# A thought on a benefit of social networking
July 28, 2017 · 2 minute read
Posted in: miniblogging social culture
The trend in thinking about social networking is pretty negative, and to an
extent this is justified. The usual complaints are that social networking
substitutes superficial interactions for more meaningful ones, and that
commercial social networking (the only kind most people use) manipulate your
emotions for monetizing them. But I want to highlight an under-appreciated
We are often encouraged to use direct communications rather than social media:
phone calls, text messages, email. And these are all good, in their ways. But
they all also are, well, direct. Using them implies that you expect to notify
the recipient(s) directly and ensure that they see it, that you're maybe willing
to interrupt what they're doing, that you want to single them out in some sense,
that you expect a reply. And that can be stressful to do, especially for
introverts, and maybe not entirely appropriate for keeping in touch with
acquaintances rather than close friends.
Social networking is kind of ambient...like you sort of let people keep track of
how you're doing, and they let you keep track of them. No one necessarily
expects any kind of reply or engagement, and you can choose what level you want
to engage at (e.g. like, boost, or reply).
I think this is valuable, and that we should keep doing it. What we need is to
make social networking less horrible by providing better implementations and
better culture. Which is slowly happening on [Mastodon][mst] and elsewhere.
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