My son has a Wolverine walkie-talkie. Somewhere, he also has a Spiderman counterpart. Several times a week, he picks up Wolverine, turns it on and calls against the static, “Spiderman, come in Spiderman” as though someday the lost Spiderman will answer back and reveal his location. Tonight, I added even more by saying, “Web-boy, Web-boy, Nails here. Come in Web-boy. Nails wants to talk to you.” At first, I got a glare, until I started to laugh, then my son laughed with me. It’s good like that.
I’ve just gotten a copy of I’d Rather Be In the Studio by Alyson Stanfield and started reading it. So far, I have to say that it’s really good.
Now you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this and how these two things relate together. Well, here I am reading a book about self-promotion and teasing my son about calling out to dead air. It seems like everyone now days has something they are trying to sell or promote. Ads abound everwhere saying that advertising during a recession pays off. On and on it goes. With everyone, especially on the Internet, shouting “LOOK AT ME!” is anyone getting anywhere or are we just shouting into the wind? Don’t get me wrong. I’ve made a lot of great friends on the Internet. I’ve reconnected with some I’ve lost. I enjoy my Twitter and Facebook family – people I don’t even know telling me about their lives each day. For someone like me who enjoys sitting back and watching how people do things, it’s great.
But in the end, after we’ve spent all day talking about what we’ve been doing and reading what everyone else has done, have we really added value to the world? Or have we just wasted our time? Is directing traffic to this website or that really functional? I have to wonder if we are just learning to settle down into our new little villages. If you stop and think about it, a little over 100 years ago the whole town knew that Bob ran the grocery store where farmer Sam sold his eggs. Everyone in town was friends with Bob and Sam. Bob didn’t stand outside and shout, “I’m Bob. Come check out my store.” and Sam didn’t ring the cowbell as he delievered his eggs to Bob’s store and yell, “Fresh eggs, going right now to be sold. Come one, come all to Bob’s store.” Not to say that they didn’t do their own advertising, but just that it was different.
What do you think? Is social networking a good thing, or are we just giving the Internet a hoarse throat?