I’ve been using social media since God knows when.
The first serious addiction I had to it was when I got a 300 baud modem for my Commodore 64… which (due to the addiction) I soon upgraded to a screaming 1200 and started using some of my burger-flippin’ money to pay for my own phone line (so as not to hog my parents’). Late nights were occupied connecting to BBSes, many of which were 1 connection at a time. The conversations were interesting, heated, often political or relevant, and were food for a hungry teenage mind.
Then there was a pause… until a few years later with a 56K modem, I discovered Telnet and online MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons). Not only could I play a game in realtime in a rich “swords and sorcery”-type fantasy environment, but I could interact with other people connected at the same time. Wow! My MUD of choice was, and still would be Lostsouls.org, a lovingly-created and brilliantly-realized world. I even created The Neophyte Handbook for the game, which I believe is still being used to introduce new players to Lost Souls. I have never taken up modern MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, but I can understand the appeal of level grinding with the assistance of real people.
The next addiction was internet forums. Racking up thousands of hours posting and reading (in other words, interacting via social media!) forums related to my interests such as music recording and guitar-building. How many times can a guy hit “refresh,” hoping to see new posts on particularly interesting threads? A lot.
On a similar front but with obvious differences, I like to spend a lot of time playing online board-games at Asobrain.com. Board-games are only fun when played against real people, and teh intarwebs give me the opportunity to do so. I play similar board games “in real life” as well, but this helps me get my fix for the several weeks-long stretches between real games.
Which brings me to my point… given a bit of a track record for addiction to online interaction, is my Twitter account going to be my next addiction? I’ve only started up, but I do enjoy checking into it. I’m not so sure it’ll be the same kind of addiction, though. I love up-to-the-minute information, and that’s what Twitter has on offer. Chris Bennett talks about just that—how it’s not just a glorified, world-wide instant message, but a way to stay up-to-the-minute with relevant information. Another thing that I agreed with was how it’s bringing “celebrities” in contact with everyday people. I have a fairly large number of famous people in my follow list, not because I’m a celebrity watcher or anything, but because I’m finding it incredibly fascinating discovering how down-to-earth some of them really are. By inviting you into that world, it gives you less of a reason to be in awe of them, and as long as they’re not complete numpties, more of a reason to respect them.
The blog on the other hand…
That will only be an addiction as long as it doesn’t feel like a burden to keep updated. And luckily, not needing to grow an audience, that shouldn’t be a problem.