What does "being social" in a virtual environment mean to you?

There are many ways to be virtually social - such as tweeting, posting on FB, or participating in Tik Tok. How are you social? What is your favorite method and why?

The platforms are one thing, but I don’t think that defines how one is social. But for the record, I am heavily in twitter, never in Facebook (no account, long story), have yet to TikTok, do use YouTube, have mastodon but rarely used.

I think the way to be social is more about how we communicate in these places:

  • Respond to all questions, comments, if it merits one. It’s defeating when you put a question or query out there and no one responds.
  • Respond with something constructive, or connective (and its also okay to use humor). But favorites and blank retweets/reposts do not add much to me.
  • Boost the works of others, not just your own
  • Connect people who may not know each other
  • If there is a relevant link, use it. Offer more than what goes into a message box
  • Be human, speak in your own voice. Mine is mildly opinionated and does no take itself too seriously.
  • Be kind. If you write something you would not your Mom or Dad or kids to read, don’t post it.

You describe great etiquette practices for SM. **Another good idea to put on the BE SOCIAL page. Maybe I should ask the question, how are you virtually social? I’ll give an example for me. I am loosing interest in FB as I don’t like some of their tactics. BUT, I do enjoy lurking to see what others are doing! LOL

Great question and wonderful answer from Alan, particularly being human and kind in virtual environments. Hiding behind virtuality is one of my biggest pet pevees.

To me being virtually social means the expansion of human relationships. Having a shortcut to connect with people that:

  1. I wish I could see face-to-face but for whatever reason I cannot
  2. I might not know personally but with whom I have a common interest

I also greatly appreciate the efficiency of a virtual connection. It’s so easy to remain in touch with people that you care about. Virtual environments allows you to stay connected and updated with so many people at once. I truly believe that I would have probably lost more than 50% of my current relationships if I didn’t have a virtual environment to keep them alive.

About the tools and platforms where all this happens…
My current favorites are WhatsApp and Youtube. I also like Pinterest and Instagram but use them sporadically. I don’t particularly care for FB; I have an account but haven’t used it in years. And yes, Twitter, :roll_eyes: Well… I have a love+hate relationship with Twitter and use it in waves. It can be too much and easily gets overwhelming, so I have to shut it down for certain periods, but I do acknowledge its efficiency in timing and flow of information.

The original reason for joining social media (many years ago) was to CONNECT with friends and family that were at a distance. It’s was an easy, simple way to just stay in touch. But somewhere - social media just blew up!

An ideal of being social in any environment is opening to other(s) at a certain level. It might be sharing something about yourself, or something you know to others. Unless it is a fake account :slight_smile:, you can reach people you wouldn’t otherwise, so it is more about having similar interests than physical proximity.
In my opinion, the top of being social is collaboration, co-creation, being able to help others, and find help to improve in something.

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I think we need to take into account that being social has gradations.
Not everyone is an extrovert. Many are introverts.
Being social is not an on/off switch.
Being social is about developing rapport and relationship - which takes time and trust.
As relationship develops being social can get progressively deeper and more meaningful.

When I think about being social in a virtual environment there is for me a period of listening.
What we used to call in the old days “lurking” which I always disliked as it has a negative connotation. For me we ought to value listening as much as talking - even in virtual environments.

Being social in a virtual environment depends on whether I’m with strangers or friends.
If with strangers then I might quietly read and monitor the communication going on seeking a voice or a topic that I can relate to. And then join in.
If with friends then I might just jump right in and pick up a conversation where it was last left off or enquire about current life status and changes since last we connected.

I struggle being social in loud cacophonous virtual environments like Twitter.
I experience it as a mosh pit of voices all clamouring for attention.
Voices engaged primarily in self promotion or criticizing others.
It’s like a contest for who has the loudest most strident voice.
I also really don’t like the commodification and profit making taking place off being social in virtual environments. I find that deeply disturbing and find myself resistant to use FB or Twitter or Instagram as essentially each post anyone makes generates $ and profit for corporations I don’t admire.

I prefer a smaller environment and willingness to explore a topic, and even opposing points of view with respect and ideally a sense of humour.

I used to blog but over time have found myself becoming increasingly quiet and reclusive.
I’m increasingly focused on listening and doing and less on talking.
Oddly listening and doing something are not very visible in a virtual environment.

I wonder @paulstacey about the connotations of the word “social” which carries some baggage of expected interaction modes.

What if the question is “What does being connected in a virtual environment mean to you?” or “What does being engaged in a virtual environment mean to you?”

Making notes! I think that @paulstacey and @cogdog bring up some great points that can transcend into OEG20 planning. I do agree; I think that ‘social’ does indicate a required level of interaction - which for some invokes pressure. Perhaps we do call it something different - like CONNECT. :slight_smile:

I think each form of social media brings with it a set of norms and expectations around how interaction works. Those norms and expectations don’t work for everyone.

I also find 20% advertising aspect of social media changes the nature of the experience and relations.

I think of connected and engaged as broader terms with more diverse meaning than social. For instance I can be mentally engaged thinking about something without being social. Or I can be experiencing things through my senses without being social.

Speaking to Susan’s following comment on OEG20 I think we’re aiming for social, connected, and engaged. :grin: