Lara Nieberding

The Purple Lara

Fictionalized me

with one comment


There is an interesting blog post on Conversation Agent by Michael Leis.  His article The Truth is in 140 Characters stirred my conscious enough to write a response in my own blog post.

What did he say?

I think he is addressing the business crowd.  The way I read his article he is offering some insight into why social networking/social media is successful.  He is advising businesses on how to approach social networking/social media by giving them a peek at the “innards” of the system.  Now that I write that, let me reword it to say he is giving business a glimpse of the psychology involved underneath social networking/social media.  Here is the quote that made me pause and think “so.”

This is why I believe Social Media is taking off at rates unseen by any other form of media: it’s the people you know, fictionalized.”

Now I ask you, how is this any different then life itself?  Suppose I am looking for a job.  Suppose I get a call for an interview.  Let me tell you, the person I present in that interview is a fictionalized version of myself.  Ok another example.  Suppose it is Sunday.  Suppose I go to church.  The person I present once I have passed through those church doors is a fictionalized version of myself.  To the clergy/minister standing at the pulpit,to the others sitting in church and to myself at that moment  I profess to be a “good religious person.”  When God above KNOWS I was out Saturday night breaking 7 out of 10 commandments. 

Leis also touches on the subject of keeping in touch with people we knew in High School. He says,

“While of course they are real people in real life, as far as my interaction with them goes, they are only serving as entertainment. Neither one of us wants to be real friends again. We just want to enjoy the entertainment value of the friendship.”

Uh-huh.  Again, how is this any different then life itself?  My father in law is 70 years old.  He does not have a Facebook, MySpace or Twitter account.  Every year he attends two reunions.  One is a dinner out with the people he went to grade school with.  Yes. You read that correctly.  I said GRADE SCHOOL.  The other is a bull roast at the homecoming game  for his high school reunion.  He does not sustain intense, meaningful, relationships with his classmates.  He enjoys the entertainment value.  He connects with people he once had a shared experience.  I know he has purchased products, tried restaurants or gone to visit a place because this group of people discussed it.  I know he did not try their recommendations because he had some life long meaningful relationship with them.  I think he tried their recommendations because he wanted to connect with them.  He would have the opportunity at the next reunion to say, “Hey! I tried that thing you recommended.”  Then that awkward moment, where you are not sure what to say to someone for all intents and purposes is a stranger, melts away.

Michael Leis wrote a great article. Obviously.  His article resonated within me.  I liked the intensity I felt reading his article.

You know what?

I think because technology has introduced a new way or enhanced a way for us to communicate we find it necessary to over analyze it.  Human nature is human nature.  It is going to show no matter what medium you use.  I am going to enjoy my social networking/social media ride.  I am probably not going to give much thought to why I am going to enjoy the ride.

Written by The Purple Lara

September 7, 2008 at 7:51 PM

One Response

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  1. Thanks so much for taking the time to write about the post. I’m glad my article got you to think again about how relationships differ in real life and through social networks.

    I think you supported my point more than your own. The picture of the avatar at the start of this post says it all: anytime you interact with a person online, it is through the lens of the interface. When you go for a job interview, or meet folks at the bull roast, that’s the real you. Of course you act different within different contexts, but it’s really you and really them.

    Online, you and the people you interact with are affected by the media you’re interacting through. When you meet someone in a restaurant, you can’t scroll backwards and forwards in time through all their posts at your leisure, you’re engaged in a conversation with them of that moment. In other words: it’s really happening.

    These are small but important differences in communication that affect how we interpret other people through this medium.

    Thanks again for taking the time to read and react!

    Michael Leis

    September 8, 2008 at 9:04 AM

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