I'll get back to the code-related posts shortly; however, right now I just want to type something up that has been on my mind recently. I've been looking at the affects Social Media streams have been used by different people and entities while also watching the trends of other industries. Quite frankly, I'm scared what the future holds. In my opinion, social media gives people a false sense of connectivity to people and popularity. Seriously, do YOU truly care how many followers you have on Twitter or how many friends you have on MySpace or Facebook? How often do you meet those same people in person and under what occasions brings such a true in-person interaction?
I use Twitter for a lot of fast questions and to get information on the career aspect of my life. I use it, and thus the people I follow, more for their collective humor and knowledge than to really have conversations about their kids or their ailing relatives. Facebook I use for more personal reasons to keep in touch with friends I've made over the years that have moved away...people I miss and always want to share a pint with whenever I'm in their city. Sure there's a few local people I follow in both streams but the ratio is more in favor of distant friends.
Before the land of social media grew greater than IRC, IM, and Email, I loved getting a bunch of people from work, school, and from wherever and have a great time with a lan-party or a bar-b-que. Back then it was Warcraft II, Quake II/III, UT, and Starcraft. The days were great. Now look at the current game scene...the amount of co-op games are few and even Starcraft II doesn't (currently) offer LAN support. Playing over the internet is great but there's something to be said about sharing beers and obscenities with the person on the other side of the table who just killed you in the game.
How well do the people you connect with know you? How well do you allow them to know you? The people you work with will always fall under those you'd go out for a beer after work with and those you wouldn't. These are people you work with and interact with every work day...assuming you don't work remotely. Now a days there's a lot of people who say you should always manage your personal brand online and not ask stupid, "n00b" questions online or reveal some embarrassing facts and what not. These are things you can't really hide in person because such things affect our personality. If you only talk to people online and pretend your a genius, what happens when they find out your a fraud?
Social media has a place but a person still needs the in-person interactions. The trust you get from such is better than anything else you can get from just the 1's and 0's that come over the wire. A couple years ago I was told by a complete stranger (to me) that my grandfather was one of the greatest people he ever knew; the most honest and genuinely good person that this person had ever known supposedly. I don't doubt this stranger's opinion of my grandfather; however, it still makes me hope that I can live up to social precedence that my grandfather placed on this one person that effected him so much that he had to relay such information to a grandson he just met. Do you think ANY of your friends on Facebook or Twitter or MySpace will ever relay that information if they met one of your relatives? I truly don't know how it's even possible.