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Page history last edited by Andreas Formiconi 14 years, 11 months ago

Social Networks again

Translated by Ilaria Montagni

Facebook: yes or no? A silly question but always present when a new mass phenomenon takes place. "But didn't he make this question?" could ask some of you. Yes, I made this silly question, with the assignment 5. I made it to provoke a wider reaction on what it means "being online" and thus having your help to better understand this situation. Just for this reason we are carring out a survey which, in passing, is compulsory for everybody, also for those who do not use any social networking tool and also for quiz addicted.


Reading the answers which are growing in this questionnaire (106 up to now), it's interesting to see a frequent reaction which can be easily summerized: "Ah, real life is far way better than the virtual one!". This is one of those sentences that we banally agree with, a part from pathological situations, so that one ends with this statement, loosing the chance to get deeper into an important matter. In this post I'd like to suggest a further investigation on this subject and I'd like to listen to your opinions.


As I had the chance to say and write, I don't like FB and I don't spend much time in it. I don't like it because everything is extremely volatile, because you have to face too many requests, because you would need too much time to decide if join or not a group, because you always have to listen to voices that you won't like to hear, a lot of contacts, fleeting and superficial ones, a general stalling, because everything just becomes a mere quantity and in such a quantity there's a consequential and imperant words watering.


Poor words, how much they struggle nowadays to complete their work! How many words are uttered, but how few reach their aims. Uttered in a supermarket, in a classroom, at the mass, on a square, transmitted in thousands ways, printed, by the radio, by the tv, phone-calls, phone-calls, phone-calls and texts and then read, seen, on the posters, on the street lamps, the placards, the placards where they pass by like on a screen-saver and then on shirts, cloths and then and then...


I mean that everything that annoys in FB, well the world has it enough. I mean the real world. The pen-written words on the bus or on the walls of the houses are different from those on FB's wall? Or that conversation that some days ago has destroyed the filters of my mind while I was having a beer "...because he thinks that, I mean, because he has to go out with us, I mean, he's like, she's like, how he sees me, I don't care... up to a point... I can't believe it... really... cool... I mean...", is that conversation different from those on FB? Or the worlds thrown up from demential tv programs, millions, billions of words uttered in hours and hours of daily dedication of parts of the population certainly majority, are those words better than those which fly on FB? Or the words munched in the noise of the disco? Those enriched with tons of chips and litres of aperos by people in bars, people sometimes on sidewalks, streets? Is this so different from FB? Or scholars's words, technological ones, new words, uttered in a couple in tons of congresses, meetings, events, shows, scientific conventions, no... those are serious words, they would have important meanings, difficult things, specialists's things? Who knows... Anyway, it happens that when you hear them in your world, you find out that they are repeted a lot of times, pompous as the foam of a beer badly poured sold like a well poured beer, sometimes even naughty words. Well, rubbed, scrumbled, diluted words, are they so different from those invading FB? And the words in politics? It's better not to touch this matter...


Of course: real life is better than the virtual one, but is real life so great? Or maybe there are some forms of virtual participation which have superior human qualities in relationship with real life?


So this is my first point: in real life you can communicate in a dense and sympathic way sharing happy and sad emotions but you can also live by robbing, lying, treading or simply watering precious feelings: in the same way, in the virtual world you can create great online connections as you can do your part in watering words.


So, what can be different? How staying online? How not being overwelmed by something which seems useless or dangerous or simply stupid like FB or others social networks?


I think the answer is just to the source, to the real source of any instrument you decide to use in order to make anything, so even to the source of online tools. The answer is in the attitude towards the external world, in the spirit with which we go out any morning or with which we start doing something new.


In the past, I took part in some meetings with Patch Adams, the American physician who has put smiles and sympathy in his doc's bag. A lot of people may know him for the famous movie on his life with Robin Williams. The fundamental point from which Patch Adams starts for all his considerations is just the attitude towards the external world where he suggests replacing the paradigm


I can' t do this because of


... tiredness, my maths' inability, my lack of time, economy crisis, rain, my son who doesn't make me sleep, illness, the fact that I don't know English, my technology's inability, bad luck... oh I've no time to breath... I can't, I can't... ah, this is not for me... this thing and me: two worlds apart...






now I do this because I have the aim to



i.e. being ready to use any method or tool in order to reach a precise aim

In other words, the issue is not being in real life or in the virtual one, but using the tools of real life and the virtual one to reach an aim, more generally to realize a project, maybe in order to accomplish your own project of life.


Under this light, all the tools of the world are potentially useful and they can be at the same time dangerous. In FB you loose time and vanishing relationships are created if you spend some time for the lack of more interesting things. Otherwise, we can try and ask if FB canbe useful for any aim and so use it for your objectives.


It is like that with all the other instruments of the world and so with all the instruments of social networking. We need to understand what is the peculiar potential of any instrument. The screwdriver is very good for screwing a screw and the hoe for working the fields. If, in order to achieve one's aim it can be useful to screw screws or working fields, we have to learn how to use these tools. But if we don't have any important aim, we become slaves of such tools.


The fundamental potential of the social networking tools is that of make the connections among similar people very easy all over the world. That's it. You have to use them for what they can give and for the way they improve our capacity to reach our aims.


I finish just from the starting point: what can we do with FB? I solved this issue as it follows. I've no time and will to spend my time in FB and I don't like what I see. Anyway, FB is very popular, almost everybody is there, a lot of people are in FB. For the type of work I'm doing, I've a great necessity to reach people in order to inform them. I prefer Twitter. When I want people know that I've written a post, for example, and I want that post reach a specific group of people who follow me, I write a message in Twitter. So I reach a community of people in Twitter, but, thanks to a tool, I can also communicate in FB through Twitter. Anyway, I've also setted FB so that I can answer to those who contact me there. For the rest, in FB I throw everything away.


Even a tool, apparently stupid, can improve a person's life.


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