Thursday, April 11, 2013

Social Media Cyborgs or Faceborgs?





Facebook has made another move into mobile with its Facebook Home app. Use it and the default start page for your Android cell phone provides instant access to photos, comments and chats. Talk about in your face, book. As a rule, the easier to access it is to access, the more people want to use it.

Meanwhile, LinkedIn introduced “mentions" making it more like business Facebook, Google added new Google+ tweaks, and Twitter has released Vine video. No longer clearly defined, a Forbes article speculates on social media's colliding worlds, while its technology article this week questions some social media big wigs for their predictions for Facebook Home's and its potential influence.

The objective seems to be to turn us all into Faceborgs. But in my world, Facebook has peaked and everyone I know uses it less and less. Easier access will not help that. Indeed, the lines between social networks are more than starting to blur. But more notable is how Worlds have already collided and melded between social media and real life to the point that real life is virtual and vice versa.  In an interview I did just two years ago, I too predicted the blurring lines. (Granted, that might have had something to with the fact that I still refuse to wear glasses despite being ensconced in middle-aged .)

This week for me certainly supports the case that we are indeed melding with social media, turning us into social media cyborgs. Case in point, I've lived in three homes — none of which are mine by the way — in three States, in three corners of the country just in the past week. Not visited, mind you, but lived in New York, Florida and now California as effortlessly as Lindsay Lohan ends up on the front page news. Thanks to sites like Orbitz, my hotels and flights were booked the night before while on taxi rides to and from. Yelp mobile led me tosome great local restaurants in every town. And AirBnB found me a great temporary place to hang my hat for the next month. All of these travels with Google Navigation leading me in every step. None of this could have been possible just a few years ago. It was an idea that went from unfathomable to unbelievable to unhindered without us being able to appreciate, nonetheless notice the strides.

Google glasses, Apple iWatch, FaceBook phones and home apps, and now Twitter bracelets all make that cyborg reference more real. Yet regardless of how much social media melds with our lives there, it will always be trumped by face time (not the Apple app but the human kind).

You see, during this social media cyborg week of mine, I got to meet a Facebook-only friend — a fellow writer and humorist that I befriended years ago. But rather than trading quips, updates, and posts on Facebook, I got to see the twinkle in her eyes when she filled me in about her new boyfriend; and she saw me well up with pride as I updated her on my daughter. Spending an hour strolling tree-line streets, (not social networks) with her and her dog (not her laptop), we found our friendship more connected than five years of social media interaction had provided. Score one for humanity.

So as these social networks do collide, condense, and finally become so much a part of who we are that it becomes like the air we breathe, it will simply enhance not replace us socially.

Article first published as Social Media: Are We Cyborgs Now? on Technorati.

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