The Digital Friend Divide

Some of the gadgets within my reach
Some of the gadgets within my reach

I have 471 friends on Facebook (probably not as many as Jon Brockman boasts about in his YouTube video). I have almost 100 contacts on MSN messenger. 286 people follow me on Twitter. What does this mean?

I make more digital connections than real-life ones.

Of those 286 people who follow me on Twitter, I’d say I only know about 10 of them from actually, physically meeting them in person. The weird thing is, those people aren’t even the friends I’ve had for years, because the friends I’ve had for years stop their digital lives at their Facebook walls.

I have what my professor of a course at WSU this summer called “a digital divide” between me and my friends. It wasn’t cultural (for the most part) and it wasn’t economical. How did this happen?

We all grew up in the same age of Nintendo, then AOL (oh AOL, those were the days). We all dabbled in the online art of chatroom flirtation (of course we’re 21, baby…). What was the difference?

I’ve boiled it down to this: work right after college.

I started my career in the tech PR field and quickly became immersed (although I didn’t fight it one bit) in the geek world and the digital lifestyle. Before I knew it, it was just as natural for me to post my current mood on my Facebook status as it was to talk to a friend about it. I lived, breathed and consumed anything having to do with technology and the people using it.

Now, take some of my friends… they work in banks, law firms, schools. Not a lot of innovation and collaboration of technology going on there, is there? A 3rd grader isn’t going to introduce his teacher to Twitter.

Even my roommate who works in the tech industry (mostly on the hardware/server side) works at a different pace when it comes to some of the online social aspects of things… I was using a Twitter account before him. Because of being plugged into the marketing side of the tech world I was privy to info before him sometimes. I think this actually pisses him off sometimes, in fact I know it does.

So, I’d like to thank my first real job at Owen Media… while we’re not still working together you gave me something that grew from my loves as a kid… a digital lifestyle… and empty pockets because of my tech addiction.

2 comments

  1. Evan Shaw Blackerby · January 15, 2009

    Sounds like you are on the left of Moore’s adoption bell curve…. check it out.

  2. jason kenny · January 16, 2009

    Have a barbeque with plenty of fosters
    It works for me

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