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The Social Illusion

Online is a different kind of 'social' -  connecting, exchanging information in public. Although each 'social' interaction is a thread, the participants are not working within the context of the conversation.

Being present online is not a social activity as much as a pre-social activity: forming, testing, aligning and finding common threads. This applies to all digital presence advertisement networks - email, chat, social, mobile.

Through the beguiling ease and simplicity of being this early kind of social, the illusion sets in - that this is all it is to be social.

Digitized packets of emotion emerge in society, but don't necessarily build society, as much as they aid in building a marketplace - a market for sharing information once thought the domain of one-on-one conversations. They help to democratize conversations. In that sense, digital emotions are a welcome addendum to the normal channels of building one's society, identity and purpose.

But to treat this as the total experience is to buy in to the illusion of completeness borne of the efficiency and quickness  -  a digital view of what it means to be social. Social is not about efficiency or quickness in communication. It is about forming relationships - threads of dependencies and vulnerabilities stretched over long time, between people building common context that can reduce the need for superfluous communication.

A look of understanding carries more information than a library of emails and photographs.

To experience the real thing, peer beneath the snapshot, go beyond the illusion.


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