The other day I created a facebook page for aQovia. All well and good, the functionality is a little basic but it ticks a box that technology companies seem to need to fill in these days. For me this is the first time I’ve mixed things up…
I’m not new to social networks. Whilst slow (amongst my university peers) to join Facebook – I was partly jaded by the fact that I’d been on so many of them before. I was a member of SixDegrees back in 1997. I’m not sure we called them “social networks” back then. They were more of a crowdsourced “Bacon number experiment” – though again I don’t recall “crowdsource” being in lexicon back then, and the Microsoft Word 2008 spell check doesn’t know about it either. Anyway, my point is I’m not a luddite when it comes to online stuff…
What I find difficult is the conflation of space: personal vs work, school, or whatever. People vary. Some of us like to keep our lives neatly partitioned, others prefer to see it all as one spectrum. Me, I’m the former: Not only do I keep things apart but I have multiple circles of friends (originating from different phases or places in my life) which I have no desire to bring together. For me it’s a way of maintaining the variety of life.
This is what riled me about creating a company page on facebook that wouldn’t have done if I was creating aQovia’s LinkedIn page. I see facebook as part of my personal space, whilst LinkedIn is professional. I don’t want them merged.
Ofcourse, this feeling is ridiculous and not just because, I could have, if I wanted to, used an anonymous profile (and I know plenty of people who have multiple accounts on facebook thinking one or more of them is anonymous…). No, it’s ridiculous because the nature of the Internet is such that everything is public. And more so because I have actually benefitted from the fusion – it’s amazing how a quick tweet or status update can get an unexpectedly useful response from someone you know in a different capacity.
The Internet has forced a change upon me but one, now that I’ve noticed it, is one that’s actually for the better. Will it affect me “offline”? I guess in some way it must have and will do so. Yet as we learn to identifiy and distinguish between the intimate and superficial – and recognise that it’s a potentially a perpendicular axis from online/offline, perhaps it’s better to maintain a spectrum of approaches.
Upon reflection I’m moved to wonder if I’m still a digital native. I’m certainly not a digital immigrant but I think I can now only claim to be a native if the classification is purely binary. With the pace of technological change and the emotional impact it can have I propose that digital generations, if there is any use for them, should now be measured in years or perhaps even months but certainly not decades.