Why Social Networks are Neat

Perhaps I should have named this post “Why Social Networks are Sick,” as I learned last week that I’m suddenly old enough for words to have changed meanings. Now I know why my grandparents wondered why I seemed to be talking about temperature when I should have been expressing my positive opinion of an object or subject “Wow, that’s cool!” I learned that the word “sick” has apparently replaced my generation’s “cool,” so when you hear “Man, that thing is sick!” it is not necessarily an expression of disgust.

I’m finding a positive aspect of social networks, even if it is merely subjective. I occasionally get a friend request from somebody whom I have no way of knowing. I normally approve them unless they are from a “single, 21 year old female looking to party!” or some enticement to visit a website that I would not want my wife knowing about. Some people may find my blog, in fact, with TypePad my Facebook page should be easily found on my sidebar, and my Twitter feed is available for anybody wishing to follow me on there.

Like the occasional “I don’t know this person” friend request I get, I have started sending friend request to people that I admire or like to follow either through blogging, podcasts, or TV. I have sent friend requests to several of the fishermen on Deadliest Catch, for instance. Michael Hyatt, who’s blog I have been following for years, accepted a Facebook friend request from me, although the odds of us ever meeting are not high. He has posted a lot of good content on his blog that has been helpful to me over the years, especially as I struggled with the decision to complete my degree and further my career, so I do consider it an honor. I sent friend requests today to men who have podcasts that I listen to and enjoy. Two have already accepted them. I have Dave Ramsey as a friend on MySpace.

Even though it is a minor thing, I appreciate people that I look up to who have influenced my life in some way, however small or large an impact, taking the time to honor me with the small favor of being a friend on a social network. Perhaps someday I can return that favor to somebody else.

And of course, I do have some friends that I personally know on both networks. I’m friends with several people from my church, and even a coworker.

I think social networks are a good thing in a lot of ways. Yes, there can be abuses and mindless wastes of time, but there are many positives that shouldn’t be overlooked as we move through the 21st century.

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