I’ve had a lot of people e-mailing me, retweeting and mentioning the following video:
I have mixed feelings about this. A part of me gets scared that I’ll look like a copycat, even though our experiment happened first. After all, his video is well-produced and it’s gone viral. Can’t say the same thing about this blog by any means. (A simple glimpse at the few hundred visitors and small handful of subscribers will prove that)
I can’t claim to be “the first” to do this, either. Although it felt original at the time, I’m sure it’s been done in the past. My hope is that people will see the difference between that video and this project. I’m hoping they’ll see it as complimentary rather than competitive.
It’s the difference between a poem and a novel.
His video begins with the presupposition that Facebook is all about friending strangers and then invading their personal space. The result is a somewhat awkward Jackass-style series of interactions. Our presupposition is that an in-person Facebook should reflect the way we interact on Facebook. So, we friend strangers, but they are the aquintances we meet in the real world – the cashier at Target who we’ve never left a positive comment for or the barista at Starbucks whose name we never knew.
Thus, instead of seeing how awkward and artificial social media can be, we’re often coming to the opposite conclusion that we will live more authentically in the “real world” if we live a more Facebook-like experience – sharing pictures, asking about books, enjoying live music, handing out positive notes.
Social media did not come about out of a need to be more socially awkward. Instead, it met a very real need for identity, community and belonging in a postmodern, lonely planet. The extent to which it works online is debatable. The extent to which it can work in real-life has been mind-blowing to me.
This blog is also different in the fact that we try and doing everything people do on Facebook for an extended time. Instead of attempting to do it all at once in a day, we want to take our time and reflect on the process. Again, it’s a novel and we’re trying to make sense out of the setting and how it is reshaping the characters.