Andy Oram, My Nostalgia, and the Unsocial

For Taiwanese people in 20 / 30 something, lien-ie (聯誼, young boys and girls in separate schools and classes randomly group dating) is absolutely a jargon and won’t be recognizable in several years. Why would these people going out in group form (what makes these people a group?), and what would they talk? What do they have in commons? Any kid with online gaming and love-matching communities experiences would have more common words to say rather than the “virtual" school and class experiences. After digital medium transforms their lives, new life forms and jargons rise.

Andy Oram in his weblog: Social networking: I can’t make the connection talked about his first experience of social networking. It reminds me of the embarrassing experience of the lien-ie in high school, and a question kept poping up in my mind. “Why am I doing here? What connect me and the people around me?"

Yesterday I performed my first transaction on one of those social networking, six-degrees types of systems you’ve been hearing so much about. Someone whose interests I didn’t know or care about asked me to put him in touch with someone else whose interests I didn’t know or care about. Sitting there in the middle of the chain, I didn’t know what value I could add. I suppose I could honestly say, “The person along the chain just before me is an upright member of his community and not likely to drag heavy, clanging metal objects behind his car on a chain or endorse other people who do so."

Lien-in the term may expire, but the embarrassment in new form of connection may not. The difference is how much perceptual distance you can keep away from it. If that kind of continuous distance could be represented in a spectrum, I think the extreme point is totally “un-social". Deadhead and I had chatted one night about the buzzword “social software", and the totally opposite position of “the unsocial": no ping, no track-back, no comments, and no RSS. In a word: no connection. It could be seemed as the salvation of the people who have the option of leaving the matrix, get rid of the embarrassment(no important at all) forever. Or it’s just a primordial status of genesis. In the beginning, there was no network.

Andy Oram said he now ask people to fill a form to email him. That’s another pole of the spectrum: totally connected without and shelter(under the sky of spam). And about me, I am currently living in between.


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