Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Who Put The “Social” In Social Networking?

To answer that question, we submit the following for your consideration.

Rachel Torres is a conservative Jersey girl who loves politics, movies, music, popular culture, and being Catholic. She is also a small business owner. And from what one can surmise following the chatter on Twitter -- okay, I had a repast for about an hour or so, it was a tough morning -- she may be accusing someone of stalking her. No, not like someone actually following her physically, but sending her messages via Twitter, or Facebook, or some other means, which are unwelcome. Or something.

You think that there is one issue at hand, and that it is what has caused this whole mess, but that’s not true. That’s the first thing that’s a lie. It is being claimed that I started calling someone a stalker after he commented on a Facebook event, that I planned to attend, taking place in New Jersey, when he lives somewhere in Texas. As far as I am concerned, he had no business commenting ...

Now, enter the other party in all this. Remember Kevin Eder from last July?

As it happens, the whiz kid who handles social media for the White House forgot that it works both ways. According to Ed Morrissey of HotAir.com, nearly one-sixth of the questions fielded, including some of the most challenging, came from an unassuming young man in a monkey hat, with a huge and heretofore unexplained following in -- Thailand?

It appears that one or both parties is attempting to smooth things over, with others chiming in. (You have to follow @keder to find out, if you care.) I do not know all the ins and outs. I do not know who is guilty or innocent. And I do not wish to judge either the young lady or the young man in question. There is, on one hand, my praise for the role that Kevin has played in advancing the political conversation through the new media. There is, on the other hand, the special place in the heart of yours truly for Jersey girls everywhere (Sofia Guerra, Michelle Malkin, that gal I met at the ATM one Saturday last winter ... but, I digress).

But it is possible, just possible, that with a certain age group, this form of communication can become a substitute for genuine building of relationships, to the point where a false sense of familiarity, even intimacy, can occur. We assume certain dynamics have evolved in this virtual public arena, which may have in fact only developed in our imaginations. Then, in the blink of an eye, reality sets in with one party or the other, and then the trouble begins. It may explain either Kevin's presumption, if any, or Rachel's overreaction, if any. But there may be a lesson here for both of them, not to mention the rest of us who use such media.

And if either of them has to ask what that is, I cannot begin to explain it to them, don't you think?

Or don't you?

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