Friday, October 3, 2008

Facebook: Creating Our Individual World

Young people today spend a lot of time on facebook, myspace, and other "social utilities" and as a recent convert to this Web2.0 world, I've finally figured out why. These mediums are an absolutely magical way of creating your own personal place and your own personal brand, while connecting at significant level with friends and family.

I can't believe I'm saying this, because three months ago, I had my heels firmly dug in against these "intrusions on privacy," these "time wasters," these tools that separate us even further from the physical world. But since I've started using facebook, I've discovered that these tools can actually enhance the physical world.

Wanting to share the beauty of our neighborhood in Western Loudoun, for instance, I have posted all kinds of digital photos on my facebook page. Receiving lots of comments and encouragement, I took the next step and scanned in a bunch of old family photos that had been collecting dust in drawers for years. Friends and family had a ball looking at them. I've shared hiking expeditions, horseback adventures, Shenandoah canoe trips, photos of our two dogs, quotes from favorite writers, and even thoughts collected in this blog.

It's been a joy to share all those things with others and it's been an equal joy to share their homes, children, and adventures with them. These virtual experiences do not replace the physical world, but they certainly complement it, and give us the opportunity to look more deeply at things around us, share them with others and, consequently, give them meaning and value. (Marilyn Finnemore)

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