have met if it were not for the 'miracle' of social networking? LOTS of people. Fellow United Methodist bloggers, many of the people in the RevGals webring, even some folks in my metro area that I only discovered because of their online writing.
5) Who do you secretly pray does not one day try to 'friend/follow' you? Well, it's not a secret any more if I post it on here, is it? ;-) But I'd have to say it's pretty much anyone from high school besides the one person from there who is already my friend. This is the reason I do not put my maiden name on FB.
BONUS: What was the most random/weird/unsettling/wonderful connection you made that would not have happened if it were not for the ease of which we can find each other in the computer realm? This is a really tough bonus question! Social networking has gotten me into a lot of rewarding stuff: friendships with RevGals and others, dog rescues, blogger meetups... There's a certain kindred dog mama I'm very glad to have met, among many others... if I spent the time to link to them all, I'd never publish this post! And I love the way that second-level conversation happens so quickly when you've known someone online and meet them in person. The pleasantries are still there, but you can pretty much skip the small talk and get down to real stuff. It's a blessing.