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Friend In Your Head

When I first joined Facebook a year ago, I invited a few friends to join me. They were not my childhood ‘lifetime’ friends (most of whom have yet to join a social network), but were close friends that I was socially involved with. We shared some very funny and intimate moments.

Soon thereafter I ran into someone who mentioned he had thousands of ‘friends’ on FB. I was surprised. Why? He explained to me that it was his personal broadcast network. So of course, I went on to invite a few hundred people. The intimate social aspect of the experience evaporated. A large majority of the posts now are self-promoting or business related.

I have become a more active participant in the world of blogs and tweets. There are people that I have always wanted to meet, but have not yet had the opportunity too. Well, I can now follow them. But, they do not have to follow me. I read their words, their thoughts, and now, I even know their whereabouts. Somehow I feel like I know them. Yet, it is weird that I have never met them. It is creepy. They are ‘Friends in my Head.’

Recently I ran into a ‘friend in my head’ at an event. I was introduced, and I had forgotten that we never met. I jumped right into a discussion related to one of his blogs. He has millions of followers. I knew a lot about him. But, he didn’t follow me. He only knew a bit about my past, and from what I had posted on his blog. We didn’t know each other equally.

Kurt Vonnegut said in 2001, in a brilliant mashup dvd/film One Giant Leap, that ‘most people’s best friends are on TV.’ Now, many people’s best friends are ‘in their head.’

One needs to think about the superficiality of the depth of their followers if they are looking for a personal social experience. To many, there is a reduced value to multiple followers. We are now ‘grading our friends’ and are becoming a ‘stalker society’.

twitter: @rich2001

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  1. December 18, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Cyberpunk author William Gibson depicted a future entertainment genre consisting of a real person’s entire glamorous, celebrity-filled and exciting life being continuously broadcast live for people to watch and live vicariously – Tally Isham was her name (first appearing in Neuromancer (c) 1984 – yikes, how did he know back then?). How long before zero half-life shelf life and friends in your head combine and become monetized as vicarious participatory entertainment, supported with product placements and brand name dropping in conversations and activities, with high production values created by an ever-present web-streaming camera crew and an offline advance production staff always setting up the next great thing to do? Twitterati with big follower lists would be paid to drive traffic to “participate” in noteworthy events. We have the technology…

  2. December 18, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    You just reminded me of an idea I wrote about in ’99 to start a ‘wireless label’. You all laughed at me! Now it’ll be a show.

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