Instant Messenger Reflections26 07 2012
In college instant messenger was ubiquitous. At three a.m. my buddy list was buzzing with life. I would have three instant messenger windows open at once. In one window I would be studying for calculus with a friend, in another window providing relationship advice and in another talking with my roommate about what food we wanted to order. Signing online was connecting to my world. Day or night I was never alone.
Some of the best conversations happened on instant messenger during finals. The more stressed out people became the more they wanted to confide online. We often shared ideas and feelings we would never say in person. Many good friendships and relationships started and ended in this way.
I haven't been able to recreate this environment outside of college. While I have have several hundred friends on Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter, I have nowhere near the interaction of instant messenger several years ago. It's possible that I am confusing technology for time period. If I were in college right now maybe Twitter and Facebook would provide just as opportunity as instant messenger. Or perhaps not. And for the most part, I've found, speaking on Twitter is like having a conversation at a concert with someone who is half listening and can half hear you.
Skype provides me with a reason to believe that there is something to my observation. I've seen many business people who work for international companies form unusually close relationships with the coworkers over Skype. I think much of this is in part to that fact that they know that they nearly always has a group of people they can speak with at any time of the night or day.
Have you experienced a change in your social group because of a change in technology? I'd love to hear your story.