Crossing over

So, I crossed over today. I had planned on staying totally apolitical on this blog and on my tweets/friendfeed, but what is happening in Iran and the power of twitter really moved me today. Watching the hashtags and the realtime feeds were really moving. Could not help but change my twitter avatar to green, and then later add some black to it to honor those fallen. Watching folks like @Zaibatsu gather momentum among his followers, even using cross platform methods such as Bliping Martin Luther King material from Blip.fm to twitter was just amazing.

Looking forward to waking up and seeing what has transpired.

Peoplefood: Using Social networking to feed my need for people

I have come to personally realize what I have read somewhere that humans are social animals. We need social contact to thrive and to be healthy. As I grew up, this became more and more apparent as I reached my teenage years and then was fully understood in my college years.

The social contact is not so different from what anthropologists call “preening” , a behavior observed in primates of picking direct & insects out of each other’s fur. Handshakes, high 5’s (yeah.. back when those were kool), manly handshakes with elbow-on-chest bumps, etc.. all seem to be human manifestations of this same preening.

In my college years, I came to realize that I needed is not only social contact or stimulation, but also intellectual stimulation. Having engaging conversations with my classmates on topics as grand as world politics, or as obscure as the meaning of a Star trek or twilight zone episode helped to give stimulation to my mind and fulfill my intellectual craving.

As I have grown older and am more focused on family, I have lost a lot of the contact that I had when I was younger; both the pure social contact as well as the intellectual stimulation. That was the case until recently. What has changed for me in the last 6-12 months? “Social Networking”… Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed.. have become staples of my daily life.

Why is this? Why am I spending so much time on these sites? Simple reason: they are giving me the stimulation I need both socially and intellectually. In fact, what I have found is that they have given me much more than I had even in my youth. This has come from not only online interactions, but also the face to face interactions that have been a result of either making a new connection or a reconnection with persons from my past.

On facebook, I have reconnected with old friends mostly (a few new ones recently). I’ve used it to communicate with my family who lives far away from us, and reconnected with people who I knew since before I have memories. I’ve reconnected to folks from grade school, junior high, high school, college, and co-workers from every one of the jobs that I’ve had. I have connections to people I know from the club scene in San Francisco & people I know from being a devotee of Ammachi. I have co-workers and customers, ex-bosses, and friends from all walks of life. I’ve made some great connections with folks I even was not sure who they were. I have even been able to make amends and repair a broken relationship with someone who was once one of my best friends.

What am I getting from all of these reconnections? As mentioned earlier, I am getting increased social and intellectual stimulation, which for me now living as an Ex-Pat in Taiwan is a great enrichment to my life. Whether this comes from someone “liking” a status or picture I post, comments made, or just reading what people are doing, it is all very enriching. It has become such an important part of my daily routine that I generally check my facebook before I check email when I wake up (which is a huge behavior change for me)

On Twitter and Friendfeed I am meeting new people. Some who have similar work experiences, and many where we have not so much in common except an interest in high technology. Lots of “preening” going on here too, with @replies, #followfridays’s, etc. Lots of intellectual stimulation as well, coming from comments, links to interesting articles on the web, or most recently in the engaging conversations/comments I am reading on Friendfeed. Then there is the media focused sites: youtube, blip.fm, jelli.net are feeding other media based needs for me and with their API links, enhancing my other social networking experiences as well.

As I mentioned in my first blog post about “Social Currency” being similar to the spiritual concept of the light of a candle never diminishing as it lights other candles, the more I engage in these activities, the more benefits I seem to receive. Other than needing to make sure I balance my time spent with work needs and family, it would seem that the more I put into these social networks the more I get out.

I’m happy also to now have a blog where I can share thoughts like this. Hope that whoever reads this gets something out of it. Thanks for reading.