The new way of keeping in touch

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There is some thought today that computers, smart phones, IPods, and IPads have isolated individuals who never seem to have to talk with each other anymore. There are now more cell phones in the world than there have ever been landlines. In some households, the landlines have disappeared and all that remains are the cell phones for each member of the home.
Phone plans now make it cheaper to text one another than to talk to one another on the same phone. And wonder of wonders, you can see two people walking down a street together, with cell phones in front of them and their fingers busy wandering the keys and you realize they are actually communicating with one another and not a word is being said.
And in restaurants you hear cell phones start ringing and people immediately launch into conversation with someone who is not at their table. Or they are responding to a text message.
Table etiquette says that it rude.
We may appear to be less social to each other in conventional ways, but today we find that we can be more social in the world.
To young people and teenagers, “Facebook” allows you to brag about the number of friends you have accumulated. A new category has been created that allows you to change friends to acquaintances. It is really a more accurate representation of the people you know.
But “Facebook” allows you to follow the lives of all those people.
If you happen to Google “Social Media Networks” you will discover that there are hundreds if not thousands of sites for people to connect with. “43Things” can connect you with people who share a specific interest with you. There is a category for “Stop Procrastinating”. The category connects you with people who have ideas and advise to help you stop procrastinating. There is a book site to talk about books. There are sites for learning Japanese, German, and travelling.
If you choose “Pinterest”, an online pin board you can see all kinds of projects and fashion ideas.
It even will connect you through Twitter and “Facebook”. “Myspace” has competed with “Facebook” and has over 100,000,000 users.
Twitter lets you follow others and make comments in 140 character “Tweets”.
There are special social networks for travel, for baby boomers, people with disabilities, adult social networks, for people who are into movies and TV series.
There is a site for everyone and for every interest.
The number of sites continues to grow. It used to be simple. Everyone connected with UTube and commented on videos. Then came Facebook, and Linked-in and then the world of networks exploded. And work relationships created Linked-in with 120,000,000 people connecting with colleagues.
Thirty-two million people use Flickr to share photographs while 63,000,000 share movies on Flixter. Over 15 million individuals follow Geni.com following family and genealogy. Over 200,000,000 teens worldwide are using Habbo.
Literally there are thousands of connections you can make. The Internet made life simpler with email, but that is losing its luster. Instead we want instant response.
While we might like to think that the social media networks are for the English speaking world, for every English speaking network, a similar network can be found for Spanish, German, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, Russian and other languages.
And keeping up with friends, and people with similar interests is time consuming. Perhaps that is why so few have much time to actually talk to each other.
Social networks are the new method of keeping in touch.
–Jim Cumming,
Publisher