Over the years I have become so jaded: New games are just new games, new software is just new software, and computers are just computers. I join my many colleagues in finding the flaws, the problems, the negative side, the aspects that keeps us all from getting all overjoyed and enthusiastic about what the internet has in store for us. Leaving Facebook and taking breaks from being online is oh-so-fashionable, and we speak about the joys of being disconnected.
This is when I have to admit it. The Internet, the World Wide Web, Web 2.0 and social media have made my life more fun, more connected, and so much easier. Aside from the long, long list of tools for a researcher, and the research opportunities for a communication researcher, I enjoy it, plain and simple.
I think the moment when I realised that I do was when I met an old friend in Tampere, and he said: "you know, it's not popular to admit it, but seeing updates on Facebook makes me feel I know what goes on in your life, and that we're connected." It's true. It does make me feel more connected. No, it's not a big help when I need somebody to carry a cabinet from the street to the apartment, and another one back down (that will happen soonish, so if you're a friend in Copenhagen, and have a relatively healthy back, stay tuned, I'll alert you when I have managed to find THE cabinet.), but it is a great way to know abit about where my friends are and what they are up to.
One old friend was in Spain for a long time, now it looks like she has moved back to Norway. Interesting. A girl I spent a large part of my childhood and youth very connected to now lives in Sweden. I never knew! An old student keeps everybody updated about her life, which means I get to see where a fairly large group of old students hang out and what they are up to. Also, very interesting. A colleague was suddenly very quiet for weeks, nothing showing on her Facebook feed. What was up? Oh, look, she swapped workplaces! Really interesting!
Facebook (and other social media) feeds are mundane, but it's the mundanity that makes life. After all, life is what goes on while we wait for something to happen. So it's in those little bitty updates it really goes on, and that's why I am no longer too cool to admit it: I love social media. Thank you, all my online friends, for every picture of cute cats and cuter kids, article read, concert heard, restaurant checked into. It's life that goes on right in front of our eyes, and I don't care that it's edited to make you look good. I love you anyway, so I want to see the good parts you want to share. And I'll hold your virtual hand over the hard patches, if I can help. That, and birthdays, is what social media are for.