I have a funny relationship with online networks. I’m willing to give pretty much anything a go once (except, you know, the B word*). The thing is, really, I’m pretty vanilla. Try as I might, I just can’t get the variety to excite me. The quantity, well, anyone who’s seen my twitter feed knows just how much I love online networking. I just can’t get into the other kinds of online network. Is there something wrong with me?
Oh, LinkedIn, you are a funny thing. What are you. Why are you? Are you only really there for people of a certain age with certain jobs or certain aspirations? Whatever you are, I don’t think you’re quite for me yet. I think the reason LinkedIn and I haven’t made friends is that I’m not particularly comfortable filling in the information required to have a properly ‘complete’ profile. I can happily and openly tell the world what jobs I’ve had, what I’ve done, maybe at a push what skills I’ve learned – but a summary about me and my specialities, recommendation from other people, and uploading my CV? LinkedIn my darling, I’m just not ready for that kind of openness in our relationship. I’m not an incomplete individual, please don’t tell me that by being unwilling to invest so much I’m failing you. If you can’t accept me as I am, or let me develop at my own pace, I just don’t think we have a future together.
Facebook, Facebook. You’re so abusive, but I keep coming back to you. I don’t know how to walk away, even though I know it’d be for my own good. I can’t get what I truly need from you, and you’re no good for me. First you got me hooked on WordChallenge and now I’m so clouded in the fugg of Farmville that I can’t see any good in you whatsoever. You’re a lying, cheating, deceitful beast, changing my security settings in secret. You make me ill, exposing me to viruses you’ve picked up from a disreputable character who’s probably someone who bullied me at school but I felt too rude to snub. You make it hard for me to hide anything. Your latest act of cruelty was to render the chat function virtually unusable. Why must you treat me so, Facebook?
You have your strengths, don’t get me wrong. The Voices for the Library page is a useful network, and the closed group just for campaigners makes it a safe place to talk about shared concerns in private, but I’d rather leave dealing with you to other team members, because I resent you so much. I dislike you almost as much as I dislike Murdoch. There, I said it. I think of you in the same way. I’m not sorry. When Google+ is ready for me I’ll leave you and I won’t look back.
Lovely LISNPN, you’re such a sweetheart, well-meaning and innocent. You were kind to me when I was a student, before I discovered the harsh realities of LIS life. But you were a bit clunky, and I kept forgetting my password, and most of the people I interacted with were sitting at the other side of the same computer cluster anyway. To be honest, I felt like I was giving more than I was receiving. It wasn’t going to work. But now…now I look at you and my, haven’t you grown up? You’ve matured into something sexy, and vibrant, and confident. You seem to have so much more to offer. Just look at the content now! I’m sorry I didn’t have the time to invest in you. I’m so glad others did. You’ll make people very happy. Who knows, maybe even me occasionally now that I’ve seen your more mature self…
Twitter, really you’re the only one for me. You are genuinely magical. Since you came into my life, no other online network has satisfied me. Even though you’re clearly stunted with your capacity for only 140 characters at a time, I just can’t get enough of you. You’re quick, you provide instant gratification…I know it’s weak but I’ll be honest – you do make me feel confident when someone retweets something I’ve said in approval. You make me feel like I’m not alone. No matter the time of day, you’re there – there’s always someone, somewhere in the world, tweeting away. You’re so flexible – I can organise you however I like, with lists so you can give me what I want whatever mood I’m in, whatever information I need. It’s easy to get involved in strange and unusual things in a safe way – all I need to do is tweet at someone I’ve never tweeted at before and see where it takes me. And God, you’re big. You’re funny and sweary and brave and a force for social good. When I grow up I want to be like you, Twitter.