Do social networks make us less social?

So I use Facebook and Linkedin, and to a lesser degree even MySpace. I’ve even started to Twitter. I’ve connected with former Co-workers and even some classmates from high school and college. But now what? None of my former classmates from high school live in my town and so there won’t be any connection there. My college classmates have even splintered more. So now what? I made the effort to connect, so I guess now it’s time to network with strangers. How do I feel about this? My first inclination is, what do I hope to get out of it? I might as well cold call people and introduce myself and ask them if they want to be my friend. Well maybe that’s where the beauty of social networking kicks in. I can hide behind the screen and type away without really uttering a word.  Pretty social huh?

I’m thinking that there are more people like me out there. We have been drawn to the light of the flame, or by others who have touted it as the NBG(next big thing) and once we got there, we’re like, “Ok, now what”? I don’t want to work “That” hard to connect with people that a) I barely remember b) I barely knew and c) I hardly liked. So what is there to do with my newfound social network?

 I think what would be more fun is to have a site that does then and now pics. Now that would be social. We could sit around and do what everyone does at reunions. Whisper behind their backs about how fat and bald they all are, how messed up they are, how much they changed, etc etc. That’s social isn’t it? It’s also a form of networking.

Truthfully, I’m still trying to figure out what to do next. I suppose that I need to maybe elaborate more on my profiles and make them even more accessible than they already are. Which in reality, I’m not wild about, because I really don’t want my data passed around like a church collection plate. But I think I’m a little too far down that road. I suppose it does have networking possibilities, but that will have to be something that I continue to evaluate.  To me, networking is of 2 forms: Can you help me get a job or Can I get some business out of you?

Now, I’m not saying that the social networks don’t work on certain levels, it’s just that it might work better on large scale enterprise lavels rather than former classmates and workmates trying to connect after x amount of years apart. In fact for high school and college and large organizations, social networks totally make sense. The question is do the social networks create online social clicks similar to what you might have offline? The data is still out but I would be curious to hear from someone who is knee deep in one to give us their impressions and feedback as to how it has affected them negatively or in a positive way. There has to be some twisted slant already brewing from the advent of these. We don’t need to address the stalkers, the lurkers, and the usual freaks that go to these. Don’t forget the internet is a reflection of our society. To that end, to bad we can’t be made aware of these people online. Picture some type of nondescript, dirty white conversion van as an icon or avatar. That would be sufficient warning.

The bottom line is social networks are here to stay. They just need to be more socially accepting to the average lay person who might not swim in the same circles as everyone else. But still would like to be accepted,  would like to enjoy and utilize these networks to some degree. Sort of mirrors life doesn’t it?