Monday, January 24, 2022

The Power Of The Social Internet

 One of the thing that continues to amaze and encourage me is the power of the Social Internet.

The Social Internet - a term which I believe was coined by either Cal Newport or Nicholas Carr - was designated to refer to the deeper interactions on the InterWeb, an arena of discussion and information exchange that is set in opposition to Social Media, which is a 140 character/picture laden version of "Fire And Forget" technology.  Social Media involves throwing things up and out and then responding in short bursts or immediately moving on to "The Next Big Thing"; the Social Internet involves talking about and exchanging views about things, perhaps not always with a resolution.

My example -and why it struck me this week - was my post on having to deal with mice.

I posted my issue and the little bit I was doing.  What I received in return was a bevy of helpful suggestions, not only in how to deal with the problem but (perhaps more importantly) how to deal with a change in my thinking, from cute "Ratatouille-esque" Disney Characters to the bringer of war, disease, famine, and death (in other words, The Riders of The Apocalypse are apparently mice).  The remarkably odd thing about this - and what makes it very non-Social Media - is that in none of this was there any sort of berating about "How did you let this happen?" or "Why do think about things this way?"  or "By The Great Jehovah, you are an idiot for doing it that way".  Just helpful suggestions and support on how to deal with a problem which is apparently a great deal more widespread than I had thought.

This is the power of the Social Internet.

I have seen it time and time again: 

- In people sharing their ongoing projects which either informs those that have never done such a thing or creates a feedback loop where they can get suggestions; 

- In people writing of history (their own or others) that helps people learn more or draw connections and understand how people, places, or movements got to where they are;

- In people sharing their struggles and finding both support and experience from those who have gone through similar things.

I do not discount that perhaps such things are possible on Social Media - but they are not possible in the same way.  Seldom can one post an actual thought process, information ask, or struggle on any of the Social Media platforms and get the same thing.  If lucky, one gets a number of "hearts" or short supportive comments.  But nothing like what I have seen with The Social Internet.

It encourages me.  It encourages me that there are any number of people out there who are deep, thoughtful, and willing to share their own information and in some ways, their own lives in a way that the current societal standard exchange does not.  It encourages me that there are still people out there that can discuss and suggest and not just "react" to a comment or given situation.  

It encourages me that such people - you - exist.

If we ever get to more sane and sensible times, I would like to believe that in part, it was because it was revealed that Social Media had nothing to offer but division while the Social Internet had the power to enable actual thought, conversation, and information exchange.

Thank you for being part of this small outpost of the Social Internet.

Your Obedient Servant, Toirdhealbheach Beucail

20 comments:

  1. My go to these days seems to be YouTube if I want to learn how to do something. But if I am just seeking out collective wisdom, Blogger is a great place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ed, I am not as much of a fan of YouTube as I should be in terms of the fact that there is a lot of good information there. Certainly when I need to do some small task on the cars or in the house, that is the first place I go.

      But yes, I do not go there for collective wisdom.

      Delete
  2. I agree with Ed about YouTube, tis a wealth of information. But, like all advice, it is up to the individual to sort the wheat from the chaff when viewing as there is a fair amount of rubbish broadcast on this channel, human nature I guess.
    As for the Social Internet, it is indeed a wonderful source of advice with is mostly given honestly and with good intent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I am just not that good at sorting, John.

      I have learned tons about gardening and building wilderness backyards from you.

      Delete
    2. Very kind of you to say so TB

      Delete
  3. I think part of your success here is that you run a tight ship. To put it simply, you don't tolerate folks who are mean or trollish. It feels like a safe place to comment. It's nice when we can respect each other and learn from each other. (even if we don't necessarily understand each other)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kelly, thank you and your comment made me laugh - I do not picture myself as running a tight anything! I think is more a byproduct of my mother's kindness and the "Be Nice Or Go Home" sign that is above their back door.

      We badly need safe spaces on the InterWeb - not as they are defined today in the modern world as "single opinion" places, but as places where people can comment - respectfully - and be heard and possibly learned from (even if, as you say - and I agree) we do not always understand each other).

      Delete
  4. If you posted the original post on book of faces I wonder what the response would be. Totally different? Or possibly more helpful hints.
    Margi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm. What a wonderfully thoughtful question Margi. My initial reaction is "not the same", but I am not sure that to what extent that would be true. A few helpful suggestions, I sure. That said, my public persona and my blog persona are rather different - both me of course, but different sides of me.

      And honestly, there is not a lot of advice asking I have seen on Social Media beyond fairly banal questions like "Can you recommend a mechanic/plumber/handyman in my area?"

      Delete
  5. I think the dilemma is best illustrated by the old cartoon: "You hold in the palm of your hand access to the accumulated knowledge of the human race. And what do you do with it? Argue with strangers and watch videos of cats."
    I recall telling my granddaughter many years ago now that I refused to touch social media, seeing it as spyware then, and much worse now. I told her that I have an email address, a snail mail address, and a phone number. I'm not hard to contact, but if it meant missing all of the pictures she posted, well, so be it.
    As for the issue of mice, we have had both mice and rats over the years. I have become very fond of old fashioned whitewash: Hydrated builders lime, mixed with water to a paintable consistency. Being lime, it has a pH of around 12, and is an excellent repellent for all sorts of vermin, from insects on up. In the crawl space under the house, I've used boric acid powder and diatomaceous earth with good results as long as it remains dry. We have waged war with the rodents with both traps and poison bait. With poison, it's occasionally unpleasant when they crawl into inaccessible places to die. In warm weather, the stench can take some time for the carcass to desiccate. I wish you the best of luck in running the varmints off to their acceptable habitat and out of your abode. In addition to being carriers of all manner of pestilence, they are incontinent in the extreme, dribbling urine and feces everywhere they move.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Greg, that is absolutely the case: world of knowledge, watch foolish videos and arguing with people that are completely meaningless in your life.

      Oddly enough, the only calls I get nowadays are occasionally The Ravishing Mrs. TB or one of Na Clann, or Uisdean Ruadh. Everyone else texts or does Social Media - not even e-mail anymore.

      Thanks for the advice on the rodent repellents. I had not heard of whitewash, but it makes sense (I do know about that level of pH). I have also dealt with the occasional "death in the wall" and yes, it does indeed stink for a bit. And they are as messy as you say.

      In other words, it sounds like I have reached the point of all out war.

      Delete
  6. Online forums of various sorts (machining, welding, guitar making, electrical, etc) have helped me so much- it is a chance to have access to the wealth of information accumulated by masters of the trades- and they get a chance to give to others-it's like a kid being able to talk to grandad out in the barn.
    The level of skill, and the variety of skills, is simply beyond human comprehension.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Raven - That is a really good point and something I do not make use of as I should. But you are right - online forums can be an excellent source of information and another example of the Social Internet and really using the InterWeb to exchange information.

      Delete
  7. I very much like the distinction of social internet versus social media. It seems they serve different purposes, and so suit different needs. Since I don't live with connection device in hand, the benefits of social media are lost on me (for example, here I am 3 days late to this conversation. If it was on social media, it would be lost to me.)

    I agree with Raven. Besides blogging, online forums are very social outlets for me (also one old-fashioned email list). Besides the sense of community forums provide, I love how globally connecting they are. A few years ago, I coordinated with someone in Australia and someone in Portugal for a project on Ubuntu forums. Currently, I'm coordinating with someone in Australia and someone in Britain for a project on Permies. I love this about forums.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leigh, someone far wiser than me has probably pointed out somewhere that the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO), which seems to have gotten some amazing legs in the modern world, is due in no part to modern Social Media and the fear by millions that somehow they will "miss" something if they are not right there all the time.

      Obviously based on both your and Raven's feedback, I need to give forums a second look.

      Delete
    2. TB, the good forums are heavily moderated, otherwise they quickly get taken over by trolls, spammers, and snarks. If you can find good ones in your various interests, they become a wonderful resource for information and community.

      Delete
    3. Excellent and that is helpful to know - and given the state of the world, I can indeed understand why such things would need to be heavily moderated.

      Delete
  8. You have extremely thoughtful readers and commenters - I like to think I am one of them, but clearly I can't even keep up with your prolific and profound posts, let alone comment regularly. I agree that the Social Internet (experienced through blogging, anyway) is a great generator and repository of good will. I don't think you put it quite that way, but I have been encouraged, and frankly changed, by the kindness of readers who visit me (you among them). Of course, if I ever had a mean commenter, I'd not give them space, but still... my experience is that the good far outweigh the bad.

    I've been a participant in the Social Internet since Yahoo! Groups was a thing. But I almost hate to admit I engaged in more debate and critique than I wish I had, and I now consider much of that wasted time and words. As I've gotten older (and hopefully wiser), I've learned to care more for kindness than cleverness. I don't need to always share my opinion, and I don't ever need to feel burdened by someone else's. Though I do have to remind myself of these things from time to time.

    Good comments above about forum usage and what can make them worthwhile. Finding people who recognize that who they are interacting with are living, breathing, complicated human beings (just like themselves) makes all the difference. That, and good moderators. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Becki! I am super lucky in that I have very thoughtful and serious readers (you included), for whom I am eminently grateful. I think, at least for myself, it has done infinitely good things in building the repository of good well.

      I have had a very few unfortunate commenters over the years - although I have come to learn that it is directly driven by what I post about. In a way I suppose, that has continued to drive what I write into less controversial areas.

      I, too, have engaged in more debate and critique than I probably should have in years past, but really have been working over the last year to reduce this. It is easier when I follow Miss Lydia's advice and choose my news feed. I am spending are more time now directly on sites and far less time wandering stores and comments. It seems to make for a more balanced me.

      I often have to "reign in" my own cleverness. And have definitely embraced the concept of not commenting everywhere and at all time.

      I have now had several recommendations for forums, including yours. This seems to be a thing I need to investigate.

      Delete

Your comment will be posted after review. If you could take the time to be kind and not practice profanity, it would be appreciated. Thanks for posting!